As the chorus of voices mount against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) bogus study on the number of deaths attributable to obesity, some key researchers might as well go on a new diet: eating crow and humble pie. In particular, the University of Alabama’s David Allison told The Wall Street Journal that measuring obesity-attributable deaths “is an evolving science.” That’s quite an admission for Allison, considering that the erroneous 400,000-deaths figure was based entirely on his own flawed methodology. The Journal also reports that new research on the obesity-mortality link may deal obesity-hypers a knock out blow.

According to the Journal’s Betsy McKay, who broke the story on the significantly overstated 400,000 estimate last month, researchers from the CDC and elsewhere believe that the original figure may have been exaggerated by more than 200,000 deaths:

Critics of the study say the estimate was inflated not just by the statistical mistakes the CDC acknowledged last week, but also by the authors’ scientific approach. The number of obesity-related deaths could be less than half of the 400,000 estimated in the flawed CDC study, according to some scientists familiar with the debate.

The Journal also reports that “scientists still can’t conclusively answer many basic questions about the health effects of being overweight or even offer a precise definition of ‘obesity-related death.'”

Despite the growing body of evidence against the exaggerated 400,000 figure, there are still a few researchers who adamantly refuse to admit that obesity might not be as deadly as previously thought. North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) President Louis Aronne told the Journal: “I would argue, gee, maybe they’re underestimating it.” Well gee, maybe that’s because Dr. Aronne earns his living working on anti-obesity drugs (click here, here, here, and here.). Or maybe its because NAASO is supported by the very same companies that make those obesity drugs — companies that are driving public fear of the “obesity epidemic” to boost their bottom line.