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wshaffer
Apparently, The Biggest Loser is still going 
4th-Jan-2016 09:20 am
ace
So, it's not news that The Biggest Loser is terrible, but this article adds at least one new reason why it's terrible to the list: I wouldn't necessarily have guessed that rapid fat loss plus intensive exercise would slow down your resting metabolic rate even more than just rapid fat loss.

"Ravussin and his team compared 12 people from The Biggest Loser with 12 people who lost similar amounts of weight via gastric bypass surgery. Because of the former’s extreme exercise regimens, the show’s contestants lost less muscle and more fat than the surgery group, but their drop in resting metabolic rate was double that of the gastric bypass group."

I found the full text of the actual study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3387402/). How much did the contestants resting metabolic rate drop by? An average of 504kcal/day beyond what could be accounted for by their weight loss alone. That's a substantial number of calories.

Lots more research needs to be done to figure out exactly what caused the drop in resting metabolic rate, but I think the takeaway lesson here is that significant caloric restriction plus intense exercise is a bad combo. 
Comments 
4th-Jan-2016 08:17 pm (UTC)
Interesting that you wouldn't have guessed that. It seems "obvious" (i.e., probable) to me, because of how "set point" works.

The Biggest Loser is one of the most terrible shows ever, imo.
4th-Jan-2016 09:30 pm (UTC)
It's true that this result does square with what we know about set points. I guess I'd had an intuition that for most people who aren't contestants on terrible weight loss shows, that the set point was mostly the result of people quite sensibly reducing their voluntary physical activity or increasing their food intake as the stress of maintaining such a huge caloric deficit got to be too much. This research demonstrates that even if you override those factors, your body is still really good at not letting you starve yourself.

Really, my own approach to Health at Every Size is so shaped by the idea that "The prize of thinness is not worth the misery it would take to get there," that I tend to forget how much evidence there is that getting there at all is impossible for most people no matter how much misery they are willing to put themselves through.
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