'The Biggest Loser' Contestants Leave Show With Slower Metabolisms, Study Finds

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CHICAGO — A new study has found that many competitors on NBC's "The Biggest Loser'' leave the show with a slower metabolism, making it more difficult to keep off the pounds.

The National Institutes of Health study finds that participants come out of the weight-loss reality competition burning about 500 fewer calories a day than expected. What's more, the contestants who drop the most weight see the greatest slowing of their metabolisms.

Researchers say many contestants experience substantial weight gain in the years after the show.

The news isn't all bad for "Biggest Loser'' competitors, however. The study notes that participants have been quite successful at long-term weight loss when compared to people in other intervention programs aimed at shedding weight.

biggest loser
THE BIGGEST LOSER -- 'Live Finale' Episode 1713 -- Pictured: (l-r) Roberto Hernandez, Stephen Kmet -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The study was published this month in the journal Obesity. It involved 14 contestants from Season 8, followed for six years after the competition ended in 2009.

Kai Hibbard, a Season 3 contestant who has criticized the show for what she calls drastic weight-loss methods, said the results came as no surprise.

"I really was dancing around my living room, screaming 'vindication''' when a friend texted her about the study, Hibbard said Tuesday from her home in Spokane, Washington.

Hibbard lost 118 pounds on the show nearly 10 years ago and has gained some but not all of it back. She was not part of the study and declined to reveal her weight.

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