There was a study performed on previous contestants in the popular show ‘The Biggest Loser’ that tracked the contestants’ weight after the show had ended.  The findings were groundbreaking.

Danny Cahill, the winner of Season 8 of NBC’s reality television show “The Biggest Loser,” had done it. He had broken a record by losing more weight than anyone had before on the show- he lost an unbelievable 239 pounds in seven months!

Cahill had weighed 430 pounds before the show. At the finale, he clocked in at 191 pounds.

Now, he weighs 295 pounds.

What Happened?

The study found that the huge caloric deficit that he had undergone in such a short time during the show, had significantly damaged his metabolism.

His Basal Metabolic Rate (which, roughly speaking, is the number of calories your body burns even if you had been at rest the whole day) was 800 calories below what would be expected for a man of his size. This means that it was practically inevitable for him to start gaining his weight back.

basal metabolic rate: an expression of the rate at which oxygen is utilized in a fasting subject at complete rest as a percentage of a value established as normal for such a subject. Abbreviated BMR.

According to the study, Danny Cahill wasn’t the only one that suffered from a decreased metabolism, any others did as well.

Perhaps the most shocking discovery of this study was that the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover.

In fact, they got worse…

As weight gain intensified for the contestants post-show, their metabolisms became even slower. It almost seemed that their bodies were fighting to get back to their original weight.

As noted by the New York Times, some of this may have been a biological issue. “Despite spending billions of dollars on weight-loss drugs and dieting programs, even the most motivated are working against their own biology.”

However, there is absolutely no denying that the huge cut in calories over a very short period of time significantly damaged their metabolism- perhaps even to an unfixable state.

While some will always have a biological tendency to gain weight more easily, there is no doubt that these contestants could have lost weight, in a healthier way too, if they had taken more precautions.

It is highly detrimental to have that big of a caloric deficit, in that short of time, that you damage your metabolism as badly as these contestants. This is why many doctors recommend keeping a caloric deficit to a maximum of 200-300 calories.

Your metabolism will change…

but, it should never be damaged- at least to this extent. So, take the information we have given you and make healthier, wiser steps towards fat loss.



  1. Kolata, Gina. “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 May 2016,