Sometimes some news seems too good to be true, and that was the case with a falsified study by John Bohannon, Ph.D.
The mastermind behind this study was a website misleadingly named as “The Institute of Diet and Health.” This while fiasco was planned by Bohannon and colleagues as a way to show how the media can sometimes get fooled by false claims.
“Chocolate with high cocoa content as a weight loss accelerator,” despite being published in a rather shady journal knows as the International Archives of Medicine, was gobbled up by reporters around that world.
Some of the outlets that ran this story were The Huffington Post, Daily Mail, The Times of India and more. This goes to show that sensationalist stories, like about nutrition, are often quickly accepted with little to no scrutiny on the reporter’s part.
There was an actual study, but the study had intentional errors that would quickly be obvious to any scientist.
An example of these would be the small sample size of 30 people, along with biological data that will often be inconsistent among such a small group.
This isn’t the first time Bohannon tested the integrity of Scientific Journals. While working for the Science journal, he said that almost half of his intentionally erroneous papers were ran by a “peer-reviewed” journal, raising some serious questions. Hopefully, journalists become more aware of the threat of junk science.