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Beware of Weight Loss Underwear

Tim Boyer's picture
Weight Loss Underwear

Forget about having to swallow a capsule or drink a shake to lose weight. According to the Federal Trade Commission, two companies tried - and succeeded - into conning consumers that you can wear your weight away with a special type of underwear.


According to a Federal Trade Commission news release, at least two marketing companies - Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters - conned consumers into buying bras, girdles, and a variety of other shapewear or slimming-wear garments that allegedly were infused with caffeine. The claims made by the marketing companies were that just by simply wearing their special brand of underwear, the wearer will lose weight and have less cellulite.

More specifically, the Norm Thompson company sold underwear to unsuspecting consumers made with a Lytess brand fabric that had been infused with caffeine, which the company claimed would result in weight loss by breaking down fat. The Wacoal America company enticed consumers by claiming that their line of underwear contained microcapsules of caffeine, vitamin E and other chemical compounds that they claimed would also result in weight loss.

Apparently, these companies innovated a new twist to the green coffee bean extract weight loss bandwagon that had recently been discounted due to a recent finding that the study’s results were based on fraudulent data.

While such claims seem like business as usual in the weight loss industry, in the eyes of the FTC the two companies took it a little too far. What got the FTC’s attention specifically was that the company’s shapewear was advertised to:

• Eliminate or substantially reduce cellulite

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• Reduce the wearer’s hip measurements by up to two inches and their thigh measurements by one inch and “…without any effort,” such as added dieting or exercise.

The problem with this kind of advertising it that it goes beyond typical weight loss hyperbole and strayed into direct claims that are not true or substantiated by scientific evidence—even the bad kind. Therefore, the two companies were in direct violation of the FTC Act.

According to the FTC’s news release, “Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear. The best approach is tried and true: diet and exercise.”

Both companies are ordered to discontinue marketing their apparel with weight loss claims and must reimburse customers approximately $1.5 million total in refunds.

For more about weight loss fraud, here is information about a fraud involving a popular French weight loss drug that killed and harmed thousands of users.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Reference: FTC news release― “Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America Settle FTC Charges Over Weight-Loss Claims for Caffeine-infused Shapewear”