If you’ve ever wondered why you’re able to lose weight but have a hard time keeping it off, you're not the only one. Researchers are addressing this issue, which impacts millions of people who lose weight only to regain it by studying the contestants on the reality TV show “The Biggest Loser.”
And what they have found is that most of contestants over the show’s 16 seasons have regained much, if not all, of the weight they lost. Some are even heavier now.
The findings, published earlier this week, found that the body’s metabolism fights back hard against weight loss, according to Dr. Kevin Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, who headed the study.
The research shows that the weight regain has to do with resting metabolism, which determines how many calories a person burns when at rest. The researchers said they expected that after the TV show the contestants’ metabolisms would slow down, but hadn’t anticipated that their metabolisms would not recover and instead work extra hard to pull the contestants back to their original weight.
Some scientists say weight maintenance has to be treated as an issue separate from weight loss. Much testing is being done to create drugs that mimic leptin, a hormone that controls hunger. Leptin levels are said to drop during weight loss making people hungry all the time.
These findings are important in helping researchers find ways to combat obesity and help people - even those looking to just lose that stubborn 10 or 20 pounds - lose and maintain their new weight. Experts have also noted that while people may find it difficult to maintain weight loss, it’s not a losing battle and that controlling calorie intake and eating a healthy diet are crucial to warding off chronic diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease and more) and should be the goal for good health.