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Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen-CE. The correct answer choice is (A)

Because replacing saturated with unsaturated fat decreases the risk of heart disease, people can lower that risk by increasing their intake of unsaturated fat. Since the premise of the argument is about substituting one type of fat for another, the conclusion only follows if increasing the intake of unsaturated fat somehow makes people eat less of the saturated type.

As with all Strengthen questions, begin by looking for the flaw in the argument: does the conclusion follow directly from the premises, and if not, what can you do about it? You cannot strengthen an argument without knowing what is wrong with it first.

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. It follows directly from our prephrase.

Answer choice (B): This is your typical Shell Game decoy answer: it strengthens a conclusion that is similar to, but sufficiently different from, the one in the stimulus. The author's argument is not about improving overall health: it is only about lowering the risk of heart disease by increasing the intake of unsaturated fats. This answer choice is incorrect.

Answer choice (C): Even if diet is the most important factor, this does not directly support the idea of increasing the intake of unsaturated fat. The relationship of this answer to the conclusion is too remote.

Answer choice (D): This is another Shell Game decoy answer: the author's conclusion is not about increasing life expectancy. Even if lowering the risk of heart disease decreased mortality, we do not need to justify the benefits of doing so. Your goal is only to strengthen the connection between the premises and the conclusion.

Answer choice (E): First, the author is not advocating a diet that includes very little fat. Second, even if she were, this answer would weaken the argument and not strengthen it.
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I got this question wrong and I am still a bit unsure as to why. I see that I didn't notice the problem with the argumentation. I say the stimulus as a cause and effect stimuli so i was looking to eliminate alt. causes, reverse causes etc. Therefore I chose C. I don't really understand the explanation online as to how the conc. only follows if increasing the intake of one type of fat makes it less likely that they will eliminate the intake of another.
 Steve Stein
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In that one, tha author provides that among people with diets that are high in saturated fat, those who replace the saturated fat with unsaturated fat reduce their risk of heart disease.

Based on this premise, the author concludes that such people can reduce their risk of heart disease merely by increasing their intake of unsaturated fat.

The author seems to miss the point that the risk reduction comes from replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, not just increasing intake of unsaturated fat.

As such, the argument is strengthened if the referenced increase of unsaturated fat leads to reductions in saturated fat consumption, as provided in answer choice (A).

I hope that's helpful--please let me know whether this is clear--thanks!

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Makes sense. Thanks Steve.
 Steve Stein
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Hi A,

Thanks for your response--I'm glad that was helpful!

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Hi PowerScore!

I was writing out why each answer choice was right and wrong for this question, and I got that A was correct through process of elimination, but I was wondering if you could let me know if this reasoning is correct? This is what I wrote out while doing this question:

Premise: Diets high in saturated fat = increased risk of heart disease
Premise: Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat = decrease risk of heart disease
Conclusion: If you eat a lot of saturated fat, you can decrease risk of heart disease by increasing intake of unsaturated fat

A: This answer choice helps justify the conclusion by clarifying that a diet with unsaturated fat will decrease the saturated fat in the diet.
B: This answer is irrelevant to the conclusion because we are concerned with heart disease.
C: This answer is irrelevant to the conclusion because we are not concerned with the most important factor.
D: This answer is irrelevant to the conclusion because the conclusion does not talk about increased life expectancy.
E: This answer somewhat weakens the answer choice by saying that it is difficult to do what the conclusion is saying.

Thank you!
 Adam Tyson
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I would say your analysis is excellent, with the exception of answer E, Caroline. Answer E is irrelevant because we aren't concerned with the ease or difficulty of switching, but just the effect of doing so. Also, answer E is not about replacing one kind of fat with another, but is instead about eliminating fat from one's diet, which is also irrelevant.

Good work!
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I was super off on this question, but I'm having a difficult time figuring out why!

I was between A and E, and I suppose I had very different methods of thinking about why either may be the answer, which is where I think I went wrong (I wasn't thinking about the question correctly, so if any of the admins could help me see where my flaw in reasoning was, I would appreciate it! :-D)

Choice A seemed like the most evidently clear answer, which turned me away from it a little bit. I understand that the introduction of unsaturated fat would mean that, if true, people would eat less saturated fat, which would result in less saturated fat consumption which reduces the likelihood of heart disease.

Choice E, however, seemed like a better option, because I saw it as an expanded way of thinking about Choice A. The stimulus doesn't say that the benefits of eating unsaturated fat itself is what reduces the likelihood of heart disease, so we can't assume that. We only know that diets high in saturated fat is correlated with heart disease. So, as far as we know, whether or not unsaturated fat is present or not in a diet does not have any direct impact on heart disease (its impact is in replacing saturated fat). Thus, I inferred that the less saturated fat, the lower the likelihood of getting heart disease.

So, if unsaturated fat (as far as we know) doesn't have any direct benefits, and it's the absence of saturated fat that's the main focus, Choice E seemed like it did a better job to support the argument. If someone eats less saturated fat along with unsaturated fats, that's not saying much, because you could still be eating an unhealthy amount, but slightly less.

If you are going from a diet with high saturated fat to a diet with little fat, that means whether the "fat" referred to in Choice E is saturated or unsaturated, isn't being consumed in high levels, a greater guarantee than Choice A. However, if this is a difficult adjustment for the average person, replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat (like the stimulus mentions) may be an easier change than quitting cold turkey.

TLDR; I need help understanding why Choice A is better justification than Choice E when eating "less" saturated fat by replacing it with unsaturated fat does not guarantee that the saturated fat won't still be consumed at unhealthy levels. "Less" could mean slightly less or hardly any, but we don't know (which I thought left the argument open for criticism, at least from me anyway :ras: ). Choice E says "very little", which is more explicit in the amount rather than just "less". The lack of ambiguity in the quantitative language used made me think that Choice E was better.

I don't know if I'm just thinking too hard and this is a rather neurotic approach to a straightforward question (because I've been studying for nearly 12 hours straight). I know my reasoning is off somewhere, I just can't figure out where. :')
 Luke Haqq
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Hi riabobiia!

The conclusion to this stimulus is the final sentence: "people who eat a lot of saturated fat can lower their risk of heart disease by increasing their intake of unsaturated fat."

Hopefully this conclusion should have struck you as a bit odd. In particular, it's talking about lowering one's risk of heart disease by eating more. Eating more unsaturated fats doesn't make sense as something that would lower one's risk of heart disease unless that were somehow also paired with eating less saturated fats. But there's nothing in the stimulus that makes that connection. All we're told is about the effects of diets high in saturated fats.

Answer choice (A) makes that connection. If people who eat more unsaturated fats eat less saturated fats, then we have material in the stimulus that connects that to heart disease.

Answer choice (E) doesn't get to that connection. It is about the difficulty of moving from one diet to another, which doesn't really have a bearing on the conclusion. Notice also that it's a comparison about a diet high in saturated fat versus one with "very little fat"--that seems to be a shell game, because the comparison in the stimulus is between saturated versus unsaturated fats.

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