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

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