Body Wraps And Waist Wraps:
The Difference Between Losing Fat And Losing Inches
By Tom Venuto, NSCA- CPT, CSCS
"Body wraps" have been around for ages in the weight
loss and spa industry. Claims include loss of body
weight, loss of body fat, and loss of inches.
Infomercials for rubber “waist belts" are also back
on TV and similar claims are made for these types of
wraps as well.
What few people realize is that there is a huge
difference between losing fat and losing inches. When your body fat decreases,
your circumference measurements will usually also
decrease, but “fat” loss and “inch” loss are not one
in the same.
If you don’t know how to tell the
difference, you could be falling for one of the
oldest, most notorious fitness and weight loss scams
in the book.
The truth is, body wraps and
waist belts do not shrink fat cells or burn body fat
- no matter what type of wrap is used: bandages,
plastic, foil, vinyl, or rubber and no matter what
you are wrapped in: herbs, minerals, enzymes,
seaweed, clay, or mud - it doesn't matter, body
wraps and waist wraps don't burn fat, period.
Fat can only be lost with a caloric deficit from a
reduction in food intake, an increase in activity or
ideally, a combination of both.
Whenever you see fat loss claims for wraps or any
other product which doesn't involve nutrition or
exercise, the “scam alarm” should go off in your
head, and you should always stay away, no matter how
compelling the sales pitch.
Furthermore, the companies making fat loss claims
would be in hot water with the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) if they were investigated and
caught because claims for body fat reduction from
wraps cannot be supported with scientific evidence.
The FTC as well as numerous state attorney general's
offices have already taken action against body wrap
companies in the past for false advertising and
unsupported claims. Some companies simply had to
stop making false claims, others had to pay stiff
fines as well.
The problem, from a legal and ethical standpoint, is
the claim being made. Remember, "inches" and "fat"
are not the same thing.
Some types of wraps can definitely take off inches
(for example, they might reduce the circumference
measurement of your waist, hips, arms and legs), but
it's temporary and it's not fat, its water weight
Suppose this claim is made in an advertisement:
* Lose Up To 15 inches in 1 Hour! *
This is legal advertising because the claim "lose
inches" might be supportable (if enough
circumference measurements are taken with a tape
measure at enough sites, that might add up to a
total of 15 inches in circumference loss)
However I believe that these types of claims are
misleading (and probably intentionally so), because
"inches" is not the same as body fat but the product
vendors know that you might easily confuse "inches"
Contrast that claim with this one:
* Lose Body Fat without diet or exercise in 1 Hour!*
That claim is totally false and scientifically
Again, body wraps cannot burn fat or "shrink fat
If fat loss could be achieved with body wraps, it
would be very easy to test and prove.
Body composition (body fat) testing (rather than
measurements of inches) could be performed before
and after the wrap, and the answer ("does it work")
would become easily exposed.
Since it doesn't work, you won't find any wrap
people accepting your challenge to allow you to do
independent body composition testing, nor will you
find a shred of scientific evidence showing
reduction of bodyfat from wraps.
Unfortunately, bogus fat loss claims are still quite
widespread, as a simple Internet search for "body
wrap" will demonstrate. The most frequently used
claims however, are for loss of "inches."
The inches lost simply come from loss of fluid. And
guess what - those inches (and or water weight) will
come right back in days if not hours, as soon as you
completely re-hydrate yourself.
Other claims made for body wraps include
detoxification, improved circulation and tighter,
smoother and clearer skin. Most health and fitness
researchers, as well as government agencies such as
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will tell you
that these claims are "debatable" and mostly
Some experts even warn that certain types of wraps
can be dangerous, mainly due to the rapid and
excessive fluid loss/dehydration.
If you want to get wrapped because you find it
relaxing or you consider it a "spa-like" treatment,
that's one thing. Just remember, wraps have
absolutely nothing to do with fat loss.
I'd suggest completely avoiding any companies that
advertise fat loss when it's only water and inches
you're losing, because a dishonest company is one
you don't want to patronize at all.
One last thing – this is a timely subject because
although "body wraps" have been around for ages and
it's old news, I noticed that infomercials for
"waist belts" or “sauna wraps” are back on TV in
force and I see that they are replaying the ads over
and over again, which means people are buying it.
Everything I just said about body wraps also applies
to those rubber waist belts too.
On a web search I just did for those rubber belt
waist wraps, I noticed some of the websites are
STILL making claims like "Melt fat" (totally bogus,
unsupported and illegal claim).
Other sites seem to be wary of the FTC paying them a
visit, so they do a whole song and dance around the
legal issues by saying stuff like, "sweat away
inches," "therapeutic heat", "target your problem
areas" and so on.
Even if these claims are not illegal, the promotions
are still deceptive:
The professional fitness model is pictured taking
off the rubber belt, revealing ripped six pack abs
below... as if those abs are a result of wearing the
belt! Wishful thinking! These are professional
models, folks. They got the abs the same way
everyone else with abs got them - with a calorie
deficit from a combination of strict diet and hard
Wraps and waist belt products that make fat loss
claims are scams, plain and simple. Buyer beware.
About Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, a certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book in Internet history, "Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle.” Tom has written hundreds of articles and been featured in IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. For information on Tom's Burn The Fat e-book, visit
www.BurnTheFat.com. To get Tom’s FREE monthly fitness newsletter, visit his home page at www.TomVenuto.com. You can read Tom's Bodybuilding Blog at www.BodybuildingSecrets.com.