What Is The Biggest Loser Diet & How Does It Work?

What is the Biggest Loser Diet?

Want to lose weight without starving yourself? Then the ‘biggest loser diet’ definitely needs your attention. This name might remind you of a popular NBC TV show, ‘The Biggest Loser.” This diet is somewhat similar to the TV show except the fact that you don’t have cameras following you 24/7.


The Biggest Loser Diet teaches you to follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen to be able to lose weight successfully. The effectiveness of this diet is evident from the TV cast members’ success on the show.

Weight loss achieved through this diet makes you feel better, stronger and helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It emphasizes on the consumption of whole foods that are rich in fibre and low in salt and saturated fat as well as regular exercise. It provides additional health benefits like lowering the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain cancers. This dietary program is recommended by most health organizations including the American Heart Association.

How does it Work?

Before resorting to the Biggest Loser Diet, it should be kept in mind that the real results may vary from those experienced by the contestants on the show due to the difference in their body types and health conditions. You need to be willing to work hard to change your long term eating and exercise habits.

This diet is based on the premise that we fail to lose weight because we do not choose the right foods and often miss out on regular exercising. The key to weight loss is to follow a strict regimen that combines healthy eating and regular physical activity.

The reality show encompasses a menu based on a special food pyramid and tips for burning calories. All in all, this dietary pattern is based on the following principles of eating.

Biggest Loser Diet

Image: Shutterstock

1. The Biggest Loser Pyramid

The Biggest Loser 4-3-2-1 pyramid comprises of a variety of whole foods including:-

  • Four servings of fruits and vegetables: Half of your servings should come from vegetables. Avoid eating more fruits than vegetables. One serving is equivalent to one medium piece or 8 ounces of a fruit or vegetable.
  • Three servings of lean protein: These include low fat dairy, meat and vegetarian sources of protein.
  • Two servings of whole grains: These include breads like light bread, whole grain bun or whole wheat tortillas. You can incorporate grains like brown rice, cooked barley, couscous or other grains.
  • 200 calories of extras: You can consume no more than 200 calories of ‘extras’ like desserts. These include good fats like olive, flax seed and canola oils, reduced fat nut butters and salad dressings, low fat dairies and sugar-free desserts.
  • This pyramid focuses on designing your menu in a manner that 45% of your daily calories come from crabs, 30% from protein and 25% from fats. It also teaches you calorie calculation and exercising portion control.

2. Have Frequent Meals

This dietary pattern advises you to have 5 to 6 small meals and snacks throughout the day at a gap of 3 to 4 hours. This will keep your blood sugar in check and your appetite levels balanced, enabling you to stay satisfied. It is advisable to have three meals in a day with 2 to 3 snacks in between. Each meal should have a particular ratio of nutrients to fulfill your requirements.

3. Eat Whole Foods

The biggest loser recipes are based on whole foods comprising of low fat dairy, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, all of which are low in calories and help you achieve your weight loss goals.

4. Choose your Calories Wisely

To be able to lose weight successfully, you need to control your intake of calories and incorporate healthy foods for your optional calories such as:-

  • Healthy fats like olive, canola and flaxseed oils, low fat salad dressings and mayonnaise
  • Sugar-free desserts and sweets comprising of pudding, gelatins, jams, jellies, syrups, popsicles and whipped topping
  • Condiments and sauces like ketchup and mustard, light soy sauce, barbecue sauce and Worcestershire sauce for flavoring meals and snacks
  • Saturated fat found in animal products like egg yolk and full fat dairy as well as foods containing hydrogenated oils should be avoided. Similarly, highly processed foods should not be consumed even if they are sugar-free, fat-free, with reduced fat or low carb products.

5. Use Spices and Condiments that are Low in Calories

This plan advises to use spices and herbs that flavor your meals without loading them with calories and sodium. Low calorie condiments help to lower your calorie intake while low sodium condiments prevent water retention in your body.

6. Avoid Potatoes

This plan advises you to incorporate more vegetables in your diet. Ensure to keep potatoes out of this list as they are high in carbs and can lead to weight gain.

7. Avoid Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like dates; raisins etc are high in calories and should be avoided.

8. Limit the Consumption of Meat

Consumption of red meat should be restricted to 2 servings in a week as it is high in saturated fat. Always opt for free-range or grass-fed meat options. Processed meats like hot dogs should be avoided. Skinless poultry should be consumed to lower the fat content. Wild caught fish should be consumed instead of farm raised ones.

9. Avoid Alcohol

Many people consider alcohol a treat but it is definitely not advisable for those willing to lose weight. This is because it hikes calories without providing nutrients and interferes with your weight loss efforts by slowing down the fat burning process. It is also an appetite stimulator and can cause you to eat more.

Biggest Loser Diet Chart:

The biggest loser diet chart incorporates three meals and two snacks comprising of 45% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 25% healthy fats. Unlike other dietary programs, it encourages frequent eating and does not believe in deprivation. This dietary pattern should be followed for 6 weeks to give a great kick start to your weight loss regime. Given below is a sample diet chart for a day that will enable you to have a better understanding of the foods to be eaten during the day on the basis of nutritional break-up.


Breakfast½ cup egg whites scrambled with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp grated parmesan, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup chopped broccoli, ½ cup blueberries, a cup of skim milk
Snack½ cup fat free yoghurt with 1 sliced apple and 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
Lunch4 ounces grilled chicken, ½ cup chopped celery, salad made with 2 cups chopped romaine, ½ cup sliced bell peppers with ¼ cup chopped green onions with 2 tbsp low- fat Italian dressing
Snack½ cup fat free cottage cheese and one medium orange
Dinner¾ cup brown rice, salad prepared from ½ cup of cherry tomatoes, 1 cup arugula, ½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce, 1tsp balsamic vinaigrette and ¼ cup fat free vanilla yogurt, 1 tbsp chopped pecans with a dash of cinnamon

Role of Exercise:

This diet also emphasizes the importance of exercise to achieve weight loss and for combating weight-related conditions like type-2 diabetes, high diabetes and heart disease. You can start off with body weight training like lunges, squats, push-ups etc and gradually move on to aerobics, strength and resistance training.

Yoga and pilates are also beneficial in this regard. Adults should indulge in at least 2 ½ hours of moderate activity like brisk walking in a week as well as couple of days of muscle strengthening activities.

Benefits of the Biggest Loser Diet:

The biggest loser diet does yield results in terms of weight loss, provided you are disciplined enough to strictly adhere to the recommended foods and exercise regime.

  1. Aids weight loss: The winning combo of healthy foods and exercise makes this dietary pattern conducive to weight loss.
  2. Cardiovascular Benefits: Obese people are at the highest risk of heart disease. By facilitating weight loss, this diet helps reduce blood pressure, ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, a fatty substance that can lead to heart disease.
  3. Prevents Diabetes: Obesity is one of the factors contributing to type-2 diabetes. Since this diet enables you to lose weight and keep it off, it definitely helps to prevent diabetes.
  4. Easy to follow: This dietary program is relatively easy to follow as it does not disallow any food group. In fact, it emphasizes on frequent meals packed with either fiber or protein. It has been designed to keep you full and does not deprive you of vital nutrients.


This dietary pattern hardly possesses any drawbacks except the fact that the actual results might vary from those experienced by the contestants on the show. It incorporates a strict regime of diet and exercise. The plan stresses on the intake of a specified portion of nutrients and intense physical activity which is difficult to follow in real life situations.

Leave a Comment.