'Fat-melting' undies under fire for being 'pseudo science'
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Commercial ads for a popular brand of women's underwear, which claim to melt fat or reshape the body using infra-red energy, are the subject of a complaint to the Therapeutic Products Advertising Complaints resolution panel.
Dr Ken Harvey from La Trobe University has questioned some assertions in the underwear ads as "pseudo science" and "ludicrous".
South Australian company Brazcomm Imports distributes Scala Shapewear undergarments and claims that the underwear contains "ActiveBioCrystals" that "emit Far Infra Red" energy rays.
According to the ad, the rays kick-start what is known as the BioPromise effect.
One ad says this can reduce signs of cellulite and melt fat away.
Brazcomm imports managing director Dr Tim Nielsen said that more than 500,000 sets of the items have been sold in Australia, and that the popularity and success of the product was testament to its effectiveness.
However, Dr Harvey, who was awarded the Choice magazine consumer champion award of 2012, is unconvinced.
"It's classic pseudoscience with words that look like they might mean something," News.com.au quoted Dr Harvey as saying.
"It's ludicrous," he said.
In his complaint, Dr Harvey claims that the ads contain statements that cannot be verified, and likely to mislead, exploit the lack of knowledge on the part of the consumers.
Dr Harvey concluded by saying that he could not find scientific evidence on medical databases to substantiate terms used in the ad like BioPromise, Biocrystals and Far Infra Red Rays.
"None of this stuff has ever been written about scientifically," he said.
"It's clearly pseudoscience designed to give an extra sales gimmick," he added.