Below is part of the sample persuasive research essay we looked at in its entirety in class on April 16th.  Please note:

Jeanne Waller
Expository Writing 2 -- Westman
Persuasive Essay -- Revision
November 27, 2001


Diet Pills: The Miraculous Weight Loss Formula?


            If you have ever considered losing weight, you have probably heard of the various kinds of diet pills available. Diet pills claim to "melt away the fat." They sound like the perfect solution to shed a few pounds, but research tells a different story. Diet pills became popular in 1996. The most common ingredients were Redux and fenfluramin/phentermine, which posed as appetite suppressants. The pills seemed to suck up the fat, and people were losing anywhere between 25-50 pounds in months. The FDA no longer approves the use of Redux or fen/phen, but new ingredients have made diet pills just as popular. An herb called ephedra is currently the most common substance in diet pills. Ephedra is still available for over the counter distribution, but the FDA is researching the side effects. Many cases of heart diseases and strokes have been linked to the herb. The use of diet pills is not recommended, but the advice does not stop many Americans. Diet pills are dangerous and should not be taken. The pills should be avoided because they do not provide a safe or effective way to lose weight, cause heart valve disease and other complications, and are used as a replacement for physical activity.

[Jeanne next offers a paragraph with evidence and explanation for her first stated reason. Within this paragraph, after providing a topic sentence and further exposition, she introduces and tags her evidence by identifying the profession and source of the quotation, increasing her own credibility as an author on this subject:

Christine Haller, M.D., a medical toxicologist, was interviewed about herbal weight loss for an article in Health magazine. The article notes, "In Haller's opinion, the risk far outweighs the potential benefit. When people ask her if they should try ephedra, she responds with a question of her own: 'Do you want to lose 10 pounds that badly?'" (Gower 72).

After completing her argument for her first reason, Jeanne then offers two paragraphs with evidence and explanation for her second stated reason. She then provides the following paragraph for her third reason: ]

            One last reason to avoid diet pills is because they are used as a replacement for physical activity. Many people use diet pills as their last resort because nothing else has allowed them to lose weight. Popping a pill in one's mouth sounds so much easier than working out at the gym. However, research indicates that physical activity is essential to good health in many other ways than maintaining weight. A Report of the Surgeon General in 1996 states,

Regular physical activity improves your health and well-being by: improving health related quality of life, reducing the risk of dying prematurely, promoting psychological well-being, decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety, helping to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, helping with weight management, assisting in increasing HDL cholesterol and decreasing the risk of colon cancer, lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, aiding in the control and prevention of diabetes, and decreasing the risk of dying from coronary heart disease. ("Physical Activity")

As little as 30 minutes of physical activity every day can lead to all of the above benefits. Weight loss is only one of the many benefits of physical activity. There are many other important benefits that only come with consistent exercise. When people take diet pills they usually have little or no exercise in their lives, which means that they don't get any of the other benefits of physical activity. Diet pills users often see rapid weight loss without exercising, so they quit exercising at all. The dieters don't realize how important exercising is for other body functions. The pill users are so excited to lose weight that they don't notice the negative affects diet pills have on their body. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many health complications, so it is important to stay active and benefit form physical activity. If diet pills are not the source of weight loss, more individuals will incorporate daily exercise into their lives.

[Jeanne then provides two paragraphs which each introduce, summarize, and refute opposing views - one paragraph for each opposing view and refutation. She then provides the following conclusion with a call to action: ]

           In conclusion, diet pills should not be used because they are not a safe and effective way to lose weight, cause heart valve disease and other complications, and are used as a replacement for physical activity. The "magical" image of diet pills is only an advertisement. There is nothing great or magical about diet pills. The dangerous side effects caused by diet pills prove a general saying to be true: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

[Jeanne then provides a "Works Cited" list for her outside sources.]

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