Diet Advice

Former Contestant Kai Hibbard slams The Biggest Loser

By Ted KallmyerUpdated August 7, 2023

Opinions are divided when it comes to the iconic weight loss show.

No doubt thousands of people have been inspired by the transformations and have made some changes of their own for the better. However, there is a dark side to rapid weight loss.

Kai Hibbard comes clean about the Biggest Loser

Former contestant Kai Hibbard lost 118 lbs in the third season of the show. Hibbard told ABC’s Morning Show that producers used a number of tactics to distort results, promote fast weight loss, and otherwise create an environment conducive to disordered eating behavior.

I have people that come up to me and talk to me and ask me why they can’t lose 12 pounds in a week when I did…when I didn’t… It didn’t happen…its TV. I helped perpetuate a myth that’s dangerous.

(Hibbard claims that “a week’s” results were often longer than a week and that she would dehydrate before weigh-ins).

She goes on to say;

The biggest loser isn’t a weight loss camp that happens to be filmed for TV, it’s a TV show that’s made to look like a weight loss camp.

She takes full responsibility for perpetuating a myth and says she feels like a “coward” for not speaking up about her experience. She acknowledges that blowing the whistle on the show’s practices will put her at risk for lawsuits.

Beyond the grueling workouts and ultra-low calorie diets, Hibbard told The New York Post this.

“My season had a lot of Franken-foods: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray, Kraft fat-free cheese, Rockstar Energy Drinks, Jell-O.”

Hibbard has since gained back about 2/3 of the weight she lost.

Upon leaving the show, she claims to have suffered from a “very poor body image.” In the Morning Show interview, her husband recounts obsessive behavior and alarming physical changes such as hair loss.

dangerous workouts

NBC responded to the allegations:

Contestants on The Biggest Loser are closely monitored and medically supervised,” the network told Entertainment Weekly… The consistent health transformations of over 200 contestants through nine seasons of the program speak for themselves.

The show’s creator, Dave Broome, told People Magazine this:

“These claims are “false” and stresses that the health and well-being of the contestants is production’s utmost concern. We put together an incredible medical team of doctors, nutritionists and therapists. You name it we’ve had it and continue to evolve our supervised care,”

My thoughts

Copout – plain and simple. Here are 3 quick thoughts on why;

  1. Quotes like this interest me more for what WASN’T said than what WAS said.
    NBC didn’t deny the claims; they justified it by decreeing medical supervision.
  2. Since when does medical supervision justify dangerous practices?
    Pushing beyond your exercise and nutritional limits is okay because we can revive you if you pass out.
  3. If you watch the show, you will see the active promotion of processed “franken-foods,” sponsoring the show.

Biggest Loser: more harm than good or vice versa?

The hotly contested debate rages on – is this just reality TV’s reality, or should the Biggest Loser clean up its act?

I applaud Kai Hibbard for bravely coming forward and exposing some of the dangerous and otherwise questionable practices of the program – all for the sake of great theater.

However, The show has inspired and helped thousands of people lose weight and become healthier, so surely there’s some value.

Have former winners kept the weight off? Find out more.

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