Win at Diabetes—The Biggest Loser Way!

The show’s eating plan helps contestants not only drop pounds, but control type 2 diabetes.

Kathleen Engel
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The eating plan followed by contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser quells their hunger and melts off pounds—but that’s not all: It also helps control type 2 diabetes, a disease many bring with them to the ranch. In fact, the plan earned the top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s recent rankings of the best diabetes diets. Here, two “losers” tell how it helped them lose pounds, get fit and tame their diabetes.

Ramon Medeiros
“I eat six times a day!”

It’s no question Ramon Medeiros (Season 12) was one of the most popular contestants on any season of The Biggest Loser. America watched with sadness as the then 27-year-old was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on camera—and cheered with excitement as he lost 154 pounds and found love with fellow contestant Jessica Limpert. Two more triumphs followed: Ramon won The Biggest Loser marathon and, after months of diet and exercise, his blood sugar is perfectly controlled. Now a certified trainer at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Malibu, CA, Ramon shares his healthy eating strategies with guests. “I eat six times a day, always combine complex carbs with protein and don’t touch refined sugar.” (See a typical day’s menu, below).

Sample menu: This is what Ramon eats on an average day.  Ask your healthcare team if the plan might work for you.

2 eggs, one egg white, 1 cup wilted spinach, 2 slices turkey bacon + ⅓ cup steel-cut oats
1 string cheese + 1 orange + a few almonds

4-5 oz. chicken or fish + ½ cup asparagus + ⅓ cup brown rice

1 brown rice cake + 2 Tbsp peanut butter

3 oz. turkey burger with ½ cup mushrooms + broccoli
6 oz. Greek yogurt + cocoa powder

Patti Anderson
“I started cooking—and I’ve never stopped!”

By the time Patti Anderson, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 38, arrived at The Biggest Loser Ranch in 2009, she was taking nine prescriptions (for diabetes, hypertension, anxiety and more), her blood sugar was “out of control” and she had neuropathy. “I was 55, but the show’s physician, Dr. [Robert] Huizenga, told me I had an internal age of 70 and the worst case of diabetes he had ever seen on the show. I was scared straight and vowed to improve my health.”

While the Season 9 contestant left the ranch after only two weeks, those 14 days changed her life. “As soon as I got home, I cleaned out my cupboards and started cooking—and I’ve never stopped. I’ve kept off the 42 pounds I lost since my first weigh-in and now take only one medication, for diabetes.” Here’s how Patti stays with the program:

•  Break your delivery habit: “When fast-food places start delivering, you know it’s a dangerous world out there!” says Patti. “If you know you can’t resist the convenience, make a list of places that will bring something healthy to your door, whether it’s a local restaurant or your supermarket.”

April 2013