You may have read (and vaguely believed) that dark chocolate is good for you thanks to its antioxidant content — after all, some diets even promote small amounts of chocolate as a component of a healthy eating plan. Last month, a study circulated suggesting that eating a dark-chocolate bar daily while on a low-carb diet could actually help you lose weight. The news was picked up by a handful of press outlets.
The people behind that study were a journalist named John Bohannon, who, along with German documentary filmmakers, set out to exploit weaknesses in the scientific process to see if reporters would take the bait; now, on i09, they've admitted it was all a hoax.
As research on their film about how junk science can lead to lots of big headlines, they purposely commissioned a faulty scientific study, had a financial analyst crunch the results, set up a website for the fake Institute of Diet and Health, and listed the lead author as Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. (Bohannon does have a Ph.D., but in molecular biology).Read More »