Lose Weight With Chocolate?
Science communicator, Jayde Lovell explains flaws in new “scientific studies” that claim dark chocolate increases weight loss…
Chocolate is good for dieting… or is it?
John Bohannon did a experiment which was published all over the world, proving chocolate supported weight loss – a study which was recently proven to be a scam for a German documentary about junk-science in the diet industry.
So what was wrong with the original study? It was a real clinical trial, but it had only 15 people, three groups of five. The experimenters didn’t control for diet, or age, or gender, and they put the participants on a diet for just three weeks. Now we all know if you test small groups of people for a gazillion different things, you’re going to find variations. This is called “p-stuffing” or “overfitting” – where random noise is mistaken for meaningful data due to errors in the experimental design. Good experiments should have just one variable, and carefully control for other variables like gender, age, diet, weight, age, activity levels, and socio economic status. This experiment didn’t bother – and so the data was next to meaningless.
The experimenters then submitted what they called a “ridiculously flawed paper” to fee-paying journals, most of whom offered to publish it in exchange for a small fee. Once it was published, they contacted the media, and voila – the story was picked up worldwide.
Billions of dollars are spent on well-designed studies by government agencies and a few assholes are able to fuck it all up by publishing conflicting studies – and because every journalists likes a story, these stories tend to run no matter how bad they are.
This is why people are so confused about things like whether aspartame is good for your diet (it is), or whether eating eggs is ok for your health (they’re great!), or whether organic food is substantially better for you (it’s not).
I thought this study would stop journalist from printing bullshit science, but no. Just last week I found this article, about a study with only 44 participants.
By: Did Someone Say Science?.
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