Reader Jenna sent me a link to an article that brings a whole new meaning to The Underpants Rule and has one of the best first paragraphs I’ve ever read:
“If you purchased caffeine-infused underwear because of promises it will make you thinner, federal regulators say you were hoodwinked — but at least you can get your money back.”
As I researched this story today I found that a lot of people used it to take cheap shots at people who have been made so absolutely desperate to lose weight by a society where there are very real negative consequences for not fitting a stereotype of beauty that they bought the shapewear, hoping that the promises were true.
Let me start by pointing out that the research shows that there is no intentional weight loss method whose long term success is more than a few percentage points better than caffeinated underpants. Weight watchers own research shows that the average client loses 10 pounds, then gains back half of that by the second year. Then they stopped asking which is probably because research shows that most people gain it all back (with many gaining back more than they lost) within 5 years. We’re currently seeing a trend of two year studies that finally admit that every single participant regained weight, but claim that it’s ok because they are still lower than their starting weight – conveniently forgetting to mention that they’ve given themselves a three year cushion.
In fact, caffeine infused underwear might well be safer than dieting since you may avoid messing up your metabolism and levels of grehlin and leptin. Plus you can take the undewear off, unlike dieting which leaves the body in a biologically altered state well after the diet is done. Not to mention that the underpants simply won’t change your body size, unlike dieting where you are most likely to lose weight in the short term and gain it back in the longterm which, when done multiple times opens people up to the dangers of weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting.)
So instead of asking why people would choose to wear caffeinated shapewear (or shapewear at all…) why not ask why people laugh at caffeinated underwear as a weight loss attempt because it has a 0% success rate, while recommending methods that are only a couple percent more effective with major downside risk? People are allowed to do what they want with their bodies but we need to start giving people honest information about the (very low chance of) long-term success and the rate of downside risk. The FTC has taken another step by taking measures against the companies that lied about the effects of caffeinated underpants, but there are lots more steps to take.
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22 thoughts on “Caffeinated Underpants for Weightloss?”
Here’s the part that really bothered me: “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.”
Instead of telling people (the few who read ABC News, that is) to “steer clear” of ridiculous weight loss promises, stop allowing companies to make ridiculous weight loss promises?
As stupid as caffeinated underwear sounds, at least it doesn’t cause heart failure, liver damage, anal leakage, or the host of other horrific side-effects of so many weight-loss products. It will only cost you your wallet and a bite of your self-esteem, both of which you can get back.
All the same, I’d rather save the money to pay some of my bills and keep my self-esteem in place, thank you very much.
While I’ll be happy to ridicule the product as silly, ineffective, and slightly deranged, I have nothing but sympathy for the people who are made desperate enough by our fat phobic world to try them out.
Besides, as pointless, desperate weight loss efforts go, at least the dangers associated with it are fairly negligible.
A good summation, Twistie.
Nope. No matter how many times I say it, I just cannot wrap my head around this.
You are all missing the point. Does this actually provide constant caffeine to your system? If so, where do I get them.
I was thinking the exact same thing since apparently IV drips of caffeine are not recommended and my dentist would really like me to cut back on soda (I hate the taste of coffee and energy drinks are even worse).
Two words: black tea!
I was thinking the same thing. I don’t care if they make my ass smaller, I just want them to get my ass in gear when I’ve got no time for coffee in the morning.
My son commented that he was surprised ThinkGeek didn’t sell these, solely on the marketing gag of, “We’ll caffeinate ANYTHING!”
ThinkGeek has carried some rather bizarre caffeine themed products over the years. Then again, they’ve carried plenty of bizarre products over the years, period. That’s why it’s fun to shop there.
I shall be the one to jump on the grenade here and make the obvious digression.
I’m surprised they didn’t sell caffeinated underpants as an alternative to viagra. After all, how many people turn down an after-dinner cup of coffee because, “it’ll keep me up all night.”
After all this time, we’ve finally found out what Step 2 was.
*Lady Rhapthorne does the Caffeinated Underpants Dance*
Underpants Gnomes, you’re secret is finally out!
For serious. That graphic is the perfect thing to accompany an article about caffienated underpants.
(Unrelated except underpantswise, as the RPG Dragon Quest really does have a special move called “The Underpants Dance”… I think future editions should consider including an upgrade called “The Caffeinated Underpants Dance.” Not sure what it would *do,* though… because its real-life inspiration does absolutely nothing.)
“The Caffeinated Underpants Dance” would be just like “The Underpants Dance,” only more twitchy!
Caffeine suppositories exist, but not as part of underpants. An Orthodox Jewish friend told me that some people use them to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches while fasting on Yom Kippur.
Also, I’ve seen coffee-scented soap in Korea. Maybe it wakes you up in the mornings.
I’ve actually used coffee-scented soap. But it was part of a delightful coffee-scented bath products set someone gave me for Christmas once. One of the very few sets of scented products I’ve actually been able to use. I’m very sensitive to perfumes, so it’s really rare to find something that doesn’t make me choke, but the coffee worked just great and made me feel good every time I used them.
There was soap, body wash, and bubble bath. Mmmm… coffee.