Beets and carrots are higher in sugar than many other vegetables. They are also high on the glycemic index, a scale that measures the rate at which a food increases blood sugar levels. But while nutritionists usually advise people to avoid high-sugar and high-glycemic-index foods, despite any nutritional benefits they may confer, they are not very concerned about the consumption of beets and carrots.
Which of the following, if true, would best explain the nutritionists’ lack of concern?
(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)
Beets and carrots are higher in sugar than many other vegetables.
They are also high on the glycemic index, a scale that measures the rate at which a food increases blood sugar levels.
In addition, they also increase blood sugar levels at a high rate – they are high on the g-index.
But while nutritionists usually advise people to avoid high-sugar and high-glycemic-index foods, despite any nutritional benefits they may confer, they are not very concerned about the consumption of beets and carrots.
This is a fairly complex sentence. Let’s break it up.
Nutritionists usually suggest not to consume high-sugar and high g-index foods.
And that too despite whatever nutritional benefits the foods may have. So, no matter how beneficial foods may be in other ways, if they have high-sugar and are high on the g-index, typically nutritionists advise against consuming such foods.
Yet, nutritionists do not advise against consuming beets and carrots.
Gist: Nutritionists usually suggest not to consume high-sugar and high-g index foods (beets and carrots belong to this group) despite whatever nutritional benefits the foods may have. Yet, they do not advise against consuming beets and carrots.
The nutritionists’ lack of concern is fairly puzzling. On the one hand they claim that foods high in sugar and on the g-index should not be consumed no matter what the health benefits. On the other hand, they are indifferent to beets and carrots consumption.
First instinct: are the nutritionists ‘high’?
We’re looking for a reason for why it isn’t bad to consume beets and carrots despite the red flags. Not able to predict a specific answer. Let’s evaluate the answer choices.
(A) Incorrect. We need to figure out how come nutritionists are not concerned about beets and carrots consumption. Finding out that there are foods that are even worse doesn’t help.
Say a country’s economy is not doing well. And the president of the country is indifferent to the economy. The reason for this indifference cannot be that some other unrelated country’s economy is doing much worse.
(B) Correct. Aha! Now, this is interesting. What would happen if most consumption of beets and carrots occurs in combination with foods that reduce their negative effects? Well, the negative effects would be countered. And what if the negative effects are balanced? Nutritionists would not be much concerned with beets and carrots consumption. It fits. The world makes sense again. Guess the nutritionists weren’t ‘high’ after all 🙂
Here’s another similar story: Sitting long hours in the sun can help you gain vitamin D. However, sitting long hours in the sun also exposes you to harmful UV rays. The harm from UV rays is much worse than the benefits from vitamin D. Yet, even informed people comfortably spend long hours in the sun.
They wear sunblock! Sunblock blocks the UV rays and still lets them enjoy the sun and also gain vitamin D.
(This is a hypothetical example. Please do not use it to load up on vitamin D 🙂
This option also provides similar reasoning. Something is used alongside that counters the negative effects.
(C) Incorrect. The passage explicitly mentions ‘despite any nutritional benefits they may confer’. So, even if an option told us that beets and carrots contain all the nutrients the human body needs, it would not help explain the nutritionists’ lack of concern.
(D) Incorrect. So we learn more about the g-index – how it is calculated. Good to know. However, does this help explain why the nutritionists are not concerned about beets and carrots consumption? Not at all. We also learn that white bread is less healthy than these vegetables. (Well, duh!) However, just like option A, just ‘cause there are worse foods out there does not explain why the nutritionists are not concerned about the consumption of beets and carrots.
(E) Incorrect. First, let’s understand this option precisely. What have nutritionists only recently come to understand? The effect a food has on blood sugar levels helps determine the impact the food has on a person’s health. I.e., if a food raises one’s blood sugar levels, it negatively impacts one’s health. Nutritionists only recently understood this.
When nutritionists understood this relation doesn’t matter. Now that they understand the importance, how come they are still indifferent to beets and carrots consumption? That’s what we need to figure out. This option does not help us resolve the nutritionists’ seemingly puzzling behavior.
Notice the comparisons in the question – in the first statement, and also in option A.