Biggest Loser Contestants: We Starved, Used Drugs

The show's doctor denies the allegations
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2016 6:03 AM CDT
Biggest Loser Contestants: We Starved, Used Drugs
Some former contestants claim misconduct on the part of "The Biggest Loser" staff.   (AP Photo/NBC, Trae Patton)

San Francisco police officer Mark Yesitis has seen some bad stuff: "I've seen people's brains outside their heads," he tells the New York Post. What could be worse than that? "Being on The Biggest Loser." Yesitis is among several contestants of NBC's long-running weight-loss program to tell the newspaper that the show asked them to take stimulants, lie about how much they ate, and generally participate in unsafe weight loss practices. In particular, the newspaper says trainer Bob Harper and an assistant "supplied contestants with Adderall and 'yellow jackets'—pills that contain ephedra extract." The FDA banned ephedra in 2004, the newspaper adds. "Nothing can be further from the truth," the show's Dr. Rob Huizenga counters, adding that the show has "zero tolerance for any weight-loss drugs." The alleged misconduct, he says, is "in direct conflict with my lifelong devotion to health and fitness."

Joelle Gwynn, a 2008 contestant, tells the Post that an assistant to Harper gave her a yellow and black pill that made her "jittery and hyper." She never took it again. The allegations come after a study released this month suggested that almost all contestants regain weight after the show because extreme dieting wreaks havoc on their metabolisms. Trainer Jillian Michaels told People the results are malarkey. Speaking to Today in the wake of that study, Harper said weight loss is "such a battle" because "our bodies want to be the weight we've been for such a long time." His solution: Skip a meal every day, an approach called "intermittent fasting." In 2009, a contestant accused Michaels of giving her contestants drugs to lose weight, but an internal investigation by the show cleared her of wrongdoing, reported E! Online. (This former contestant went public with her post-show weight gain.)

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