Q: Dear Tom: What’s the deal with “body wraps”? Do they really shrink fat cells or this just another weight loss scam?
A: Body wraps do not shrink fat cells or burn body fat – no matter what type of wrap: bandages soaked in herbs, minerals, enzymes, plastic, foil, vinyl, seaweed, clay, mud – it doesn’t matter, body wraps don’t burn fat.
And those “sauna wraps” or rubber “wraps” that go around your waist? They can’t “burn” an ounce of fat either.
Fat can only be lost with a caloric deficit from a reduction in food intake, an increase in activity or ideally, a combination of both.
Whenever you see fat loss claims for wraps or any other product which doesn’t involve nutrition or exercise, you could certainly call that a “scam” and you should always stay away, no matter how compelling the sales pitch.
Furthermore, the companies making fat loss claims would be in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if they were investigated because claims for bodyfat reduction from wraps cannot be supported with scientific evidence.
The FTC as well as various state attourney general’s offices have already taken action against body wrap companies in the past for false advertsing and unsupported claims. Some simply had to stop making false claims, others had to pay stiff fines as well.
Some of these products defintely CAN take off inches (for example reduce your waist measurement), but it’s temporary and it’s not fat, its water weight and fluid.
Remember, “inches” and “fat” are not the same thing.
Suppose this claim is made in an advertisement:
* Lose Up To 15 inches in 1 Hour! *
This is legal advertising because the claim “lose inches” might be supportable (if enough circumference measurements are taken with a tape measure at enough sites, that might add up to a total of 15 inches in circumference loss)
However I feel that these types of claims are misleading (and probably intentionally so), because “inches” is not the same as body fat but you might easily confuse “inches” with “fat.”
Contrast that claim with this one:
* LoseBody Fat without diet or exercise in 1 Hour!*
That claim is totally false and usupportable.
Again, body wraps cannot burn fat or “shrink fat cells.”
If fat loss could be achieved with body wraps it would be very easy to test and prove.
Body composition (bodyfat) testing (rather than measurements of inches) could be performed before and after the wrap, and the answer (“does it work”) would become easily exposed.
Since it doesn’t work, you won’t find any wrap people accepting your challenge to allow you to do independent body composition testing, nor will you find a shred of scientific evidence showing reduction of bodyfat from wraps.
Unfortunately, bogus fat loss claims are still quite widespread, as a simple Internet search for “body wrap” will demonstrate. The most frequently used claims however, are for loss of “inches.”
The inches lost simply come from loss of fluid. And guess what – those inches (and or water weight) will come right back in days if not hours, as soon as you completely re-hydrate yourself.
Other claims made for body wraps include detoxification, improved cirulation and tighter, smoother and clearer skin.
Most health and fitness researchers, as well as government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will tell you that these claims fall somewhere between “debatable” and “a bunch of pseudoscientific garbage.”
Some experts even warn that certain types of wraps can be dangerous, mainly due to the rapid and excessive fluid loss/dehydration.
If you want to get wrapped because you find it relaxing or you consider it a “pampering”, “spa-like” treatment, that’s one thing. Just remember, wraps have absolutely nothing to do with fat loss.
I’d suggest completely avoiding any companies that advertise fat loss when it’s only water and inches you’re losing, because a dishonest company is one you don’t want to patronize at all.
One last thing — I felt this was a timely question because although “body wraps” have been around for ages and it’s old news, I noticed that infomercials for those “waist belts” are back on TV and I see that they are replaying them over and over again, which means people are buying it.
Everything I just said about body wraps also applies to those rubber waist belts too.
On a web search I just did for those rubber belt waist wraps, I noticed some of the websites are STILL making claims like “Melt fat” (totally bogus, unsupported and illegal claim).
Other sites seem to be wary of the FTC paying them a visit, so they do a whole song and dance around the legal issues by saying stuff like, “sweat away inches,” “therapeutic heat”, “target your problem areas” and so on.
Even if these claims are not illegal, the promotions are still deceptive:
The professional fitness model is pictured taking off the rubber belt, revealing ripped six pack abs below… as if those abs are a result of wearing the belt! Wishful thinking! These are professional models, folks. They got the abs the same way everyone else with abs got them – with a calorie deficit from a combination of strict diet and hard training!
Wraps and waist belt products that make fat loss claims are scams, plain and simple. Those claims are also illegal.
Programs like Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle are focused on FAT LOSS, not water loss or loss of inches. When body fat decreases, circumferences in inches will also decrease, but “fat” lost and “inches” lost are not one in the same.
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle. Tom has written hundreds of articles and has been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. Tom is also the founder and CEO of the Internet’s premiere fat loss support community, the: Burn The Fat Inner Circle. To subscribe to Tom’s free monthly newsletter, visit www.TomVenuto.com.