LA Sheriff: We're Looking Into Biggest Loser Drug Rumors

Ex-contestants say show's weight-loss tactics ruined their metabolisms and their lives
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2016 11:14 AM CDT
LA Sheriff: We're Looking Into Biggest Loser Drug Rumors
Kai Hibbard, former "Biggest Loser" contestant, stands for a photograph at Sunset Park in Airway Heights, Wash., on May 3, 2016.   (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

A New York Post exposé on alleged drug distribution on the Biggest Loser has now led to a probe by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, BuzzFeed reports. The investigation officially started last month after an unnamed journalist "advised Malibu/Lost Hills station personnel of a news report regarding unsubstantiated allegations of illegal narcotics use in the past on the set," the sheriff's release on the matter says, per People. In the Post story, a few contestants mentioned that people involved with the show had encouraged them to ingest the ADHD drug Adderall (weight loss can be a side effect) and other pills containing ephedra, which the FDA banned more than a decade ago.

Although the Post article contained a handful of former competitors bashing the show, there are those who have come to its defense, per the New York Daily News. "The Biggest Loser never made me or asked me to take anything illegal," Vencent Van-zant Hickerson, a contestant on the show's 12th season, wrote May 22 on Facebook, showing off his before and after pics. "Biggest Loser saved my life and through the things I learned I have helped countless others." The show has already responded, saying in a statement that the allegations are "without merit and false. The safety and wellbeing of our contestants is, and has always been, paramount." It adds that the show has a "zero tolerance" policy toward weight-loss drugs. (The first woman to win on Biggest Loser talks about her own weight gain after the show.)

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