'Biggest Loser' Nutrition: Where's the Beef?
'Biggest Loser' Nutrition: Where's the Beef?
Eleanor Bryan
Eleanor Bryan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
I'm noticing something weird in the emphasis on nutrition this season. Namely, the lack thereof. Everyone knows that diet and exercise are equally important when starting a weight-loss plan. Most of the time, though, people tend to neglect exercise in the stead of dieting. Dieting is "easier" because exercise takes a lot of effort. However, on The Biggest Loser, the opposite tends to happen. Contestants spend hours upon hours in the gym, but nutrition isn't talked about except for a few vague warnings against sodium and advertisements for cereal and yogurt. I think we're missing something here, guys.

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There have been several challenges so far in which contestants have to guess the caloric value of foods. Last night was one of them, and it went down as a total disaster. Two out of six questions right? One out of six questions right? How can this be? The Black team always puts Marci forward when it comes time to answer any nutritional questions, which is great for Marci but means that the rest of them don't know anything. The Red team just seems eternally lost. Remember the Valentine's Day challenge, when Ken and Justin had to put the meals in order of caloric value? They were stumped on that one for what seemed like hours, while the Black team sailed through the finish line.

The contestants seem bumbling and clueless, which worries me. Without a solid foundation of nutrition, how are they supposed to keep the weight off at home?

While the Red team was away at Fitness Ridge, they had all their meals cooked for them. There was a menu every day, so they managed to keep the weight off. However, this is not the blessing it may appear to be. Sure, which meals are regimented, it's going to be easy to lose weight. But now that the Red team no longer has a chef cooking for them, what are they going to do? They always do abysmally in the nutrition challenges. This spells bad news for all of them.

Occasionally the teams will sit down and have a chipper conversation about the importance of eating a certain brand of cereal for breakfast, or eating egg whites on your Subway sandwich instead of regular eggs, but those segments are more like commercials than actual lessons in health. Deni and Marci got to have that cooking  lesson with Curtis Stone, but again, that was more of a challenge than a lesson. They were so busy trying to guess calories that they couldn't have taken in much as far as technique goes.

What did it for me was Arthur's conversation with the girls last night. Marci had to explain to him that fish as better than chicken sausage because of the sodium in chicken sausage, and the idea of steaming fish in water seemed totally foreign to a lot of the people in the kitchen. The idea of using salsa instead of salad dressing was presented as novel and new. Guys, we're at Week 7! These tricks should be old hat to our contestants by now. What's going on?

For The Biggest Loser to actually start helping people improve their lives, I think a much greater emphasis on nutrition needs to take place. Lessons on fiber that go deeper than a promotion Kellog's would be a good start. An emphasis on something other than the pure caloric value of food would also be fantastic. Granted, the producers might axe this in favor of more interesting segments. However, I would personally rather watch a short segment on how exactly sodium effects the body than yet another boring montage of Last Chance Workout footage. But maybe that's just me.

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