zaggora-hot-pantsZaggora HotPants (and similar products like Delfin Spa Bio Ceramic Anti Cellulite Shorts) employ the overarching marketing theme “wear our shorts for a slimmer, less cellulite-ridden you.”   Based on my observations, I believe many of Zaggora’s claims are leading and loosely worded which leaves the consumer with unrealistic expectations of what the product can actually deliver.

Remember that marketing is unilaterally intended to do one thing: sell product.   The favourable aspects of the product are highlighted while inconvenient truths are often downplayed or omitted.   I’ve always been of the mindset that consumers should receive full disclosure so they can make an educated decision in their purchases. I have no problem with consumers purchasing Zaggora Hotpants provided they have both sides of the story.

What are bio-ceramic shorts?

Zaggora Hotpants™ are the latest in a long line of slimming garments which, according to company marketing materials, are “specially designed sports shorts that contain bio-ceramic technology, which emits far infrared rays and reflects back the heat naturally generated by the body to deliver warming up of tissue deep below the skin’s surface.”   Zaggora maintains this will “visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite” and trim inches off your hips and thighs, with the effect further enhanced by wearing them during exercise.   This sounds impressive, but is there any merit to these claims?

Zaggora marketing claim:   Bio-ceramics emit far-infrared rays (heat waves) promote deeper warming of tissue and breakdown of fat cells.

Response:  The concept of ‘spot reduction,’ selectively stripping fat off specific areas of the body, remains unproven.  The phrasing of this marketing claim gives me the impression that simply wearing bio-ceramic shorts will reduce fat under the skin.   The heating of the muscle may alter the regional fluid compartment which might temporarily give the appearance of slimmer hips or thighs, but this should not be mistaken for fat loss.

Zaggora also claims that the effects will be enhanced by wearing the shorts while you exercise.  However, this also seems to be “wishful shrinking.”  A recent study by Kostek et al. (2007) investigated the impact of exercise on regional fat depots measured by both skinfold thickness and MRI technology.  The salient finding was that the less accurate skinfold method seemingly showed differences in local fat stores, but this was not reflected in the comparatively more accurate MRI scan.  The authors noted that exercise likely induces a “pumped up” effect in muscle which temporarily makes the skin tighter, resulting in a reduced skinfold thickness (with no change in fat tissue).

Zaggora marketing claim: Wearing HotPants “…results in much higher levels of perspiration leading to “flushing out” of toxins and edemas that contribute to the appearance of cellulite.”

Response:  It may be true that HotPants result in a greater level of perspiration which, as mentioned above, could plausibly alter the skin surface appearance.  However, this should not be misconstrued as “melting away the fat.”   This is not that different from the concept behind those old 1970s vinyl “sweat suits” which reduced scale weight mostly in the form of fluid loss.  I am unaware of any scientific evidence to date supporting the notion that you can sweat away fat localised to one part of the body.

Zaggora does not mention which “toxins” the shorts purportedly address (though I’ve got an inquiring mind and I’d certainly like to know).   The “eliminating toxins” scare tactics have always made consumers easy prey and sadly far too many fall for it.

Zaggora marketing claim:  Wear HotPants for “…30 minutes a day while you are doing exercise and you will feel and see the results – visibly reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Response:  There is no mention of how the “30 minutes a day” recommendation was determined.  The mention of “studies” confers a a scientific stamp of approval.  However, Zaggora does not provide the reference or a link where the results can be independently verified.  The burden of proof should be on the company to conclusively verify that the product does what the marketing states.

Zaggora marketing claim:  “Whilst studies have shown they (shorts) are effective whilst not exercising, best results will be achieved when worn during a workout.  HOTPANTS™ delivers best results when used in conjunction with exercise and worn consistently. The effectiveness of the product depends on the quality of your exercise routine and the consistency of use. The harder you work at it, the harder HOTPANTS™ will work at it.”

Response:  This claim uses the “cause and effect vs. coincidence” marketing strategy which is very common amongst questionable slimming products.   You should be aware that doing exercise, no matter what kind of shorts you’re wearing, is clearly a step in the right direction and will have an influence on overall body fat stores.   ‘Exercise’ your critical thinking skills by separating cause and effect from coincidence.  It is more likely that you lost fat (and scale weight) from your daily walks, hard work in the gym, non-exercise activity time, and healthy eating (cause and effect) while you just happened to be wearing HotPants (coincidence).   Unfortunately, many consumers unwittingly surrender the credit for all their hard work to the latest slimming garments, dietary supplements, or questionable infomercial gimmicks like the Ab Circle Pro (which comes with a low-calorie diet).

Zaggora marketing claim:  The bio-ceramics contained in the HOTPANTS™ material, contain far-infrared reflective particles, enabling the reflection of body generated heat back into the tissue.  Far-infrared rays are widely used in sauna equipment and have been proven to reduce body fat content and assist with weight loss in obese patients.

Response:  There is limited evidence that far-infrared saunas may help alleviate some cardiovascular conditions, but there is scant to nil scientific evidence that it can effectively reduce body fat stores.  The research at this point is speculative and inconclusive at best and warrants further investigation.   Moreover, it is stretching the truth to extrapolate results from sauna studies and apply them to bioceramic garments which have not been independently and conclusively shown to reduce body fat stores.  As previously mentioned, a reduction in thigh or hip circumference likely stems from localised alterations in the fluid compartment, but do not constitute fat loss (which may coincidentally occur due to exercise).

Zaggora marketing claim:  “What if it doesn’t work for me and I want my money back?  We are happy to accept returns of unworn and new items within 30 days of purchase. Naturally, if the goods are faulty, we will exchange them. Sadly, we cannot accept returned goods that have been used on health and safety grounds.”

Response:  I’m not quite certain this is much of a guarantee.  You’d want to try out the shorts and see how you go, but once they’re worn, you can’t return them?  I understand the health reasons for this, but my interpretation of this is that if you’re not satisfied and you want your money back, then that’s just tough luck.  Something of a catch 22.  Though if I’m missing something, I’m certainly open to correcting this.

The “bottom line” (pun intended)

The cellulite game is a billion dollar market and it seems every week there’s some new gadget, potion/pill, diet, or gimmick with “fat marketing claims” looking to separate you from your hard-earned cash.   I believe the marketing claims surrounding Zaggora’s HotPants are spurious but definitely not the worst I’ve seen.  The marketing is heavily “suggestive” and tends to blur the line between what consumers might expect from exercise alone versus exercise in conjunction with wearing the shorts (cause and effect vs. coincidence).   Greater disclosure and transparency with scientific evidence would be helpful, though to the best of my knowledge, I am unaware of any research articles which conclusively support the efficacy of the shorts for reducing fat on the hips or thighs.

Zaggora also appears to be heavily invested into social network marketing (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) which tends to lend itself well to what I call “validation by testimonial.”  While testimonials might be compelling, they are not scientific, further adding to the difficulty in verifying how “results” were quantified.  I’ve seen images on the internet of women measuring their thighs over top of the HotPants, but any “girdling effect” the shorts may provide could plausibly give the appearance of a reduction in girth where in fact there is none.

In conclusion, I would discourage you from purchasing this product based on scant to nil independent evidence of efficacy.   You would be better served investing your time and money into regular exercise and healthy, nutrient-rich eating – both of which have been shown to boost metabolism, reduce weight, and improve the appearance of “cellulite.”   Despite our desire for easy fat loss, the old adage still holds: If it appears too good to be true then it probably is.