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Sample Response to GMAT AWA Argument Questions

7. 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 article concludes that it is better to use sugar than the artificial sweetener aspartame for those people who want to lost weight. The author uses two reasons to support his viewpoints. First, high levels aspartame will cause people to eat more. Second, sugar can help fat-burning if used properly. These reasons can only tell reader that aspartame has some bad side-effect while sugar has some good effect, but they can't prove that sugar is better than aspartame for weight-control. Therefore, the reasoning is less than sufficient and the argument is not convincing.

In the first reason, author fails to define what the level of amount is “high”. The normal dose of aspartame that people consuming may be very low. If most people use artificial sweetener that contains lower level of aspartame than the one that will trigger a craving for food, then the advantage of consuming sugar no long exists. Moreover, the author didn't mention whether sugar will also contain that chemical. If it is the case, people should turn to the third product.

The second reason is also not sound, because it requires people not to drink until 45 minutes after exercise. This procedure is difficult to follow because most people drink juices immediately after or during excise. If they have to wait for 45 minutes, they may not need drink any longer. Also, the author didn't mention whether the calorie that sugar itself generates is less than the amount it helps to burn. Finally, the article fails to address whether the aspartame's side-effect, if any, is bigger than sugar’s.

In conclusion, the argument is nor sound or convincing. However, if it had included the above mentioned items, it would be more compelling.


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