Update: The Biggest Loser’s Dr. Robert Huizenga, known on the show as Dr. H, is suing both The New York Post and former contestant Joelle Gwynn over three stories which contained allegations that he encouraged shady weight-loss tactics, including the use of unsafe and illegal weight-loss drugs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Huizenga claims his attorney told the Post that the allegations were false.
The lawsuit comes less than a week after the L.A. County Sherriff’s office said that they were investigating the claims. This story was originally published on May 22, 2016.
Contestants from NBC's weight-loss reality show, The Biggest Loser, are claiming that they were encouraged to take weight-loss drugs provided by one of the show's trainers, Bob Harper. The contestants have told the New York Post that the drugs and intense workouts resulted in the dramatic weight loss depicted on the show.
"People were passing out in Dr. H’s office at the finale weigh-in," Suzanne Mendonca, contestant on season two of the show told the Post. "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." Contestants have also accused the show's resident doctor, Rob Huizenga, of glossing over drug use and caloric intake.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," Huizenga told the Post. "Contestants are told at the start of the show that there is zero tolerance for any weight-loss drugs. Urine drug screens and the evaluation of serial weights are repeatedly used to flush out possible illicit use."
The contestants have claimed that they were subjected to humiliating conditions during their time on the show, including group showers and rooms not equipped with air conditioning. Once released from the show, they were expected to continue their weigh-loss plan without any outside support, they say. They have claimed that this is why many of them have regained whatever weight they lost. Some have also attributed subsequent health issues to their experiences on the show. These accusations follow a high-profile controversy surrounding the winner of the show's most recent season, Rachel Fredrickson.