Can Waist Belts Make You Lose Weight?

The U.S. weight loss industry makes billions every year selling advice and equipment to help people shed their body fat. Some of these products and services are helpful, conforming to the best of nutrition and exercise science. Waist belts, though, are based on common weight-loss misconceptions.

A woman is measuring her waist with a tape measure. (Image: GregorBister/iStock/Getty Images)

Waist Belt Claims

Distributors of waist belts claim that the belts can help you take inches off your waistline. According to marketing releases, the belts do so with a combination of two processes. The constricting belt is said to "compress" fat cells so they take up less space and stimulate sweating to reduce your body weight.

Fat Compression

As with other girdle-like devices, a waist belt might compress fat cells temporarily to give you a smaller waist measurement. Compressed fat cells doesn't mean fewer fat cells, though, and this process doesn't mean you're losing weight. You'll still have the same amount of fat at the end of a session with the belt as you did at the beginning.

Sweating Away Weight

A waist belt on your stomach while you exercise will make you sweat more in the covered area than you would normally. This can help reduce your waistline because you're retaining less water in that area. The lost water weight also can mean weighing less on the bathroom scale. This temporary water loss disappears as soon as you reestablish a healthy level of hydration.

The Bottom Line

No, waist belts will not make you lose weight. They can create a temporary illusion of weight loss that may be helpful for a special event such as a wedding, class reunion or photo shoot. The best benefit of waist belts from a weight-loss standpoint is the "gadget factor" of the device that might motivate you to exercise more because of your new equipment.

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