View Full Version : "Biggest Loser" contestants metabolism adjusts dramatically downward; weight regained

Wounded Ronin
5/02/2016 12:52pm,

According to this NY Times articles, many of the "Biggest Loser" contestants who had lost tremendous amounts of weight regained it back. Apparently, a big part of this was an incredible slowing of their metabolism. Studies showed that their caloric needs became temendously less than normal, which caused relatively small amounts of food to make them gain huge amounts of weight. For example, according to the article, Danny Cahill now burns 800 fewer calories per day than would be expected for someone of his size.

From the article:

“It is frightening and amazing,” said Dr. Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. “I am just blown away.”

To me, this really shuts down the chorus over the years that if someone is fat they must be immoral, or something like that. The Biggest Loser contestants have put in a lot more work and discipline than most people into losing weight, and the study now demonstrates a quantitative metabolic disadvantage that has emerged towards keeping the weight off. Of course, I wish we knew what the solution was for people to be able to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Jim Giant
5/02/2016 6:03pm,
If anyone has the original biggest loser study please link me so I can have a closer look but here is my initial guess of the situation as somebody who has successfully lost weight, put it on and lost it again.

I don't buy in to "metabolic damage". Sure if you lose weight too fast you'll also lose a lot of lean mass as well which will lower your metabolic rate but it shouldn't screw you up for 6 years if you live a healthy lifestyle. Any athlete who competes in a sport with weight categories bulks and cuts without issue.

Without seeing the original study my guess is the follow-up measurement of metabolism used food journals or questionairs which have been shown to be not particularly reliable. consciously or unconsciously people (particularly obese people) lie about what they have eaten.

Ever seen the program secret eaters? Even looked in the fridge of a fat person who claims to eat healthily and only orders salad when they're out in public?

Metabolic rate slows as you get older too if this hasn't been taken in to account this could explain a big part of the difference too.

Without someone breathing down their neck 24/7 they probably just don't have the discipline to eat like a normal human being any more or exercise.

The solution is to actually make a lifestyle change, learn about nutrition, learn about exercise science and put it in to practice rather than lose the weight and go back to being a lazy bastard/whale.

Jim Giant
5/03/2016 12:54pm,


5/10/2016 5:14pm,

Some interesting thoughts in the above article