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FTC Stops Ab Machines

The Federal Trade Commission announced that manufacturers of belts that send an electrical impulse into the belly muscles must stop advertising that the devices build muscle and get rid of fat.

United Fitness of America and Tristar Products, Inc., agreed to stop promoting the "Fast Abs" belt as a weight-loss and muscle-building tool. They spent $12 million on half-hour television spots, to make their ad one of the most aired infomercials in the country. Muscles contract when your brain sends an electrical impulse down nerves. Muscles also contract when an electric wire sends electrical impulses over muscles. However, there is no data to show that using electrical impulses can enlarge muscles and get rid of fat the same way that exercise does. The Federal Trade Commission states that "Devices like this aren't going to turn a beer belly into six-pack abs without diet or exercise."

New York Times, July 24, 2003

Checked 8/31/08

May 11th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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