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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help

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Senior Manager
Senior Manager
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Joined: 28 Apr 2012
Posts: 308
Location: India
Concentration: Technology, General Management
GMAT 1: 650 Q48 V31
GMAT 2: 770 Q50 V47
WE: Information Technology (Computer Software)
Followers: 16

Kudos [?]: 251 [0], given: 142

People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help [#permalink] New post 24 Jun 2012, 08:35
This is my first attempt to write a GMAT Essay. Though I could write something, I am a little skeptical about my abilities to match the GMAT standards(to get a 6/6).


"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 body’s 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."


In the context, the author opines artificial sweetener aspartame is not an effective substitute for sugar, for the people who are consuming the sweetener as a dietary regulation to reduce weight. The author supports the argument by citing two separate studies, as examples, on the substitutes and ultimately concludes the ineffectiveness of aspartame over sugar. However, the cited reasoning is poor in terms of wholesome consideration and the author’s assumption is a generalization drawn on no solid evidence. The following flaws are debatable.

Firstly, the author says, based on some unknown finding, high level of aspartame triggers craving for food. What if the craving for food is due to certain chemical common in both sugar and aspartame? In that case, both of these would result in similar level of craving for food. The author cites no counter-effects of sugar. Furthermore, the author talks about people under dietary regulation. In such case craving for food doesn’t mean excessive eating and adding extra pounds. The people might be well within the limits.

Secondly, the author speaks about another study where sugar has been found to be supplementing body’s ability to burn fat in a certain circumstance and hence draws conclusion that aspartame consuming people will lose this benefit. But the author cites no study of counter-effects of aspartame. Like the earlier example, this evidence is also drawn on false assumption that since one is good, the other must be bad. What if aspartame helps to burn the fats in a rate two times that of sugar? There is no reference or statement regarding effects of aspartame in similar circumstances.

Additionally, the author mentions no demographic details about the test sample and entire population. If the target audience of the message is in the age group of 20-30 and the test results are based on the age group 60-70, then the conclusion drawn would be vague and misleading. The body metabolism and response to nutrients is different for both the cases.

In conclusion, since sugar and aspartame are not explicitly stated to have mutually exclusive chemical composition and to be polar opposites, this cannot be assumed in drawing conclusions about one based on the studies of the other. The author repeatedly does the same mistake in both examples, hence fails to strengthen the argument lacking substantial evidence. The argument can be strengthened by providing test results of both aspartame and sugar under same test conditions for the same purpose. Else, if the author holds any assumption about complementary effects of the two, this must be cited in the context with appropriate evidence and references. Finally, the author must mention about the test sample and target audience relevancy in doing the same.

After I wrote this essay, I referred some other essays and tips. And now I am confused with following doubts:

    I missed a flaw regarding "dietary regulation" in the conclusion and misstated it as "dietary regulation to reduce weight
    I addressed "the author" instead of "the argument"
    I have used two similar what-if structures and two more if clauses
    My strengthening points are not in the flaw paragraph, but in the conclusion paragraph. This I did because both the major flaws had same root cause, but I am not sure how it impacts score.
    My conclusion paragraph is too lengthy than other paragraphs.

Additionally, please let me know my area of improvement.

I have always been a descriptive writer and cutting it short is really a big thing.
And I am having trouble to keep my words simple.
Reading too much is not good always. :(

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
― Voltaire

Press Kudos, if I have helped.


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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help   [#permalink] 24 Jun 2012, 08:35
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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help

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