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Highly amusing, deliberately bogus piece of dietary weight-loss research recently published:
I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
John Bohannon
Filed to: debunkery   
    editor's picks

5/27/15 1:23pm

I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps Weight Loss. Here's How.

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

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.

Other than those fibs, the study was 100 percent authentic. My colleagues and I recruited actual human subjects in Germany. We ran an actual clinical trial, with subjects randomly assigned to different diet regimes. And the statistically significant benefits of chocolate that we reported are based on the actual data. It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research. Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded.

Here’s how we did it. ... (read the rest at the link).

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Nice find :)

Relevant to this topic (trust me on this)

A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving Skills

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A Quick Puzzle to Test Your Problem Solving Skills
-app103 (July 02, 2015, 05:24 PM)
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Fraud and cover-ups at the FDA?
-Renegade (February 16, 2015, 01:31 AM)
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I read something today that reminded me of what you posted there, so I went back and re-read your post and followed the links. Those points you referred to now look like particularly good points, in retrospect.
What I have realised is that it's not just the FDA, but also a system of other government-directed organisations that have been established as the authoritative sources of science on some aspect or other of controlling our lives - and this has implications that I probably had not fully appreciated before.
Putting those points in the context of this discussion thread, we have seen here several examples of "bad science" where research and the scientific method and the peer review process have in some way been abused/corrupted, apparently for the sake of one or a combination of financial gain (e.g., research funding, or business profit) or professional prestige, and there have been alarming - but amusing - demonstrations of how easy it can be to get ludicrously bogus research (e.g., the chocolate diet weight-loss research) published with the stamp of authority in prestigious so-called "scientific" journals, whose editors are seemingly bent on maximising readership (and revenue) rather than paying attention to establishing the veracity/validity and bona fides of the research itself.
These journals would seem to have a sort of "Never mind the thickness, feel the width." approach, where the line between fantastic, eye-grabbing journalism and bone fide research would seem to have been a pretty fine line, at times, and repeatedly crossed (QED).

There has subsequently been what looks like a belated but relatively thorough housekeeping and weeding-out of the discovered bogus/suspect research, with it being retrospectively and publicly withdrawn from publication in the journals by the publishers involved - all of which is well and good. However one hopes that the editorial staff of the publishers concerned acquire/regain their necessary healthy skepticism and don't fall asleep at the helm again. Time will tell though and I for one am not going to hold my breath, as experience indicates that unless a business process is radically changed and improved, then the quality of its outputs will have to by definition continue to be more or less of the same standard as before. (Deming et al).
That is, being "vigilant" isn't going to cut it, as that is not a process step.

Now suppose that some areas of scientific research:

* (i) were declared to be officially the bailiwick of specific, authorised  organisations, and
* (ii) research in those areas was conducted, peer reviewed, and published solely by/through/under the auspices of one and the same supposedly authoritative organisation, and
* (iii) that that organisation was always a pseudo-government organisation, NALGO (Non-Aligned Government Organisation), QUANGO (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation) or similar, having been set up as an organisation to which a government has devolved power at "arm's-length".
What sort of peer-reviewed research outputs could be expected to come from these pseudo-government organisations and what sort of outcomes could we expect from that research?

I'll attempt to answer that question, but first would suggest that we reflect on what US President Eisenhower said about government and science/research, and why:
"The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."
- from Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961.

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So, let's look at some examples where it seems that these supposedly public-serving organisations have in fact been serving political and/or corporate objectives and to the detriment of their public service:

1. The FDAs (Food & Drug Administrations): (add into here @Renegade's points on the FDA, above)

* The US FDA: has apparently recently come out and retracted its longstanding sanctioning of all those manufactured and hyrdrogenated vegetable oils/fats that were supposedly such healthy alternatives to the deadly animal fats and dripping, or something. Most of those manufactured oils were apparently not what does a body good, after all. Oh, and by the way, contrary to what we said, animal fats and dripping are also really good for you! What a surprise! (NOT).
Outcome: A huge and unknowable loss in human health/life and medicare costs for the general public in many countries where the FDA advice to ingest the toxic fats rather than the safer and non-toxic fats was adhered to. A huge win for the corporates and medical insurers. The manufactured vegetable and other oils scam effectively created an enormous worldwide market that must have netted the manufacturers billion in profits, over the years. Presumably a new scam/market will be required now.

* The NZ FDA #1: From memory, so the details may be a bit sketchy, I recall reading some old copies of The Spectator from the '80s/'90s that showed investigative reporting that the NZ FDA had apparently succumbed to corporate pressure and allowed the label "Just Juice" to misleadingly market a heavily-sweetened juice as consisting of pure juice, or something. Though their juices contained no added sugar per se, the NZ manufacturer apparently had a surplus of apples and was able to manufacture sugar out of apples, producing an odourless, tasteless and colourless solution of high-concentration fructose (sugar), and at less or equivalent cost to buying raw sugar. They apparently wanted to mix this into their juices and label it as "with apple base" and imply or state that it was unsweetened or contained no added sugar (i.e., implying it was a "pure" juice). The product still seems to be available in supermarkets today, still with its misleading labelling re the undisclosed fructose additive. Just juice it ain't.
Outcome: A financial win for the corporate, and a loss to the public. The FDA effectively sanctioned the hoodwinking of the consumers, denying them the right to have true and honest labelling, so they ended up buying the stuff thinking it to be a healthy and pure juice, not realising that it was unnaturally loaded with fructose.

* The NZ FDA #2: Again, from memory, so the details may be a bit sketchy, I recall reading some old copies of The Spectator from the '80s/'90s that showed that the NZ FDA had apparently succumbed to corporate pressure and allowed Kelloggs to market their manufactured Cornflakes product as being "nutritious", though a nutritionist might be quick to point out that there is little or no nutritional value in cornflakes. They apparently claimed that by spraying-on riboflavin and iron additives, or something, the product had nutritional value. They apparently gave the NZ FDA an ultimatum - either we are allowed to label it as we want on product produced in NZ, or we take our cornflake production plant to Australia and import it from there, or something. Kelloggs Cornflakes are still sold in NZ, though I am unsure whether they are still manufactured in NZ.
Outcome: A financial win for the corporate, and a loss to the public. The FDA effectively sanctioned the hoodwinking of the consumers, denying them the right to have true and honest labelling, so they ended up buying the cornflakes thinking it to be a naturally nutritive product. (I don't think this would pass muster in the EU though, so it may be a reflection of the immature or "Wild West" nature of consumer rights and protection standards/laws in NZ/Australasia.)

* NZ FDA side note: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the then director of the NZ FDA - Dick Hubbard - (who I think may have also been a food nutritionist) must have recognised that the NZ FDA was unable to operate independently, because he later resigned and in 1990 founded (together with his wife Diana) the company "Hubbards" with the objectives: 1. Make Good Food, and 2. Make A Difference. Hubbards' breakfast cereals and other cereal products are the yummiest I have ever tasted and all are nutritious, and they definitely raised the bar for other cereal manufacturers. He doesn't make any cornflakes. He's a millionaire now, and he continues to make a difference.
Outcome: A big win all round, and some superb and nourishing cereal foods for the consumer, as well as some major benefits for the many disadvantaged people Hubbard targeted for employment in his food-making factories.

2. "Climate" bodies - IPCC (UN), EPA (US), DECC (UK):
The analysis of leaked emails and documents from Climategate (File: was important for several reasons, including:

* (a) It was a timely wake-up call, indicating to the sleeping masses (myself included) that there was something decidedly rotten in the state of Denmark.
* (b) It enabled anyone who wished to analyse and seek the truth and "Find out for yourself" ("Nullius in verba" per the founding motto of the now apparently somewhat discredited Royal Society).
* (c) It enabled the analyst to discover - warts an' all - emails illustrating the extent to which scientivists were apparently engaged in deliberate stochastic lying and obfuscation in the scientific research and peer review process on the subject of MMGW (Man-Made Global Warming, now re-badged as "Climate Change™").
It subsequently became apparent that the motivation for this seeming perversion of science and statistics could be in the desire to push potentially world-changing religio-political ideologies and possibly also the desire to secure further abundant scientific research funding, and the huge profits from the government-subsidised sale of environmentally destructive and capital and land-intensive wind farm and solar cell engineering projects, all driven mostly by the founding Charter of the IPCC, which was based in large part on the de facto assumption of the thesis of MMGW.
For example, the subject was referred to as "The Cause" in correspondence between scientivists at the IPCC, Penn StateU and the UEA CRU.
As if to prove the point, I today came across what would seem to be proof of more of the same, apparently from a Swiss government minister and intended to dupe the Swiss voters: Former Swiss Minister: Okay To Lie About Climate “If It Is For The Good”… | NoTricksZone
Outcome: A political push based on an apparently so far unsubstantiated need (C02 reduction and MMGW), towards a new global taxation and transfer-pricing regime (carbon credits), with sovereignty and economic and political power being transferred to a global unelected government and monstrous bureaucracy. Chalk up a big financial win for corporations profiting from selling the new "sustainable" energy-generation systems, and for corporate sponges, unelected representatives, bureaucratic process and hordes of overpaid "charity" and policy wonks, and a huge financial loss for the taxpaying public who have funded this. A huge, elaborate and expensive charade (for the taxpayer) spanning years, with no real foreseeable benefit so far and electricity being produced by so-called "sustainable" means - e.g., wind farms and solar cell collector systems - at a cost which is apparently "Astronomical" (per Bill Gates recently), and which could never meet the existing electricity/energy demand projections, nor feasibly or cost-effectively replace the cheaper and/or longer-lived fossil-fuelled power sources, nor the hydro-electric or nuclear power sources.

3. The CDCs (Centers for Disease Control):
Now this is the thing that got me to thinking today about the abuse of science and peer review in public services for ulterior motives: Quietly, Congress extends a ban on CDC research on gun violence.
Reading the background, the proposal to do this research would seem to have been politically motivated when it was proposed before, and now, and the decision to shut it down before, and now, would also seem to have been politically motivated.
Outcome: A great big red flashing warning light.
I found the whole thing laughable, but at the same time I thought it rather frightening - the evidence of a political fight over a seemingly remorseless desire for political control, being exercised through the mechanism of the US CDC, a pseudo-government agency providing a valuable public service. This giant nation seems to be at war against itself and its Constitution, and almost everybody else, and on so many fronts.

The US CDC was presumably set up with the same objectives as CDCs in other countries - that is, to conduct studies of disease/sickness and to conduct epidemiological studies, in order to better protect public health. Thus, by no stretch of the imagination could a gun fit the definition of a disease/sickness. If guns were a suitable subject for study by the CDC, then before long there could be a study of automobiles (to reduce death from automobile accidents or to stop them being used in the act of committing crimes), and then there'd be a study of knives, and then psychological studies of (say) religious fanaticism (to reduce death by murderous religious fanatics), and pretty soon it could be thought crimes and the objective would be to stop people from thinking thoughts that were deemed politically incorrect or put them in gulags, etc. We wouldn't even need to think of a plan for this, as we could take the lessons straight from the communist manifesto. A slippery slope indeed.

So the National Geographic is arguably spot-on where it has that moronic propaganda on the front page about "The War Against Science", except that it's the government agencies that could seem to be engaged in a war against the citizens, where Science is the main weapon, and the scientific method and the peer review process are merely tools used in achieving the objective of beating everyone into submission to the conventional elite/political wisdom. This is what Eisenhower was warning about in his prescient farewell speech. It is hostile political force, and some people (not me, you understand) might say that the US would seem to be a prime offender at it, actively pushing some other countries to go in the same direction as well, through the UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO and other international agencies and trade agreements, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Those same people might go on to say that, looking at all this from a global perspective, it doesn't seem to make too much difference whether one submits to (say) the domination of the hegemonic religio-political ideology of Islam and joins ISIS, or submits to the secular US hegemonic religio-political ideology of political and economic domination, because the choice is arguably pretty much the same - submit or die, and either way you absolutely lose your freedom - but again, I couldn't possibly comment.

Mind you, as my adoptive brother Khaled (a Muslim) would point out, if one had to make the choice between those two systems of religio-political ideology, then one could perhaps be forgiven for being inclined to choose Islam, because Islam categorically has Allah on its side and at least Islam fiercely protects its own and does not subject them to slavery.


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