Tag Archives: Biggest Loser

Is the “Calories In/Calories” Theory Outdated?

Not watching The Biggest Loser

Dr. Barry Sears (Ph.D., I think) recently wrote about a lecture he attended by a dietitian affiliated with “The Biggest Loser” TV show.  She revealed the keys to weight-loss success, at least on that show.  Calorie restriction is a major feature, with the typical 300-pounder (136 kg) eating 1,750 calories a day. 

On my Advanced Mediterranean Diet, 300-pounders get 2,300 calories (men) or 1,900 calories (women). 

Although not stressed by Dr. Sears, my impression is that contestants exercise a huge amount. 

Go to the Sears  link above and you’ll learn that all contestants are paid to participate.  In researching my Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes book, I learned that the actual Biggest Loser wins $250,000 (USD).  Also, “The Biggest Loser” is an international phenomenon with multiple countries hosting their own versions, with different pay-off amounts.  A former winner, Ali Vincent, lives in my part of the world and still has some celebrity status.

This TV show demonstrates that the calories in/calories out theory of body weight still applies, including the fact that massive exercise can help significantly with weight loss.  In real-world situations, exercise contributes only a small degree to loss of excess weight. 

The major take-home point of the show, for me, is that you can indeed make food and physical activity choices that determine your weight.

Most of us watch too much

I know losing 50 to 10o pounds of fat (25–45 kg) and keeping it off for a couple years is hard; most folks can’t do it.  Do you think you’d be more successful if I gave you $250,ooo for your success?

Steve Parker, M.D.