As hubby and I sit on the couch watching "The Biggest Loser" on the tube, he always says "Oh it's easy to lose weight if your only responsibility for 6 months is to stay at the ranch, exercise with a personal trainer, and eat the food that is provided without having to pay for it or actually work for a living." The truth is he is right. And while I applaud those people who struggle with their weight on the show, I fear for their continued success once they leave the "safety net" of the show.
So what does this have to do with the landmark DCCT trial ? I liken the DCCT trial to the ranch. All DCCT study patients were prescreened for any pre-existing mental health or social conditions that would keep them from being able to maintain good control of their diabetes. I'm sure ABC carefully screens Biggest Loser participants for the same criteria - excluding any with undesirable mental health or social conditions.
Everyone in the DCCT was provided diabetes supplies at no cost to them. This included insulin, syringes, insulin pump supplies, meters and test strips, etc… everything but food. When you consider how expensive this stuff is it is no wonder that only 5% of PWD can possibly attain and sustain DCCT-like levels of blood sugar control. In this case the Biggest Loser actually does provide the food but also the high tech gym and equipment, swimming pool, trainer etc.
Finally, DCCT patients in the intensive treatment group all got monthly visits to the diabetes doctor and weekly calls from the diabetes nurse to make constant adjustments in their daily management aimed at keeping blood sugar levels in tight control. Again like the ranch in that the participants meet daily with their personal trainers and make constant adjustments to their exercise routines and diet.
At the end of the season there is a "Biggest Loser" who wins $250,000. At the end of the DCCT -which ended after a decade in 1993, there were some "Biggest Winners". I think each one of us here at TuD gained something from the trial. The DCCT proved that in a select population, given ideal conditions, tight blood sugar control improved quality of life, and aided in the prevention of complications. To me that's worth a lot more than $250,000.