NBC’s The Biggest Loser, famous for its participants leaving the show half their body size since when they first stepped into the ranch, is under fire for some of the participants’ controversial weight loss methods.
Take Ryan Benson: The 2005 season winner who shedded 112 pounds off his 330 lb frame, admitted he was urinating blood after fasting and dehydrating himself toward the $250,000 prize. Since then he has returned back to above 300 lbs which is apparently the reason for his absence in The Biggest Loser season finale.
Kai Hibbard, season 3 runner up, wrote on her Myspace blog that she and others would dehydrate before weigh-ins and stack on clothing during workouts when cameras weren’t rolling. She gained 31 pounds in two weeks after the show, mostly by staying hydrated.
That’s Fit asked nutritionist and fitness expert, Jonny Bowden for his take. “I’ve always thought [the show] was ridiculous, ever since the first season when the guy lost 17 pounds in a week and the following week people who didn’t lose that much were considered ‘bad.’ It sets up absolutely ridiculous standards for weight loss, makes a very difficult and personal issue into entertainment,” said Bowden. “Clearly, there are also huge dangers involved as well.”
Even so, viewers have to take into account that the reason why the contestants are losing 10 to 15 pounds a week is because they are working out up to 6 hrs a day, everyday.
“Contestants can get a little too crazy and they can get too thin,” said trainer Jillian Michaels to the “New York Times.” She says Benson and Hibbard are examples of the dark side of the show. Maybe Benson and Hibbard aren’t cashing in on their fame because they’ve been post-finale disqualified. Michaels states contestants are disqualified if they are dehydrated or found to be taking drugs or diuretics. And it’s not exactly a candid environment after the show is over — the “New York Times” found contestants must have permission from NBC before chatting with a reporter.
Winners from the first four seasons regained at least 20 percent of their respective weights after the show, while 50 percent of the 206 contestants so far, have reportedly kept the weight off.