Casual Argument – Anthony Matias

Since When Are Pills a Major Food Group?

My thesis itself is a causal claim, “multivitamins cause more harm than good,”  and over the past few years studies have provided data that went against common know that dietary supplements are beneficial to ones health. Studies have shown that multivitamins do not prevent cancers or heart disease or any cause of death for that matter. Maybe consumers never expected your vitamin to prevent breast cancer or head off a heart attack. Maybe they just felt that taking one would make them healthier by boosting their immunity or energy level. But research on those benefits is equally discouraging, especially in specialized groups on which people would expect them to have an impact. For instance, a British review of eight studies found no evidence that multivitamins reduced the frequency of infections in older adults. Another study found that the vitamins didn’t decreased fatigue among breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. And city schoolchildren who took a vitamin did not perform any better on tests or have fewer sick days than students who didn’t take one.

Many people are taking supplements despite the information provided by studies. Many Americans have made up their minds that the little pill they take every day or in some cases twice a day will given them enough vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. And this false confidence is causing people to neglect the recommended well-balanced diet which will provide the proper amount of vitamins and minerals needed on a day-to-day basis. Since we, love a shortcut and if a pill can substitute for good diet and exercise, we’ll take it. Customers forget to eat the proper foods that would be better from them, which causes them to look for some sort of alternative. In this case that alternative is a multivitamin whether it works are not, they have been persuaded into believing that the supplements they are taking are working even though there is no hard evidence.

A big advantage that multivitamin companies in persuading their customers is that they can put disclaimers on their products because they aren’t evaluated by the FDA. Which means the FDA doesn’t really to support the manufacturers’ health claims of what the supplement may do for the consumer’s body. For example, the label of a B-complex vitamin supplement may claim to improve your energy, help you think clearly and boost metabolism. Statements of this sort are claims made by the manufacturer, but not tested and confirmed by the FDA. Dr. Tod Cooperman of ConsumerLab conducted tests on a number of dietary supplements to see if the ingredients on the labels matched what was actually in the pill and Cooperman concluded, “there are plenty of rip-offs out there. About one out of every five products Cooperman’s researchers tested failed to pass basic quality standards that include having too much or not enough of the amounts claimed on the package — and sometimes none at all. Others contain dangerous levels of lead or other potentially dangerous ingredients.” So, if this one study found numerous flaws then there is a possibility that there are many more faulty labels out there. Since the FDA doesn’t test the supplements before they go on the market companies are able to manipulate what is on their labels so, they can attract people to buy what they are selling.

It is suspicious that companies that pride themselves on making pills that help people and are supposed to improve health, neglect testing their products tested to see if they are even safe for the consumer. The high concentration of certain vitamins and minerals that many people feel make them feel better or help prevent disease can actually put them at a higher risk of contracting certain diseases or cancers. Many people believe that extra vitamins are just peed out when they aren’t used but this is a huge misunderstanding, it is true that vitamins A and C get peed out because they are water-soluble vitamins but all of the other vitamins such as vitamin B get stored in the fat of the body and can actually cause harm. Many people have acquired the education on multivitamins and think that they are making themselves healthier, without realizing they might be potentially creating problems for themselves in the future.

So, even though multivitamins may seem to be the pill that could solve a lot of health problems but they don’t hold up to the high expectations. People like to be told that they are healthy and that they are fine and will do anything to keep it that way. They fear of being unhealthy and sick drives people into choosing supplements to give them a safety net in case they aren’t eating enough. But in reality it could be a false confidence that could cause consumers into buying the products and not getting any positive side effects.

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One Response to Casual Argument – Anthony Matias

  1. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Anthony!
    P1. Actually, your thesis may be a causal claim, but the sentence you quote is not, since a question can’t be a claim. The claim would be: Multivitamins cause more harm than good. That’s a causal claim. The difference is very important.

    the common know?
    Fails for grammar Rule 13.
    Fails for grammar Rule 12.

    It’s unclear what you mean by “reduced infections,” Anthony. Do you mean improved the condition of existing infections? or do you mean reduced the incidence of infections?

    “Improve fatigue” is an odd phrase. You probably mean “reduce fatigue,” which would be the only way to improve it.

    Except for those details, this is a very effective paragraph. It takes a thoughtful and reasonable approach to breaking the bad news that vitamins might not be very useful. The “maybe they felt” and “found no evidence” and “equally discouraging” are very nice rhetorical touches.

    P2. “Sort of” is my reaction to your first claim. People continue to take supplements mostly because they don’t know the results of the studies, not “despite” the information. They’d have to know the studies to make decisions despite them. You could claim, though, that they take them despite having no evidence that they’re effective. Do you see the difference? It’s exactly what you mean by false confidence.

    everyday means one thing; every day means something else. Know the difference and make the right choice.

    You don’t need to be so judgmental about people. Taking the vitamin isn’t lazy. Failing to exercise might be. Neglecting the diet isn’t lazy, is it? It’s self-indulgent maybe, but that’s different. Remember, you’re talking about your readers here; it’s best not to insult them or preach to them. So include yourself in any accusation: We (in this country; we Americans) love a shortcut. If a pill can substitute for good diet and exercise, we’ll take it!

    Your “in this case” sentence sounds like pure repetition of earlier claims and explanations, Anthony.

    P3. A “big advantage” over what? or over whom, Anthony? The D in FDA certainly sounds as if it should have jurisdiction over drugs, and vitamins sure sound like drugs, so you’ll need to explain in a sentence what’s the difference.

    Fails for grammar Rule 12.

    Who’s the “his” in your quote? The syntax is very confusing. Cooperman didn’t conduct the tests, it seems.

    What is it, a “number of tests,” or “this one study”?

    Your “So if this one study . . . there are probably” points out its own weakness. I’d leave it alone. Consumer Lab sounds legitimate and one in five is significant.

    P4. Wait a second. This doesn’t sound fair at all. Do companies “refuse to have their products tested” if they make something the FDA doesn’t regulate? They may be lucky they’re not regulated, but that doesn’t make them guilty of anything.

    Your “also” claim is of an entirely different category, Anthony. It doesn’t qualify for “also” status at all. If you want to say: 1) pills aren’t guaranteed safe by any authority and 2) even if they aren’t inherently dangerous, taking too much of a “safe” drug is not safe at all, that would connect them. As it is, you haven’t guided us to make that connection.

    You make a surprising, very important, and powerful claim about vitamins being stored in fat, but the rhetoric is a little clumsy. Combine your “Many people believe” and your “It is true” sentences for a more graceful presentation: “While some excess vitamins, A and C, for example . . . ”

    “Many people lack” is you attacking people needlessly again, like “many people believe.” Give your reader the information to correct his misunderstanding without ever accusing him of not knowing. Try language without people in it: the common misconception that excesses get peed away . . .; or, bring it back to “we”: We do ourselves damage taking too much vitamin B because we believe any excess will be peed away.

    P5. Um . . . what’s the deal here? It’s virtually a word-for-word repetition of P4. Absorb the “multi” argument into the “single type” argument. Or make a new argument—a really valuable new argument—that multi-vitamins by their nature almost guarantee we’ll get too much of certain vitamins, because we can’t possibly monitor the doses of all the vitamins in the “multi.”

    P6. Lose both the “sliced bread” and the “Loch Ness” cliches, Anthony. This is not your best rhetorical skill. Just be reasonable, as you were in your introduction: As much as WE like to believe we can find health in a pill, there’s no substitute for good diet and exercise.

    “they fear of being unhealthy”?

    Again, “we” not “they.”

    Positive effects are not side effects. You mean we don’t get any benefits. (But that’s not true. We certainly gain SOMETHING from multi-vitamins: protection against low levels.)

    Overall, this is quite good, and can easily be improved. Please make changes and call me back for another look. Incorporate improvements into your Research Paper too, if that’s appropriate.
    Grade recorded.

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