Another scientific hoax — dark chocolate this time

This one is different from the global warming/climate change hoax. The study is real it just doesn’t establish what it claims.  The study wasn’t done to fool people about the benefit of chocolate. Rather, it was done to show how easy it is to fool people and to expose how studies can be conducted to look like the results are sound when they are in reality just nonsense.  The authors of the study always intended to reveal the hoax and in the meantime if some people were fooled into thinking chocolate was really good for them at least they probably enjoyed eating it for a while.  Nobody ever said chocolate was bad for you, it just isn’t a way to lose weight. Sane people probably know that anyway.

Some links:

Sting operation shows how full of crap health journals when it comes to dietary studies. They did this by turning John Bohannon into Johannes Bohannon (obviously) and creating a website for The Institute of Diet and Health, which isn’t actually a thing. Then they conducted a very real study with three groups: 1 group eating a low-carb diet, 1 group eating their regular diet, and 1 group eating a low-carb diet and a 1.5oz bar of dark chocolate daily. After running background on the groups, conducting blood tests to correct for disease and eating disorders, and hiring a German doctor and statistician to perform the study, away they went. The results?

Onneken then turned to his friend Alex Droste-Haars, a financial analyst, to crunch the numbers. One beer-fueled weekend later and… jackpot! Both of the treatment groups lost about 5 pounds over the course of the study, while the control group’s average body weight fluctuated up and down around zero. But the people on the low-carb diet plus chocolate? They lost weight 10 percent faster. Not only was that difference statistically significant, but the chocolate group had better cholesterol readings and higher scores on the well-being survey.

Bam, results! Not just results, but results the media would absolutely love to sink their idiotic teeth into. The problem? Well, the method for running the entire study was bullshit.

I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss — here’s how.  It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

This is terrible news, I’ve been gorging myself with dark chocolate covered almonds all morning.

I couldn’t find the piece in Shape Magazine (maybe they took it down) The Huffington Puffington Post got in on the action too: 17 reasons you should eat chocolate, which links to the study printed in ScienceNews.org, but that site has taken coverage of the “study” down and replaced it with this: Attempt to shame journalists with chocolate study is shameful.  I’d say Bohannon just gave journalists the rope and they hanged themselves with it.

I guess this is kind of reminiscent of the Sokal Hoax.

I hope I don’t break out in zits from all the chocolate I’ve been eating.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Archives

%d bloggers like this: