Any of you familiar with me and my blog know my love of reality tv…and my utter hatred of the biggest loser and any other weight loss competition style show. (see https://erylin.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/i-hate-jillian-michaels/ ) THis post over at yahoo ( i know not the best of sources, but they DID talk to professors form UT at Huston. I’ll just quote extensively, no snark or explain really is required…someitimes it’s great to be validated by “experts.”
ON the dangers of the show
“They’re taking people who have been inactive and are not in good shape and boom, automatically subjecting them to this stress,” Carol Wolin-Riklin, the bariatric nutrition coordinator for the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, told LiveScience. “Things are going to happen.”
And indeed, things have. Two patients were hospitalized after collapsing during a one-mile (1.6 km) foot race for the season 8 premiere. This year’s season 9 opened with another strenuous challenge in which contestants raced 26.2 miles (42 km) on stationary bikes. Show medical consultant and UCLA professor Rob Huizenga had to drag one protesting contestant off her bike when she was stricken with severe cramps. A second contestant, 526-pound Michael Ventrella, was treated for exhaustion.
ON the reality of losing weight that fast
For one thing, contestants start out in worse shape than most. Seventeen of the 22 contestants have a body mass index (BMI) over 40, meaning they are severely obese. In the “real world,” more than one-third of U.S. adults, or 72 million people, are considered obese with a BMI of 30 or higher, according to the CDC. But research published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the number of Americans with a BMI over 40 is just under 6 percent. In other words, the show’s claim that the contestants are the “epitome” of American Obeisty is a bit like saying that VH1’s “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels” epitomizes the American dating scene.
And then there’s the exercise program. Contestants work out five to six hours a day, eating strictly supervised diets. They routinely drop double-digit pounds each week. The contestant who loses the smallest percentage of body weight can be sent home.
In reality, said physician Robert Kushner, the clinical director of the Northwestern University Comprehensive Center on Obesity, a safe rate of weight loss is about one to two pounds per week.
“I think a lot of people can feel quite defeated that they’re losing weight in what we would call a recommended amount, but they would have been voted off the show immediately,” Kushner told LiveScience. “So the message, to me, is just all wrong.”
So is the science. Losing weight rapidly can be risky, according to Virginia Tech professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise Janet Walberg Rankin. Patients who lose weight quickly run the risk of gallstones, mineral deficiencies, loss of muscle tissue and reduced bone density.
ON regaining the weight
Risks aside, weight-loss experts say that the biggest problem with the Biggest Loser is that extreme methods of dropping pounds are less likely to work in the long run. Several former Biggest Loser contestants have regained some or all of the weight, which doesn’t surprise Kushner.
“They’re not working with a trainer every day, they’re not on national TV every day, they’re back to life,” he said. “It’s very difficult to sustain.”
While researchers aren’t sure if repeated cycles of weight lost and weight gained are more dangerous than staying overweight or obese, the psychological toll of failing to keep weight off can be grim, said Kushner. People often feel like failures and become hopeless about their health.
all quotes are from http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100221/sc_livescience/thebiggestloserhasbigproblemshealthexpertssay by Stephanie Pappas LiveScience Contributor