Speed Reads

He blinded me with nutrition science

Sorry, chocolate probably won't help you lose weight

Red wine is good for your heart. Coffee will make you live longer. And chocolate will make you lose weight. Maybe. Or maybe not.

Headlines touting the next great health benefit of our most beloved foods are a familiar (and welcome) part of the internet news cycle. But too often, the actual science behind these studies leaves much to be desired. At least that's what John Bohannon tried to show when he released a study late this spring claiming that chocolate can help you lose weight. While he did actually perform the study, he himself knew it was bunk science, as he wrote recently in io9.

The study was purposely poorly designed and was published in a 'pay-for-play' publication that doesn't peer review. While thorough reporting would have uncovered these errors, what followed instead was universally positive, gushing coverage of his 'findings,' proving Bohannon's actual thesis: that reporting on nutrition science can slip by with little verification when journalists are too willing to believe the sensationalist claims in newly published studies or press releases (an issue The Week’s Ryan Cooper covered in regards to the much-maligned Chipotle burrito).

As needed as that lesson may be, it can't help but break the hearts of those of us who were ready to reap the waist-whittling benefits of a Hershey's bar.