Biggest Loser Loses Sight of Contestants' Health

Fasting, dehydration, hospitalization daily reality of reality show

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 25, 2009 10:44 AM CST

(Newser) The Biggest Loser has produced some amazing results for its obese contestants, but at what cost? Many see the pounds come right back, and it’s likely because they engage in dangerous, damaging behavior in the first place in order to win the weight-loss reality show, the New York Times has learned. Season one's winner, who's almost back to his original weight of 330 pounds, dehydrated himself to the point of urinating blood. “I’m just waiting for the first person to have a heart attack,” says a doctor.

This season's first episode resulted in two hospitalizations, which is scary given the content of a release form obtained by the Times. “No warranty, representation or guarantee has been made as to the qualifications or credentials of the medical professionals” on the show, it reads. Shockingly, 400-pound contestants also have to attest that they are “in excellent physical” health. And while the Times got some tidbits—contestants apparently work out in as much clothing as possible when the cameras are off—few were willing to talk. After the paper started digging around, former contestants were emailed a reminder of the serious consequences that come with unauthorized interviews: fines of $100,000 to $1 million.

Host Alison Sweeney, left, and trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels from the NBC series The Biggest Loser.
Host Alison Sweeney, left, and trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels from the NBC series "The Biggest Loser."   (AP Photo)
Hopeful contestants at an open call for The Biggest Loser.
Hopeful contestants at an open call for "The Biggest Loser."   (©pierre lascott)
Erik Chopin, Health Across America spokesperson and winner of The Biggest Loser Season 3, has put back more than 20% of the weight he lost.
Erik Chopin, Health Across America spokesperson and winner of "The Biggest Loser" Season 3, has put back more than 20% of the weight he lost.   (Photo: Business Wire)
In this image released by NBC, twin brothers Bill Germanakos, left, and Jim Germanakos are shown from NBC's The Biggest Loser.  Bill, a 41-year-old medical salesman from Lynbrook, N.Y., lost 164 pounds, slimming down from 334 pounds to 170 pounds over an eight-month period.
In this image released by NBC, twin brothers Bill Germanakos, left, and Jim Germanakos are shown from NBC's "The Biggest Loser". Bill, a 41-year-old medical salesman from Lynbrook, N.Y., lost 164 pounds,...   (AP Photo/NBC, Dave Bjerke)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
Nicole Michalik talks with Bill and Lori about her experience on The Biggest Loser and how the show has kept her fit.   (WCAU Philadelphia NBC)
First female winner of BIGGEST LOSER, Ali Vincent, talks to Hollywood 411 about her big loss and her mother's support that brought her to first place.   (TV Guide Broadband)
Contestant Nicole Brewer went from a size 24 to 8.   (US Weekly)

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