Show medical consultant and UCLA professor Rob Huizenga had to drag one protesting contestant off her bike when she was stricken with severe cramps.

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"They're taking people who have been inactive and are not in good shape and boom, automatically subjecting them to this stress," Carol Wolin-Riklin, the bariatric nutrition coordinator for the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, told Live Science.

"Things are going to happen." And indeed, things have.

"The way I go about encouraging healthful weight loss is by working on changes one at a time," she said.

"By making these changes bit-by-bit I think you have a better shot at having long-lasting lifestyle changes." Real-life weight loss?

Losing weight rapidly can be risky, according to Virginia Tech professor of human nutrition, foods and exercise Janet Walberg Rankin.

Patients who lose weight quickly run the risk of gallstones, mineral deficiencies, loss of muscle tissue and reduced bone density.

Health risks of obesity The show's producers point out that contestants are under medical supervision and say the extreme nature of the competition is inspirational for viewers.

And of course, there are serious health risks to being as obese as the "Biggest Loser" contestants.

"It's very difficult to sustain." While researchers aren't sure if repeated cycles of weight lost and weight gained are more dangerous than staying overweight or obese, the psychological toll of failing to keep weight off can be grim, said Kushner.

People often feel like failures and become hopeless about their health.

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