Can Eating Chocolate Help You Shed Pounds?

Chocolate Surrounded by Barbwire

Sometimes, fads pick up a lot of steam. Weight-loss books, online programs and gym routines have taken a semi-chocolate-centric approach to dieting, and news sources persist with the substance’s appetite-cutting effects. Sure, it might sound too good to be true, but is it? Several claim chocolate is a delicious dieting alternative.

Who Said It.. and What Makes Them An Expert?

This spring, an International Archives of Medicine journal published Johannes Bohannon's study pertaining to chocolate and fat loss. According to the regurgitated material, Germany’s Institute of Diet and Health conducted research on individuals eating dark chocolate while dieting. Their results suggested increased fat loss when chocolate consumption was a constant, daily factor. It may seem a little unbelievable - and for good reason. It was a hoax.

Reporting and Lack of Online Credibility

Unfortunately, the Institute of Diet and Health isn’t an actual institution. In fact, it’s a web page. Like many others, it had engaged trending material to promote a new, exciting fad. Lead study author and researcher, Johannes Bohannon, is actually John Bohannon — a scientific journalist. While the study was based upon real people, and stemmed from a real clinical trial, it wasn’t directed towards chocolate’s health benefits.

Instead, the study served the community by testing health reporters, determining whether they could determine false news, unproven experiments, and unsupported research. According to Bohannon, the pseudoscience surrounding modern fad diets isn’t caused by medical journals, scientists or community research, but the reporters spreading “results and findings”. While reporters simply regurgitated the institution’s findings, many readers remained skeptical and open-minded. Within the journal’s comments section, many posed questions reporters should have asked, shedding light on the entire experiment’s lackluster recording methods.

While big-name nutrition news articles may be fun to read, be careful. They aren’t always reported through credible sources, and when credible sources do run the story, they may not have read it or doubled checked the research. In this case, the study consisted of only a few people with a lot of variables which was the perfect storm for allowing others to draw false conclusions. So, always question anything that seems too good to be true. It probably is.


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