Seriously.. Were You Fooled By Another Fad Diet?

Chocolate Surrounded By Barbwire

A few months ago, the headline “Slim by Chocolate!” ricocheted amongst online media sources. A team of German researchers launched the latest, and most ridiculous, fad diet to date. Results claimed that individuals on a low-carb diet lost weight 10% faster when they ate a chocolate bar every day. Overweight lovers of chocolate treats were ecstatic. Even Europe's largest daily newspaper, Bild, published the story on the front page. With bloggers worldwide pumping out rewrites and pinning social media posts, it didn't take long for the good news to reach the United States.

According to scientist and author, John Bohannon, Ph.D., a study conducted at the Institute of Diet and Health, chocolate not only accelerated weight loss in participants but it lead to healthier cholesterol levels and overall well being. Wow.. what a break through. No longer would dieters have to fight hunger pangs and cravings for late night sweets - just chow down on chocolate bars and lose weight faster. It sounded too good to be true but a quick Google search proved that the story was being carried by major media outlets around the globe, so it must be true. But it wasn't and media professionals took the bait - hook, line, and sinker.

As it turns out, the Institute of Diet and Health wasn't an institute at all. It was a website that Bohannon had constructed to advance the "less than scientific" results of a staged study. Truth is, if you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed that you can garner the statistical results you want. Eighteen different measurements, such as weight and cholesterol levels, were taken for 15 people. This was Bohannon's secret ingredient and a recipe for a trunk-load of false positives.

Once again - "if it sounds too good to be true" - it probably is!



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