Caffeine-Infused Shapewear for Weight Loss? Give Us a Break, FTC Says


Can an undergarment with the right ingredients help you lose weight? Nope.

This one made us laugh a little bit this morning. What will they think of next? The FTC today announced it has settled charges with two clothing retailers who marketed their “shapewear” undergarments as helping consumers lose weight. While today’s shaping undergarments are no doubt little miracles that give the illusion of a slimmer frame, it’s hard to imagine that customers actually believe that a pair of bike shorts, tights, or leggings can help them lose actual pounds or reduce cellulite. Well, apparently, some did, because the FTC says it has ordered the companies to pay more than $1.5 million in consumer redress.

Both companies, Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America, claim that their shapewear is infused with caffeine and other ingredients that enable customers to reduce thigh and hip measurements, cellulite, and weight if worn eight hours a day, five days per week, for 28 days. A sampling of the claims: the caffeine in the shapewear “metabolizes" and "dehydrates" fat cells and "stimulates" the breakdown of fat.

Although the companies had studies supporting these claims, the FTC called the studies “flawed” and the results exaggerated, rendering the advertising claims unsubstantiated and misleading.

As part of the settlements, FTC consent orders prohibit the companies from any future claims that “any garment that contains any drug or cosmetic causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size. In addition, the companies are prohibited from making claims that any drug or cosmetic reduces or eliminates cellulite or reduces body fat, unless they are not misleading and can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence,” the agency says.

 “If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear,” advised Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the FTC announcement today. “The best approach is tried and true: diet and exercise.”


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine



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