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The following appeared in the health section of a magazine on
trends and lifestyles.
"People who use the artificial
sweetener aspartame are better off consuming sugar, since
aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. For
example, high levels of aspartame
have been shown to trigger a craving for food by depleting
the brain of a chemical that registers satiety, or the sense of being full.
Furthermore, studies suggest that
sugars, if consumed after at least 45 minutes of continuous
exercise, actually enhance the bodyís ability to burn fat. Consequently,
those who drink
aspartame-sweetened juices after exercise will also lose this calorie-burning
benefit. Thus it appears that people consuming aspartame rather than
sugar are unlikely to achieve their dietary goals."
Discuss how well reasoned... etc.
In this argument the author concludes that
people trying to lose weight are
better off consuming sugar than the
aspartame. To support this conclusion the author
argues that aspartame can cause weight gain by triggering food cravings, whereas
sugar actually enhances the bodyís ability to
burn fat. Neither of these reasons provides sufficient support for the
reason that aspartame encourages food cravings is supported by research findings
that high levels of aspartame deplete the brain
chemical responsible for registering a sense of being satedHidden
text (sated, sating ), or full. But the
authorís generalization based on this
research is unreliable. The research was based on a sample in which large
amounts of aspartame were administered;
however, the author applies the research findings to a target population that
includes all aspartame users, many of whom would
probably not consume high levels of the artificial sweetener.
The second reason that sugar enhances the
bodyís ability to burn fat is based on the studies in which experimental
groups, whose members consumed sugar after
at least 45 minutes of continuous exercise, showed increased rates of fat
burning. The authorís general claim,
however, applies to all dieters who use sugar instead of aspartame, not just to
those who use sugar after long periods of exercise. Once
again, the authorís generalization is unreliable because it is based on a
sample that clearly does not represent all dieters.
To conclude, each of the studies cited by the
author bases its findings on evidence that does not represent dieters in
general; for this reason, neither premise
of this argument is a reliable generalization. Consequently, I
am not convinced that dieters are better
off consuming sugar instead of aspartame.