Former contestants of “The Biggest Loser” claim the show encouraged drug use for weight loss, including amphetamines and diuretics.
“Bob Harper was my trainer,” Joelle Gwynn of 2008’s “Couples” season told the New York Post. “He goes away and his assistant comes in. He’s got this brown paper bag that’s bundled up. He says, ‘Take this drug, it’ll really help you.’ It was yellow and black. I was like, ‘What the f- -k is this?’ ”
After taking the pill once, Gwynn surmised, “People chastise Bill Cosby for allegedly offering meds to women, but it’s acceptable to do to fat people to make them lose weight. I feel like we got raped, too.”
“People would take amphetamines, water pills, diuretics, and throw up in the bathroom,” said Season 2’s Suzanne Mendonca, who also claimed she was forced to gain 40 pounds before she could even get on the show. “They would take their spin bikes into the steam room to work up a sweat. I vomited every single day. Bob Harper tells people to throw up: ‘Good,’ he says. ‘You’ll lose more calories.’”
Producers of the show deny the allegations, saying in a statement to TheWrap: “The safety and well-being of our contestants is, and has always been, paramount. Contestants are told at the start of the show that there is zero tolerance for any weight loss drugs. We prohibit the use of any illegal substances, in addition to the many other rules and procedures of the show that are designed to ensure safety.”
Many former contestants sent emails to the Post after a study was released two weeks ago wherein Dr. Kevin Hall at the National Institutes of Health attributed weight gained after the show to changing metabolic rates, hormone levels and genetic predispositions.
However, some former contestants are claiming they had to take street drugs while starving themselves and then lie about how much weight they were actually losing.
“Lie and say you were following the directive of intaking 1,500 calories — but I want you to do 800 calories or as little as you can,” Harper allegedly told Gwynn.
“People were passing out in Dr. H’s [Rob Huizenga] office at the finale weigh-in,” says Season 2’s Suzanne Mendonca. “On my season, five people had to be rushed to the hospital. He knew exactly what we were doing and never tried to stop it.”
“‘The Biggest Loser’ doesn’t save lives,” Mendonca says. “It ruins lives. Mentally, emotionally, financially — you come back a different person. Half the people from my season have gotten divorced. The ripple effect isn’t just weeks or months. It’s years.”