Some of NBC’s “Biggest Loser” contestants are speaking out about the abuse they say they suffered on the popular reality show.
A recently released controversial study claims to explain why nearly all of the "Biggest Loser" contestants regain most, if not all, of the weight they lose on the show. But now many of the former contestants are saying the show encouraged them to take drugs, starve themselves and lie about their weight loss.
One even says the show wanted her to gain weight first, and then take it back off.
“They told me if I wanted to be on their reality show, that I would need to gain an extra 20 to 40 pounds,” season 2 contestant Suzanne Mendonca told FOX News of her experience trying out for the show. “The bigger the weight, the more numbers you’ll see [drop] on the scale.”
Mendonca left her police officer job and pension behind to be on the show with the promise that she would lose weight and be healthy. Instead, she says, it was the biggest mistake of her life.
“I had a wonderful career [and] basically the ‘Biggest Loser’ took it all away.”
She said while she did not “personally take pills,” other contestants on her season did. She claims trainer Bob Harper and Dr. Huizenga told her to “digest two tablespoons of baking soda” when she was dehydrated.
“It would actually make you retain water weight [so] what they were trying to do was manipulate the TV show into who would go home and be kicked off the show by manipulating contestant's weights.”
Mendonca revealed that she would vomit on the set and instead of being given medical attention, they would say “great, you’ll lose even more weight.”
“Everybody thinks that the show gave wonderful tools they did not,” she said. “Bob Harper would tell me eat 800 calories...they created eating disorders.”
NBC said in a statement, “The safety and well being of our contestants is and has always been paramount. 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.”
Mendonca countered, “We know as contestants the truth. Bring Bob Harper [on TV], he'll refute everything...I have no reason to lie.”