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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 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.”
The argument above claims that people consuming aspartame instead of sugar are unlikely to lose weight. However, this argument is flawed and lacks some very important key factors.
First, the author states that high levels of aspartame initiate a craving for food. The assumption behind this argument is that people who consume aspartame consume very high levels of the substance. This might not be the case. More detailed evidence about the dangers of aspartame consumption is not given. Therefore, some people consuming small amounts of aspartame instead of sugar may still succeed in losing weight.
Another aspect that needs to be further analyzed is the amount of exercise. One may not even be exercising at all. This makes the fact that sugar consumption after exercise is beneficial irrelevant. The pros and cons of consuming aspartame instead of sugar need to be determined according to specific lifestyles.
Finally, other properties of aspartame and sugar must be studied. There may be other positive effects of aspartame that help people lose weight. On the contrary, there may be other negative effects of sugar. These effects may be indirect. Thus, it is not right to conclude that aspartame hinders the weight loss capabilities.
Due to above mentioned factors, this argument is unconvincing and open to debate. Furthermore, the author’s assumptions do not apply to everyone and are very specific. It could be strengthened if the author gave more detailed information on other effects of these two substances on the human body.