Obesity Expert Discusses an Unexpected Metabolic Response to Weight Loss

April 22, 2021
Grace Halsey

Citing a study of "The Biggest Loser" participants, obesity expert Dr Silvana Pannain explains why "Eat less, exercise more," often backfires as a sole intervention for persons with obesity.

Using the example of studies of weight loss among participants on the reality television show "The Biggest Loser," Dr Silvana Pannain explained in an interview with Patient Care Online the pathologic decrease in energy expenditure that accompanies significant weight loss. NIH researchers who followed participants for 6 years found that despite continuous effort to maintain the average 30% weight loss achieved during the 30 weeks of filming, participants gained back an average of two-thirds of the weight originally lost.

In the video below, Dr Pannain describes the metabolic adaptation behind this weight regain and how essential it is to counsel patients on the body's defense to weight loss. She will be a featured speaker at the Obesity Medicine Association's Virtual Spring Summit that begins Friday, April 23, 2021.

Silvana Pannain, MD, is associate professor of medicine in the section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at University of Chicago Medicine and director of Chicago Weight, an interdisciplinary weight loss program and support group at the University of Chicago.