Ryan C. Benson, who lost 122 of his 330-pound starting weight, will be absent. Mr. Benson is now back above 300 pounds but he thinks he has been shunned by the show because he publicly admitted that he dropped some of the weight by fasting and dehydrating himself to the point that he was urinating blood
Medical professionals generally advise against losing more than about two pounds a week. Rapid weight loss can cause many medical problems, including a weakening of the heart muscle, irregular heartbeat and dangerous reductions in potassium and electrolytes.
“I’m waiting for the first person to have a heart attack,” said Dr. Charles Burant
, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System director of the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center.
“I have had some patients who want to do the same thing, and I counsel them against it
,” Dr. Burant said. “I think the show is so exploitative. They are taking poor people who have severe weight problems whose real focus is trying to win the quarter-million dollars.”
Some contestants have claimed that dangerous weight loss techniques were common among contestants. Kai Hibbard, who lost 118 pounds and finished as the runner-up in Season 3, has written on her MySpace blog and elsewhere that she and other contestants would drink as little water as possible in the 24 hours before a weigh-in
. When the cameras were off, she said, contestants would work out in as much clothing as possible.
Ms. Hibbard, who weighed 144 pounds at the show’s finale, wrote that she added 31 pounds in two weeks, most of it simply by drinking water
. That experience is not isolated. Including Mr. Benson, the winners of the first four seasons of the show each have added at least 20 percent to their weight at the end of the show