Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

It is legitimate to market tight-fitting or figure-enhancing garments as offering short-term loss of girth and the temporary appearance of weight loss. However, loss of girth must not be portrayed as permanent or confused with weight or fat reduction (Rule 13.12).

Neither the ASA nor CAP has seen evidence that garments, such as textured shorts, girdles and body sculpting underwear, can result in weight or fat loss, or that they can improve tone by increasing body temperature, perspiration level or resistance.

In 2012 the ASA considered that claims that a garment could “melt away toxins and fat” and that one could “Lose up to 5 inches from your waist and hips” and "Drop a dress size instantly” would be understood to be weight or fat loss claims, and because the advertiser did not provide sufficient evidence to support the claims, the complaints were upheld (8 London (International) Ltd, 28 August 2013, Celu-Lite Ltd, 22 August 2012)

Similarly, in 2013 the ASA upheld a complaint about an ad for leggings which stated, “SlimTech technology which is designed to accelerate fat loss” because it considered that consumers would understand that evidence was held to demonstrate that the product could work in this way. The ad was found to be misleading because the marketer was unable provide the ASA with sufficient evidence to support the stated claims (Debenhams Retail plc, 17 April 2013).

More recently, in 2020 the ASA considered advertising claims that a ‘Fat Freezing & Inch Loss Belt’ would “freeze stubborn fat cells which the body then expels naturally” and told users that they could “Lose inches in a few weeks without changing your diet or exercise, spot target areas you want to lose weight from like stomach, thighs all at home”.  In that case the advertiser failed to respond to challenges of efficacy and was therefore unable to substantiate the claims (L(A)B Life and Beauty, 16 December 2020).

See Weight Control: GeneralWeight Control: Obesity Weight Control: Cellulite and other “Weight Control” entries

Also see Guidance on the level of substantiation expected in health, beauty and slimming claims.

More on