The citizens of Forsythe have adopted more healthful lifestyles. Their responses to a recent survey show that in their eating habits they conform more closely to government nutritional recommendations than they did ten years ago. Furthermore, there has been a fourfold increase in sales of food products containing kiran, a substance that a scientific study has shown reduces cholesterol. This trend is also evident in reduced sales of sulia, a food that few of the healthiest citizens regularly eat.
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
In the writer’s argument, he/she proposes that a recent survey shows that eating habits of the citizens of Forsythe conform more closely to governmental nutritional recommendations than they did ten years ago, there has been an increase in consumption of kiran, a substance that reduces cholesterol, and consumption of sulia, a food product that healthy citizens scarcely consume has decreased, meaning that they have adopted healthier lifestyles. While the writer’s claim may be valid, there are certain assumptions within his argument that need to be given more consideration.
First of all, the writer makes the assumption that governmental nutritional recommendations are representative of nationally accepted health standards. In order to gauge the veracity and validity of the writer's claim, we need to take a more meticulous look at the governmental nutritional recommendations and health standards, then proceed to initiate a comparative study to analyze any possible discrepancies between the two. Furthermore, we should also ascertain whether the governmental nutritional recommendations or the national health standards have seen any changes over the past ten years. The above two points are critical to determining the actual health trends of the citizens of Forsythe. If the governmental nutritional recommendations vary significantly from national health standards, or nutritional health recommendations and standards have been altered over the past ten years, then doubt could be cast on the writer's claim. If citizens are following health protocols that were widely approved 10 years ago but have since then been recalled, they may not be as healthy as the results of the survey lead us to believe they are.
Assuming that there aren’t any discrepancies between the governmental nutritional recommendations and national health standards, and nutritional standards have remained constant over the past ten years, the writer still alleges that a precipitous increase in sales of products containing kiran—a substance that scientific studies show reduces cholesterol—is directly correlated to healthier lifestyles. It is rather difficult to place faith in this assumption, because the evidence provided by the writer to support it—responses to a survey—is conditional. The first aspect we should take into consideration is whether the people surveyed are being honest in their answers; secondly, we need further referential evidence to ascertain whether the people purchasing and consuming kiran are people with elevated cholesterol levels; and lastly, there is no mention of any additional side-effects of excessive consumption of kiran. If people aren’t being completely honest in their answers, people with elevated levels of cholesterol are not part of the group of citizens purchasing and consuming kiran, or kiran has potentially dangerous side-effects, then the writer’s claim would lose its grounding and healthy lifestyles may not be as prominent as they are assumed to be.
Lastly, even if all of the above assumptions made by the author are true, there are additional assumptions that need to be examined, for example the decline in sales of sulia. Within his/her claim, the writer mentions that Forsthye has observed a decreasing trend in sales of sulia, which is a food that the supposedly “healthiest citizens” rarely eat. Simply stating that the healthiest citizens rarely eat a certain food does not necessarily make it equivalent to a product that is deleterious to one’s health. Granted that it is not beneficial to a healthy lifestyle and diet, a decrease in consumption of sulia does not mean that people aren’t taking part in or have acquired other injurious habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, over the past ten years. If sulia does not negatively affect one’s health, then the writer’s claim would be unwarranted; if more people have picked up bad habits that could potentially have baleful effects on their health, then there would be more validity in the opposite of the writer’s claim.
Consequently, while the author’s conclusion appears appealing, the questionable assumptions discussed above may deprive it of its feasibility.