Article about The Biggest Loser


The BL show is a reality show which by definition brings out the worst in people to attract a type of viewer. It's all scripted and not worth watching or getting upset about.

Unlike other reality shows, BL ended up having some utility because it tested one approach to dealing with the problem of obesity. Essentially, it became an unregistered, uncontrolled not to mention poorly executed Phase I clinical trial to assess the safety of extreme diets and extreme exercise. The results were clear. The combination failed miserably and is UNSAFE to warrant moving forward to a larger study. This is a clinical study that would have never been done in real life because nobody would participate without the $$$ incentive. We gained some important knowledge from it. What we need to take from it is we shouldn't do challenging workouts (like Cathe's) on restricted diets. The combination will do more harm than good and it is long lasting harm.

A word of caution about ketogenic (low carb) diets: they may look like they don't affect the RMR but that is artificial. On those diets, the body gets its sugar from the glycerol backbone of triglycerides. This means that the fat is hydrolyzed to make glucose which the body will maintain at any cost. This leaves a lot of unnecessary fatty acids that need to be dealt with. Some will get burned just because our cells have mitochondria and the fatty acids are available and need to be removed from circulation. It makes it look like these diets don't affect RMR. Ketogenic diets which were used as a successful treatment for epilepsy failed because the patients were starving. They are not the answer either and they are not a long term solution.

I would love to see a shift from vilifying fat to treating it as the critical endocrine organ that it is. It does so much to keep us alive and healthy. I would love to see a shift from using language like burning and incinerating fat (which makes me cringe when I hear it during workouts) to a more healthy and positive language like training the fat to maintain balance and health. Obesity is on the rise. Negative campaigns shaming people and making them outcasts make them hate themselves and eat more. They made the problem so much worse. It's time to try something more positive and it starts with all of us. We need positive empowering language. We train our fat cells to efficiently store fat every time we eat. Time to focus on training them to release fat by doing the right workouts and increasing activity in general. Our fat cells are not our enemies. They are our greatest asset. We need to remember that. I would love to hear more positive language in Cathe's future workouts.

Before I get off of my soapbox, NIH needs to do a better job communicating the results of studies to people outside of the medical establishment. We need a counterbalance to all the confusing information that is put out by people with agendas.


Wow, so many great well-said responses!

I have gotten caught up in watching BL over the years for the shock factor of seeing how much they lose each week, and then as the weeks progress, of course I have my favorites and want them to stay on the show. But I have decided if it comes back on, I'm not going to be watching it anymore - I think like many of you said, perhaps the trainers hearts are in the right place of getting these people healthy, but it really is all about the scale, how low the number can get. I think they should do it by body fat % and tape measure.... yeah, that would take away a lot of the viewers, but I think it would probably be a whole lot more healthy overall. There seems to really be no balance, everything is so strict with no wiggle room... it almost seemed doomed to a high degree of failure after the contestants are done with the finale.

I have enjoyed watching Chris Powell's show.... at least they do it over the course of the year instead of a few months or whatever BL is. I feel Chris has a huge heart for overweight and obese people. And the fact that they're not in a controlled environment the whole time, but for most of the time are in their own houses/own environment to me makes it more of a real-life thing that hopefully they can sustain.

Our Newsletter

Get awesome content delivered straight to your inbox.