“I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss.”


Does chocolate help weight loss? And can you trust nutrition science news in the media? My answers would be “probably not” and “certainly not”.

Check out this story on how all kinds of media were easily fooled by a recent fake study, eagerly reporting that eating chocolate speeds up weight loss:

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

More Crazy Ways to Lose Weight

Weight Watchers Must Be Joking?

Shocking New Implantable Weight-Loss Device

Inflatable Diet: New Gastric-Balloon Pill

Why You Can’t Trust the Weight Loss Advice of Your Dietitian

Why Calorie Counting is an Eating Disorder


  1. robert
    Now we need someone to pull the same stunt with "drinking water" / "unsweetened tea" instead of fruit juices & fizzy drinks!
  2. 1 comment removed
  3. Eric Anderson
    Reading lots of such "articles" and papers that are weak or as in this case total fabrication.

    Recent articles on how high carb diet increased life span as much as 40 percent calorie restriction is a case in point. Where is the whole article? were amino acids left out? what was the control diet? how might this be appliccable or not to humans?

    Let us all be more skeptical of such unproven claims

    Why have not katavins lived to 120 or more?

    Reply: #4
  4. Lori Miller
    It was a real study that *did* get a real result showing the chocolate group lost more weight. It was just badly done (small group, and the authors looked for lots of statistically significant results, which one of them called "p-hacking"). They said that in such a study, there's a good chance of coming up with something, and it can be down to nothing but luck.

    The point they were trying to make was that the health media is sloppy when it comes to vetting these studies that they enthusiastically report. Even a medical journal published the study without any of the "rigorous testing" the journal purports to do.

  5. Stephen
    Without knowing the sugar content of the chocolate used in the study, it is impossible to judge whether or not this would been enough to raise blood sugar inordinately or kick one out of ketosis. There are good chocolates, low in net carbs, sweetened with Stevia, for example, which are probably fine for those on a LCHF diet.
    Replies: #6, #15
  6. Lori Miller
    It's implied in the article: 81% cacao--the bitter, chalky stuff. 1.5 ounces a day.
    Reply: #13
  7. Stephen
    Yes, but we don't know what is in the remaining 19%: sugar, sugar-alcohols, stevia, etc. Lily's sugar-free chocolate is 55% cocoa and probably LCHF-friendly.


  8. Victor
    This linked article is one of the most informative reports I've read in a while and goes a long way in helping us understand why we so often read contradictory nutritional advice, supposedly "supported by research". As someone mentioned above, it is a real study with real findings... just that the results are meaningless because the sample size was too small and there were other flaws in the experiment design. All this said, I honestly believe that in my personal case (N=1) a small daily dose of very dark chocolate helps me stick with the LCHF lifestyle, and therefore keep my weight under control.
  9. Zepp
    Does this mean that I have force feed my self with bitter low sugar chocklate for no resons? ;(
  10. 1 comment removed
  11. Eric
    I was able to read the paper on half diet on mice!
    Typical of that vegan type research
    Short time few animals and strange percentages with stranger conclusions not supported
    5 percent protein ( so low as to cause the short term results and not a long term human level)

    The 33 and 60 percent protein
    Not reasonable and seemingly
    Designed for an unsophisticated vegan population
    imo junk

  12. Eric
    Dietary protein to carbohydrate ratio and caloric restriction : comparing metabolic outcomes in mice
    Cell Reports ( named to confuse with cell? Or accidentally close name.)
    May 2015
    Tried to paste but look for your self on yahoo r science daily ( both have lots of junky articles)
  13. Murray
    81%? How cloying. I just broke into a package of Slitti Cacao Pregiati 100% from Tuscany. Once one's taste buds are weaned from added sugar, chocolate needs no sweetener. No more than coffee needs sugar or stevia. However, you will there is immense variability in the quality of different chocolates once the flavour is not masked by sweeteners.
    Reply: #18
  14. Eric Anderson
    Solon-Biet et al. Dietary protein to carbohydrate ratio and caloric restriction: comparing metabolic outcomes in mice. Cell Reports, May 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.05.007

    Here is the link to the article.

    The author and his group have published several papers with his"Method" indicating protein is not good for longevity.

    Again 5% or 33% or 60% protein are IMO not good to use and not relevent for HFLC or ketogenic diets.

    Why? ask yourself or try to ask him.
    JUNKY science IMO

    Why not research where the U is in the curve for these macrounutrients and what are the trade offs ?? 6 weeks or 6 months for stunted growth and lowered fecundity that over a few generation has no viable offspring? Think Potingers cats

  15. Jane
    I think the point of the article is that the sample size is so small and the chance of p <0.05 so high is a large number of variable that ANY conclusion is nonsense. The jelly bean cartoon at the end illustrates how people try to dissect such results to draw the conclusion that they want.
    It doesn't matter about the percentage of cacao or if stevia was used. The experimental design is too poor to extract any meaningful conclusions.
  16. Michelle
    Chicken and egg problem.

    Did corrupt science beget stupidity in the media, or was corruption in the media what created and fed the beast of stupid science?

    Theologians are boastful and nobody likes them, but are journalists and scientists any less boastful than religious type of persons?

    Stupidity is associated with professionalism, regardless of the profession and the worldview.

  17. Eric Anderson
    Are carbohydrates NEEDED? Other than small trace amounts that can be found in eggs, organ meats and cheese the evidence suggest carbs are not a requirement.

    Look at the example of Augustus Owsley Stanley and his over 50 years as an adult eating little else but meat eggs and cheese.

    Look up the evidence for yourself EJCN (2013) 67, 789-796
    Diets of less than 20 grams of carbs per day show Blood glucoses of 65 to 80 and ketones 7/8 MM Insulin 6.6 to 9.4

    Stanley believed that the natural human diet is a totally carnivorous one, thus making it a no-carbohydrate diet, and that all vegetables are toxic.[17] He claimed to have eaten almost nothing but meat, eggs, butter and cheese since 1959 and that he believed his body had not aged as much as the bodies of those who eat a more "normal" diet. He was convinced that insulin, released by the pancreas when carbohydrates are ingested, is the cause of much damage to human tissue and that diabetes mellitus is caused by the ingestion of carbohydrates.

    Stanley received radiation therapy in 2004 for throat cancer, which he first attributed to passive exposure to cigarette smoke at concerts,[18] but which he later discovered was almost certainly caused by the infection of his tonsil with HPV. He credited his low carb diet with starving the tumor of glucose, slowing its growth and preventing its spread enough that it could be successfully treated despite its advanced state at diagnosis

  18. erdoke
    Coffee needs heavy (double) cream, not sugar or other sweetener. ;o)
  19. Eric
    I like heavy cream BUT not drinking it gives me better control of glucose and ketones. Try and see. Better cream than no hflc,
    Reply: #21
  20. Eric
    Watch the uctv video on sugar
    Seems the artificial sweeteners can cause problems with insulin sensitivity.

    As posted before by others sugar or artificial
    Sweeteners can be eliminated and not needed.
    Like all carbs the addiction or preference can be beat

  21. erdoke
    I do not aim for continuous ketosis while still averaging 60 g (total) carbs for my 100 kg/220 pound body weight (6'7" athletic type).
    The daily dose of 200 ml heavy whipping cream I put into my 2 cups of coffee adds 5.8 g carbs, but 70 g of fat. I would guess it is LCHF even with the 1.4 g sugar and 11 g fat the chocolate represents that I usually have with the coffee.

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