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.
The TL;DR of the article is that "p-hacking" is a very easy way to lie with statistics. He shapes the data to favor the 'fact' "Eating Chocolate causes weight loss", publishes the data in allegedly "peer-reviewed journals", creates a snazzy website that supports the claim. A few months later, he finds his data across the diet industry.
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.
With our 18 measurements, we had a 60% chance of getting some“significant” result with p < 0.05. (The measurements weren’t independent, so it could be even higher.) The game was stacked in our favor.
The article is more about how "fee-charging open access journals" are ruining academic journalism. And how easy it is to get a "scientific-sounding" website make absurd claims that get gobbled up by the media. Furthermore, his fake institution was not checked (he only made a website called the Institute of Diet[/url], and he was never contacted about his paper (leading him to believe that the "peer review" process is broken in those journals)