Ah, caffeine, the life force of liquid goodness, the enabler of conscious afternoons, the source of American productivity.
The stuff is so amazing, why not wear it as underwear as a way to lose weight, right? No? Never thought of that?
Well, two companies did, and their claims that caffeine-infused undergarments will help customers slim down attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. On Monday, the companies settled complaints from government regulators, who said they'd engaged in deceptive advertising.
Under the settlement, Norm Thompson Outfitters would pay $230,000 in consumer refunds, and Wacoal America would pay $1.3 million, according to the FTC. The agreements will be open to public comment until Oct. 29, after which the FTC can make the settlements final.
A message left at Norm Thompson Outfitters headquarters was not immediately returned, and a spokesperson for Wacoal America said the company cannot comment on pending litigation.
An ad appearing in Glamour described Wacoal's iPants as being made of "microfibers with embedded microcapsules containing caffeine to promote fat destruction," according to the FTC complaint. Descriptions elsewhere, like hang-tags on the products themselves, included similar claims, the FTC said.
The complaint against Norm Thompson includes catalog descriptions of Lytess cellulite-slimming shorts, which claim that they're made with micro-capsules containing caffeine and other ingredients that can result in their wearers losing two inches off of their hips and one inch off of their thighs in less than a month.
"As it is massaged into skin, caffeine metabolizes fat cells," one description read, per the complaint. The complaint also included an endorsement from Dr. Oz, who has surfaced before in an FTC complaint.
The FTC alleges that inch-shedding and cellulite-smoothing claims are not backed up by legitimate science, and that both companies made claims that relied mostly on two clinical trials "with significant methodological flaws."
"Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest 'weight-loss' brew concocted by marketers," 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."
Diet and exercise? Ugh, fine.
It's still cool to drink caffeine though, right?