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“Biggest loser” study reveals how dieting affects long-term metabolism

While it’s known that metabolism slows when people diet, new research indicates that metabolism remains suppressed even when people regain much of the weight they lost while dieting.

The findings come from a study of contestants in “The Biggest Loser” television series. Despite substantial weight regain in the 6 years following participation, resting metabolic rate remained at the same low level that was measured at the end of the weight loss competition. The average rate was approximately 500 calories per day lower than expected based on individuals’ body composition and age.

“Long-term weight loss requires vigilant combat against persistent metabolic adaptation that acts to proportionally counter ongoing efforts to reduce body weight,” wrote the authors of the Obesity study.

Article: Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition, Fothergill, E., Guo, J., Howard, L., Kerns, J. C., Knuth, N. D., Brychta, R., Chen, K. Y., Skarulis, M. C., Walter, M., Walter, P. J. and Hall, K. D., Obesity, doi: 10.1002/oby.21538, published online 2 May 2016.