Judging from the prevalence of fast-selling gadgets and gizmos that promise quick weight loss with little to no effort on your part, a significant portion of the U.S. population is obsessed with weight loss. But of all the types of clothing that make weight loss promises, only a couple actually help you to burn fat.
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As the Medline Plus article "Tips for Losing Weight" points out, establishing a caloric deficit by reducing your calorie intake or increasing your activity levels is the only proven, safe, long-term method for weight loss. Comfortable workout clothes make it more likely that you'll continue working out regularly and thus burning fat. They fit comfortably and don't bind at your joints, allowing plenty of room for you to move freely. The best workout clothes also wick sweat away from your skin to help keep you comfortable and dry, and offer adequate insulation if you're working out in cool weather.
The harder you work out, the more calories you burn and the more fat you lose. Burning 3,500 calories more than you take in is equivalent to losing a pound of body fat. Wearing a weighted vest as you walk forces your muscles to work harder to move the extra weight, thus burning more calories and burning fat faster than working out without the vest. Weighted vests can increase your calorie burn, they're only effective when you're using them to work out, and the results will be directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into the exercise: Work out only a little bit, and you'll get only a little bit of benefit.
Considerations and Warnings
Sometimes, clothing manufacturers make claims about their products' fat-burning qualities that are misleading or downright dangerous. Consider the following examples:
Some sauna belt manufacturers claim that their product -- a heating pad that wraps around your waist -- will cause you to break a sweat and burn more calories with no extra effort on your part. Although wearing a heating pad around your waist may well cause you to sweat -- and burn you, if you wear it for too long or against your bare skin -- there's no scientific evidence to back up the weight loss claims.
Sauna suits follow the same principle on a full-body level, encasing you in a suit of rubber or plastic. The sauna suit contains your body heat, causing you to sweat profusely. This may result in a quick weight loss, but it's due to losing water weight through sweat, not burning fat. As soon as you rehydrate your body, the weight comes right back on. The extra heat inside the sauna suit can increase your body temperature to potentially dangerous levels, posing a risk of injury or death.