When it premiered in 2004, The Biggest Loser seemed like a wholesome twist on the competitive reality show formula.
Overweight contestants sharing a home competed to lose weight, with the season's "Biggest Loser" earning a cash prize. The show is meant to capture the inspirational journey the contestants take to achieve their weight loss goals. But from the very beginning audiences were skeptical that contestants could lose hundreds of pounds and keep the weight off.
It turns out we were right to wonder all along. Researchers have followed the show's contestants after they left the show and confirmed what many people guessed from the start: many of the show's contestants gain back their weight once they leave the Biggest Loser house. In fact, some have gotten even heavier over the years.
Researchers say the show's contestants, who have admitted to starving and dehydrating themselves to lose more weight during the competition, can be divided into "maintainers" and "regainers." And scientists even say that competing on the Biggest Loser makes it harder to shed the pounds in the long run.
Some of the show's most famous contestants agree...