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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help

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Joined: 28 Apr 2012
Posts: 306
Location: India
Concentration: Finance, Technology
GMAT 1: 650 Q48 V31
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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2012, 09:35
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).

Argument:




"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."

Essay:




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


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Re: People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2015, 03:11
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.”

Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.



The argument claims that sugar is better than artificial sweetener aspartame since aspartame can actually contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss. It does not provide any relevant reasons to prove that aspartame causes weight gain . Hence the argument is weak and unconvincing.

Firstly the argument assumes that aspartame causes weight gain. It does not provide any evidence to prove this claim . Weight gain can be due to some other reasons which argument fails to mention. It does not provide any correlation between aspartame and weight gain .

Secondly the argument claims that high level of aspartame have been shown to trigger a craving for food by depleting the chemical of a brain the registers the sense of being full. Without any evidence it is irrelevant to say that this depletion of chemical is occurring due to aspartame. There can be some other factors which causes the depletion of the chemical.

Moreover the argument claims that if sugar is consumed after 45 minutes of exercise then it enhance the body's ability to burn fat. The author readily assumes that the sugar causes weight loss and fails to consider that the 45 minutes of continuous exercise is the reason for fat burn. In addition the author assumes that drinking artificial sweetened juices after exercise will cause weight gain. It does not provide any relevant factor to explain the claim.

Can you please review this AWA?
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People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help [#permalink]

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New post 05 Feb 2017, 10:40
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Hey, nice writing the 1st. Indeed you could have the conclusion a bit shorter and punchier, but that's all. I believe you missed an important flaw: the 1st phrase states that any person replacing sugar for Aspartame are better off with sugar. This statement implies that even people who do it for health causes (and, why not, taste) are better off with sugar. Then the entire development is related to dietary only. So the conclusion is too broad for the premises given.
Yet, i don't know how important is it to identify all possible flaws in GMAT. From the texts i've seen and from my personal experience from a previous gmat i did i'd say you have a 6.

as for the 2nd text, you definitely need to write more. If you try some online platforms you'll notice that word count is one of the key factors.

Here goes my version. it would be very helpfull if someone could provide feedback. according to gmatawa.com it scores a perfect 6. but i dont really trust the platform...

"The argument claims that people should consume sugar instead of Aspartame sweetener on the grounds that Aspartame can contribute to weight gain. Stated this way the argument provides a limited view of the reality by assuming that people only take artificial sweetener for dietary purposes and fails to provide support to defend its premises. The argument is therefore flawed as I further explain below.

First, the argument wrongly assumes that people only take aspartame sweetener for weight loss purposes. It fails to identify many other reasons that can justify such option. For instance, the sweetener may taste different than sugar and may thus be a replacement for people who dislike sugar. It might be the case that the sweetener taste the same as sugar, but such information is not provided and thus cannot be assumed by the reader. Another possible reason that leads people to replace sugar for an artificial sweetener might be health related issues. That should be the case with people with diabetes who should avoid sugar intake but still want a sweet taste in their food or drinks.

Second, although it has been proven that Aspartame triggers craving for food no relation has been provided between craving for food and actual food consumption. That would be an obvious but wrong assumption to make. People who consume Aspartame might be aware of its side effects and thus avoid following their internal instincts to eat.

Third, the argument implies that the consumption of Aspartame after 45 minutes of continuous work-out does not have the same effect as sugar by stating that sugar has such effect and saying nothing about Aspartame. Perhaps it has been proven that Aspartame cannot have that effect or perhaps it has not been studied at all. Moreover, Aspartame may indeed have that effect but the author either does not know or simply foregoes mentioning it. In the end, if the information is not provided, it is impossible to assess the validity of the premise.

In summary, the argument is flawed in different ways thus failing to be convincing. It could have been made more convincing had the author narrowed the conclusion to involve only Aspartame consumption for dietary purposes and provided enough support for the premises."
People who use the artificial sweetener aspartame- Help   [#permalink] 05 Feb 2017, 10:40
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