Can Caffeine-Infused Underwear Help You Lose Weight?

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Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And the truth is, people can get so desperate to find an easy way to lose weight and inches (in certain places) that they'll pay good money on some pretty nutty products. For example, some women will shell out for "super underwear" infused with caffeine that's supposed to help melt the pounds away, and uses special fibers that supposedly squish the cellulite right out of you.

Those claims, made by two companies, were fiction (of course), and because of truth in advertising laws, eventually that sort of marketing comes back to haunt companies that use it.

And that's why Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America will between them pay more than $1.5 million in refunds to consumers who bought their allegedly caffeine-infused, cellulite-squishing undergarments, and both companies have agreed to stop "making false and unsubstantiated claims about their shapewear," the Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

Norm Thompson's supposed miracle product was advertised as being "infused with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol, and other ingredients" that could reshape the user's body and reduce cellulite. They were sold for between $49 and $79 a pair under the Lytess brand by mail order, and through various other websites including Sahalie, Body Solutions, and Body*Belle.

While the company cited supposed scientific studies, the FTC said the studies were not scientific, nor did their results support the claims. Apparently just pouring a cup of coffee on your underwear would get the same results.

Wacoal sold its iPants for between $44 and $85 a pair with the idea that their "Novarel Slim nylon microfibers with embedded microcapsules containing caffeine" would destroy fat cells, slim the wearer's body and chase away that evil cellulite. Same deal here: The FTC said the company had no evidence that its product could do what it claimed.

Norm Thompson must refund $230,000 in purchases. Wacoal has to refund $1.3 million, the FTC says.

"Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest 'weight-loss' brew concocted by marketers," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said. "If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear."

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