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Why "The Biggest Loser" Is a Bad Idea

"The Biggest Loser" is a super-popular reality TV show. But is it promoting an unhealthy method for losing weight? Get-Fit Guy explains.

By
Ben Greenfield
2-minute read

You’ve probably seen the story on TV. An obese person, often weighing in excess of 400 pounds, is subjected to weeks of calorie restriction and extreme levels of physical activity with hours of exercise each day - and the fat melts off like magic.

So do you want to do a "Biggest Loser" style weight loss regimen? Be careful.

With the combination of extreme calorie restriction and excessive exercise, you need to prepare for a drop in your metabolism of nearly 30%! 

A study entitled “Metabolic slowing with massive weight loss despite preservation of fat-free mass” looked at whether a TV-style weight loss program consisting of diet restriction and vigorous exercise helped to preserve muscle and maintain metabolic rate.

Over the 30-week study, participants experienced more than 3 hours of exercise each day, combined with eating as few as 800 calories of food. This led to a dramatic slowing of metabolic rate by nearly 30%! Unfortunately, this “starvation mode” metabolic adaptation can persist long after the weight is gone and predispose you to easily gain the weight back again in the future. On the other hand, if you choose to forego the extremes and instead exercise sensibly and eat enough calories to sustain your metabolic rate, this huge metabolic drop can be avoided (but the weight would come off much slower).

If you want to find your own metabolic rate and figure out how many calories you should eat each day to sustain a normal, healthy metabolism, then check out GetFitGuy.com for free calculators and other helpful tools to get in shape the healthy way.

If you have more questions about why The Biggest Loser is a bad idea, then join the conversation at http://www.Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!

Before and after image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.