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FTC further girdles caffeine claims

The FTC cracks down on caffeine-infused underwear.

Yes, the federal crackdown on caffeine continues. And to some with extra junk in the trunk and a problem saying “no” to Starbucks pumpkin spice extravaganza, this round is far more troubling than previous.

Two companies’ claims of the powers of caffeine-infused shapewear to trim fat has the Federal Trade Commission’s knickers in a twist—for good reason, reports NPR.

Wacoal claimed its iPant, which look like bike shorts, cause fat loss and a reduction in body size by releasing caffeine throughout the day as you wear them, thus “mobilizing fats” according to the ad. The Norm Thompson company marketed its version with claims that the undies "reduce the size of your hips by up to 2.1 inches and your thighs by up to one inch, and would eliminate or reduce cellulite and that scientific tests proved those results."

Alas, these claims are false with no scientific backing.

“Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "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."

Sad, because marrying lingerie and caffeine seems like far more fun. Imagine the potential for a line of Spanx by Starbucks? Victoria’s Secret could be pumpkin spice!

For some, wishful thinking may be more powerful than scientific data. NPR notes this Amazon review for the iPant:

"I have worn my iPant shapers every day for about 1 month, and my skin is definitely smoother. In fact, my husband even noticed that my thighs are smoother and thinner!!!"

The FTC has ordered the companies to stop marketing the garments and pay $1.5 million, part of which will be used to reimburse customers who bought the caffeinated skivvies. They can use the cash to buy Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Meanwhile, research keeps rolling in supporting the powers of caffeine, including the compound’s ability to boost mood and performance and decrease dementia.

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