Ab-Belt Scam: Quick Way to Lose Your Cash Not Your Belly

Have you ever been taken in by one of those too-good-to-be-true belly flattening infomercials? You’re up late at night and you start to seriously contemplate ordering one of those ab-sculpting electric gizmos? They promise that you’ll sculpt your midsection with electric currents without even breaking a sweat. Well before you dig into your wallet, you have to ask the question: do they actually work as advertised? 

These portable padded devices fit around your waist, a switch is thrown and an electrical current supposedly zaps the fat right away within minutes. The company pitchmen and pitchwomen proudly claim that you won’t have to break a sweat or do any crunches and sit-ups. Nothing is required but to sit back and watch more television. As one brand promised, “You will lose up to 4 inches in 30 days–guaranteed!”

Since the FDA maintains that the ab belts are “medical devices,” they must be tested “safe and effective” by the agency before they can be sold to the public. Yet few companies do. As Jim Brown, editor of the Georgia Tech Sports Medicine and Performance Newsletter and a health education Ph.D., explained in an interview with Slate.com, “electric stimulation can help you make the kind of tiny improvements that matter when your muscle, because of some injury, is so weak that you’d have to start out with baby steps.” But, he says, “If there’s nothing wrong with you–other than that you’re lazy–in order get a real benefit, you’d have to put so much current through your body that you’d get fried.’”  Another ab-belt study by the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, concluded that “test subjects using the belts experienced no significant changes in weight, boy-fat percentage, strength or overall experience.” The researchers added, “Not only was electric muscle stimulation ineffective, but it was also painful.”

If you want rockin’ abs, there is no substitute for diet and exercise like sit-ups and crunches. You should try working out while balancing on a physio or Swiss exercise ball that forces you to tighten your core or midsection. Exercises like this will help do the tummy-tightening trick

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