A 2003 study revealed that cinnamon may help improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. The study’s subjects, who were given cinnamon supplements for 40 days, showed significant decreases in levels of glucose, triglycerides, and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Nevertheless, similar studies conducted more recently have had inconclusive results.
The statements above, if true, provide the most support for which of the following conclusions?
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(A) Cinnamon contains antioxidants, which are known to help prevent heart disease.
(B) Cinnamon may help kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
(C) Trials on the benefits of cinnamon have been too small in scope to provide meaningful results.
(D) It is unclear whether cinnamon actually benefits people with Type 2 diabetes.
(E) There are no known disadvantages to taking a cinnamon supplement.
Identify the Question Stem: The question stem asks you to find an answer choice that is supported by the statements given in the question stem and refers to the answer choices as conclusions. This is an Inference question.
Deconstruct the Argument: A study was done in 2003 on people with Type 2 diabetes. They took cinnamon supplements and had some really positive health results. But other similar studies were inconclusive.
Pause and State the Goal: On Inference questions, your goal is to find an answer that must be true, given the information presented in the argument. A common trap answer on Inference questions is something that might or could be true based on that information—but it does not have to be true.
Work from Wrong to Right:
(A) The disease discussed in the argument is diabetes. The answer choice references heart disease. It’s great that cinnamon can apparently help people with heart disease, but this conclusion cannot be drawn from the specific information presented in the given argument.
(B) The information given does not provide any support for claims about bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
(C) The information given does not address why some of the studies had inconclusive results. It is possible that they did not ask broad enough questions, or test broad enough hypotheses, or even enroll enough people in the studies. But other explanations are possible; for example, it might be the case that cinnamon actually doesn’t have measurable benefits for people with type 2 diabetes and that’s why the results were inconclusive.
(D) CORRECT. One study showed positive results but other similar studies were inconclusive, so it’s unclear whether cinnamon really does have positive benefits for those with Type 2 diabetes. Since the results of the one study weren’t replicated by the similar studies, it’s possible that there was some other cause for the positive outcomes seen, not the cinnamon supplements themselves.
(E) The argument talks about some positive results in one study but does not address whether there were any negative results in any of these studies. This might be true, but it does not have to be true.
The correct answer is (D).