Coach Ted's Diet Advice

Former Contestant Kai Hibbard SLAMS The Biggest Loser

By Ted KallmyerUpdated June 15, 2022
kai hibbard tells Biggest Loser's secrets

And reveals the Biggest Loser’s dirty little secrets.

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 themselves made some changes of their own for the better.

Kai Hibbard Comes Clean About Biggest Loser

There is a dark side to show however, according to former contestant Kai Hibbard, who lost 118lbs in the third season of the show. Hibbard told ABC’s “The Morning Show” (watch the interview here) that producers used a number of tactics to distort results, promote fast weight loss, and otherwise create an environment conducive to disordered eating behavior.

Says Hibbard

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 prior to 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 shows practices will put her at risk for lawsuits.

Beyond the grueling workouts and ultra low calorie diets, Hibbard recently 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 some very obsessive behavior, and some alarming physical changes such as hair loss.

dangerous workouts

NBC responded to the allegations with this;

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, recently 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,”

Our opinion:

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

  1. Quotes like this interest me more for what WASN’T said, more so than what WAS said. Note that NBC didn’t deny the claims, they justified it by decreeing medical supervision.
  2. Since when does medical supervision justify dangerous practices? It’s okay to push way beyond your exercise and nutritional limits because we can revive you on the spot in the likelihood that you pass out.
  3. One card that charlatans love to play is the “look at how many people have achieved results doing our program”. Lots of people lost weight on “Kimkins” too – it doesn’t mean it’s safe, pragmatic, or in any way advisable.
  4. If you watch the show you will see the active promotion of processed “franken-foods” which are obviously sponsoring the show.

Biggest Loser: more harm than good or vice versa?

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

I personally 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.

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

However, The show has inspired and helped 1000’s of people lose weight and become healthier, so surely there’s some value to that.

Ted Kallmyer is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition, author, and macros coach. He has helped hundreds of clients reach their body transformation goals.


  • Krihi

    It’s not the show’s fault that she was unable to keep the weight off after she left. To be able to get a jumpstart on weight loss during the show seems worth the so-called risks. The contestants have the advantage of professionals to monitor their food intake and their vital signs. Once that weight is off, it becomes the individual’s responsibility to do research, eat healthy, and create their own meal plans and workout routines.

    Although I would never condone that ‘can’t believe it’s not butter’ crap, it’s a small price to pay to drop 100 pounds in such a short amount of time without weight loss drugs.

    Unfortunately, it’s the drama of the show that now makes it so popular. Too bad it’s not the same as it was the first season where the focus was more on the weight loss than the contestant bickering.

  • Peter

    The calorie deprivation model of weight loss never works. It slows the metabolism, so when you begin to eat normally, you gain the weight right back.

    It’s important to get one’s metabolism in balance for permanent weight loss, and The Biggest Loser simply does not address that. Especially when it’s promoting frankenfoods.

    • Krihi

      Calories in – calories out. That drives weight. The only way to lose weight is to take in less calories than are expended. This happens by increasing calories used (physical activity) and/or reducing calories. The whole starvation mode excuse does not last for years after rapid weight loss and will not cause someone to gain back 100 pounds. It’ll level off in a short period of time.

  • chris m.

    i watched Biggest Loser faithfully. once a person leaves the show and starts to gain some weight back, why don’t they take the necessary steps to stop the over eating? why didn’t they join a support group? why didn’t they get a local personal trainer to help them exercise on a prudent daily program. to blame a show for all their personal problems is ludicrous. i watched Kai on that season. i encourage others to watch her behavior and attitude that she projected on that show. and then to go to another show for 15 minutes of fame??!! i got from the show that there has to be life style changes.

    • VG

      U need to research more, that kind of dieting slows down your metabolism and we all know weight loss is all about hormones not calories in calories out.

      • Denise

        THANK YOU. I totally agree with you but I’m afraid I’ll be long gone before Drs get around to stop blaming and shaming us for obesity. A few pounds may be from over eating but not when it gets to 100s of pounds. I gained 100 lbs after my total hysterectomy, severe migraines and depression all due to inadequate hormone replacement IMO.

    • Randy

      i went from 64 kgs to 55 kgs in 3 months. gaining back the weight is nothing to do with willpower and motivation. you cannot fight biology. rapid fat loss puts your body into starvation mode. your biology kicks in and tries to get your body back to a set point weight. cravings for carbs and other fatty food skyrocket because you have deprived the body for so long. deprivation leads to anxiety and depression. also increased level of cortisol due to the stress the body undergoes in such a short time. it also causes rebound binge eating and overeating as your body tries to get back into balance. that is the reason short term “diets” do not work. 80-90% of people who follow these fad diets gain the weight back and more within 5 years. look around at the fitness industry, every fitness guru wants to sell their program. funnily, none of the programs are longer than 3 months. most are 4, 6, 9 , 12 week diets. for some reason, once someone reaches a 3 month threshold, you go mental. your body craves food. but by then, these fitness gurus are long gone. and the dieter blames themselves. when it is actually the diet which goes against biology, and biology invariably wins. so after reaching this threshold, hiring personal trainers etc would not work

      • Ciara Roots

        I agree. I once lost 75 pounds in 6 months–from 200 down to 125. To maintain that weight, I had to eat about 1,000 calories a day and work out for about three hours a day; this is no exaggeration. I gained back most of the weight over several years. I am now on a sensible program that is teaching me how to eat. In 10 weeks, I have lost about 10 pounds. I am very happy with that. The program is designed to last for a year, and encourages participants to eat a well-balanced diet. I have learned to eat much more slowly, eat small portions twice a day, chew my food till it’s practically slime, and avoid between-meal snacking. The program also encourages reasonable exercise doing something I enjoy. I believe I am developing habits that will last, not be a flash-in-the-pan, quick weight-loss plan. I only watched The Biggest Loser once, for about 10 minutes, several years ago, and thought it was horrible. Kai reinforces my opinion.

  • Zorro75

    Biggest Loser is a loser. The show should be nixed. Chris and Heidi Powell take a long term approach to weight loss and healthy living. BL is a temporary fix and is a disservice to society as a whole.

    • Tony Pesola

      all tv shows are about money…….. period…..

      • Zorro75

        Agreed. There is no escaping that fact.

  • liz

    She’s just mad she gained the weight back.
    I believe it was in season 7 , you hear Bob constantly telling one of the contenders that starving yourself isn’t the answer. Eating more but healthy through out the day burns more is what he says.

    • Nicole

      I have no doubt that what these trainers say in front of the cameras is different than what they are telling the contestants.

  • Ashley Gierzak

    Yes best to stay fat. Good call. Im sure she didnt have a distirted body image before either…