Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A few months back, Peter wrote a fantastic post on the Equmen Core Precision Undershirt, which is essentially a girdle for men. Somehow the ridiculousness of the shirt was only exceeded by its popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. Today we bring you an even more impressive product from the United Kingdom - pants which are reported to literally melt the fat off your legs!
The Scala Bio-Fir Anti-Cellulite Pants look like regular tights, but contain crystals which heat up on contact with the skin. Although somehow this heat remains undetectable to the wearer, the Daily Mail from the UK claims that this heat results in "[improved] circulation in the thighs, bottom and stomach, encouraging fat cells to 'melt' into a liquid" (emphasis added). That's right, heat that is so small that you can't feel it, yet is somehow powerful enough to melt your fat cells, while causing no damage whatsoever to muscle or other cells.
Now this might seem a little fantastical, but the Daily Mail includes a figure titled "Now for the science bit" which breaks it down for the skeptics.
Now I'm a bit embarrassed. You see, despite spending the past few years studying physiology, I had no idea that fat cells melted when exposed to undetectable heat/increased blood flow. I guess that means every time I go for a run, or a shower, or put on a pair of warm pants, my fat cells are melting into my bloodstream, where the fat is somehow excreted by my kidneys into my urine. Which explains all those fat droplets in your urine on a hot day.
But what if my skepticism is misplaced and these pants do cause fat cells to melt? Well, that could actually be very bad from a health perspective. Fat cells are meant to store fat, so they tend to do it pretty well and with minimum health risk, especially subcutaneous fat cells in the lower body. However, when these subcutaneous fat cells fill up, or when they somehow disappear (e.g. your pants cause them to melt) fat begins to overflow into the liver, heart, and skeletal muscle, causing all sorts of metabolic problems. This is exactly what happens to many individuals who receive Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy for HIV - they lose fat cells in the arms and legs, causing increased visceral and liver fat accumulation and severe metabolic dysfunction. So if the magic crystals in these pants do somehow cause your fat cells to melt, that could actually be a pretty big health concern.
As far as I can tell, the pants are currently only being carried in the UK, where they are said to be selling like hot cakes. They are being sold by John Lewis for £30 (~$50 USD), although pairs are now popping up on eBay for anyone in North America who is eager to have some magic pants of their own. Personally, if you're looking to spend $50 on your health I'd suggest a pedometer or a terrific book on healthy eating like Food Matters, but that's just my opinion. And if for some reason you desperately want to have pants that cause your legs to heat up, I suggest a nice pair of snow pants, which have been keeping us Canadians warm for centuries.
Hat tip to reader Kate Tolley for bringing this product to our attention.
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