Sunday 24 September 2017

Weight gain is often irreversible

One of the Biggest Loser show contestants in the US, Sean Algaier (centre), now weighs more than when he entered the show.
One of the Biggest Loser show contestants in the US, Sean Algaier (centre), now weighs more than when he entered the show.

Weight-loss programmes like RTÉ's Operation Transformation and the Biggest Loser in the USA have great results, but a new study shows that 13 of the 14 contestants in the Biggest Loser regained weight in six years - six are heavier than before the competition.

The findings in Obesity Biology and Integrated Biology show "just how hard the body fights back against weight loss".

The research shows the participants' resting metabolism plunged during the programme, but did not recover in the period afterwards.

One contestant did sustain weight loss despite a slower metabolism, the study found.

Commenting on the study, Dublin obesity expert Dr Donal O' Shea, said: "For some years now we have realised that weight gain is 90pc irreversible for 90pc of people. It's a very important reality that needs to be understood and accepted.

"Then prevention - and in particular in childhood - becomes the primary goal.

"The research we are doing with the National Children's Research Centre is focused on the immune system and regulation of weight - and that's where the explanation for this dynamic defence against weight loss is to be found.

"Ultimately understanding that will lead to treatments for obesity, but it really should be prevention, prevention, prevention."

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