The title may fool you into thinking this film is about a newfangled chocolate-based diet plan. It’s really about the potential (and realities) for hoaxes and PR conspiracies within the medical community and the impact such falsehoods have on the public.
The full, complete and ‘truthful” title is “The Chocolate Diet: A Scientific Hoax Goes Viral”.
The Chocolate Diet investigates how the multi-billion-dollar weight-loss industry systematically buys scientific research and uses it in its favor. Results based on questionable short-term studies find their way into respected publications and motivate physicians to prescribe such diets to their patients.
When the film’s producers publish their own study, which is so absurd no one should take it seriously, they realize the extent to which people will believe anything that claims to be scientific.
CBS News reported “Eating chocolate every day can help you lose weight? If it sounds too good to be true — that’s because the chocolate diet study that made headlines around the world last year was all an elaborate hoax.”
The hoax concert masters explained “Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a ‘statistically significant’ result. Our study included 18 different measurements — weight, cholesterol, sodium, blood protein levels, sleep quality, well-being, etc. — from 15 people. (One subject was dropped). That study design is a recipe for false positives….We didn’t know exactly what would pan out — the headline could have been that chocolate improves sleep or lowers blood pressure — but we knew our chances of getting at least one ‘statistically significant’ result were pretty good.”
NPR reported “From India to Australia and Texas to Germany, news organizations shared findings published in the International Archives of Medicine in late March. The problem? The study they were based on was pure junk. And the person behind it, John Bohannon, would be the first to tell you that.”
In an interview conducted by Gizmodo, the secret lie was further exposed “I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.”
It was only a question of time before everyone believed that chocolate was the best weight-loss accelerator!
53 minutes / 2017 / German, English and French w/English subtitles / A film by Diana Löbl and Peter Onneken
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