The Biggest Loser has been a subject of controversy since its inception, beginning with the somewhat spiteful jab at its contestants in the title. Though it is inspiring, or at the very least entertaining, for people watching to see contestants make a drastic physical transformation, it is probably a difficult psychological experiment to go through.
One of the most remembered examples of someone crossing a line from "health regimen" to "alleged eating disorder," was the winner of season 15, Rachel Frederickson, who won after losing 155 pounds. Frederickson went from 260 pounds to 105 pounds for the season finale, and the change was alarming. Trainer Jillian Michaels, who had worked on the show for ten years, left soon after the season ended, and her reaction to Frederickson's weight loss was much discussed:
Both Michaels and fellow trainer Bob Harper look horrified, and later blamed Frederickson's trainer, Dolvett Quince, for driving her past the point of safe weight loss for the sake of winning the competition.
Now a new study suggests that going through The Biggest Loser challenge, and winning, may be the worst thing for long term weight loss. Led by Dr. Kevin Hall, a metabolism expert at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the study followed what happened to the bodies of 14 contestants from Season 8.