Should NBC Lose “The Biggest Loser”? Contestant Allegations Continue (Video)

With new study results revealing negative long-term effects of NBC’s hit extreme-dieting show, more former contestants are demanding NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” finally be canceled.

Season two participant, Suzanne Mendonca recently came forward with allegations that, behind the scenes, contestants were pushed to extreme and unhealthy lengths in order to lose weight for the show. In an interview with the New York Post, Mendonca called “The Biggest Loser” a big fat failure:

“The show needs to be done, canceled, destroyed.” 

She also alleged that contestants had been offered illegal diet pills to facilitate quicker weight loss for the cameras.

The study in question has been making the rounds on social media after being published in the journal, Obesity.  The study followed up with 14 former competitors from “The Biggest Loser.” By the conclusion of the study, all but one of them had regained the weight they’d lost on the show.

One of the factors identified in the study was the “metabolic shift” experienced by contestants, which was found to last long after the final episode had aired. All of the study participants were found to have dramatically slower metabolisms and less of the appetite suppression hormone leptin, six years after they had completed the show.

Screengrab from Youtube
Screengrab from Youtube

Mendonca is not the first contestant to call for the show’s removal. Season three participant, Kai Hibbard has been very outspoken about the negative long-term effects the show had on her physical and mental health:

“My hair had started to fall out in clumps, I had black circles around my eyes and I was covered in bruises. I hadn’t had my period in three months and I could only sleep three hours a night.”

Unfortunately, being fat has such a stigma attached to it that obese people are often willing to endure harsh exercise regimes and bizarre diets if it means shedding a few extra pounds. Especially when there is a cash prize at the end.

The praise contestants receive in exchange for succumbing to the show’s unsustainable practices is also troubling, according to Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor of medicine at Northwestern’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Kushner felt that the reality show nature of “The Biggest Loser” feeds into an unhealthy mentality about food and exercise which can lead to eating disorders:

“Psychologically they are getting so much praise and admiration from other people that they’ll do anything to sustain their weight.” 

Hibbard has publicly apologized for her role in making the show’s methods seem successful:

“I want people to know that I’m incredibly sorry if I did a disservice by deceiving them by the amount of weight I lost on TV and that I’m on the same long journey that they’re on.” 

Not all of the show’s former contestants are outraged over the findings from the study. Former winner, Danny Cahill, who has since regained much of the weight he lost on the show, said that he was actually relieved by the results:

“Some of it’s not our fault, some of it has to do with science.”

NBC has long maintained that contestants on “The Biggest Loser” are closely monitored and medically supervised during the 30 week event. Some of the dramatic transformations of recent winners have left more than a few wondering if the ratings are worth the cost on contestants bodies in the long run. Especially, if the results won’t last.

Featured image screengrab from Youtube