Real Life Logic: Sugar Is Sugar

I was watching TV the other day when I saw this ad. Obviously, since I’m a gigantic LSAT nerd, my mind immediately jumped to the various ways that the argument presented is flawed. Check it out for yourself, think about it a little bit, and then compare your notes to mine after the jump!

The ad is very clearly hinting at some kind of conclusion that corn sugar is “good”, or at least “not bad”, though the particular way that we arrive at that conclusion is somewhat nebulous. What the commercial tells us, though, is that “your body can’t tell the difference” and that “sugar is sugar”. Which, first of all – thanks for the insight, guys. I never realized that sugar was sugar. But more importantly, no matter how I wrack my brain, I can’t figure out any argument that 1) could have prompted this ad to be made, and 2) is actually weakened by this ad’s existence.

If the initial argument was that corn sugar is worse for you than cane sugar, then the fact that your body can’t tell them apart is completely irrelevant. All that tells you is that your body processes corn sugar the same way it processes cane sugar, which has absolutely zero to do with how good the respective kinds of sugar are for you. My body processes strawberries in the same way that it processes the gallon of strawberry ice cream I just ate (more or less, anyway – before any nutritionists get up in arms), but that doesn’t mean that strawberries are equivalent to strawberry ice cream healthwise. In fact, our bodies processing corn sugar the same way as they process cane sugar would probably actually be a bad thing if corn sugar is actually worse for us, since the body’s being unable to differentiate the two means that it doesn’t take measures against the additional harmful effects of corn sugar (presumably, this is why the “EXACTLY!” exists at the end of that video’s title).

On the flip side, if the initial argument is that corn sugar tastes just as good as cane sugar, then the fact that your body can’t tell them apart is still completely irrelevant. In this case, you don’t care at all how your body treats cane vs. corn sugar – you only care how it tastes. And if any of you have had a “Mexican” Coca-Cola (made with real cane sugar, distributed in glass bottles) and compared it to your run-of-the-mill, corn-syrupy, canned Coca-Cola, I’m sure you’ve experienced firsthand the difference between the two. Qualitatively, the claim that cane sugar and corn sugar taste the same is just not true.

In fact, logically speaking, the only thing this ad refutes is the notion that the body treats cane sugar differently from corn sugar. If there were an argument premised on that notion, then this ad would be quite effective at blowing a giant, gaping hole in it. Unfortunately for Big Corn, I’m pretty sure nobody ever disputed that the body treats corn sugar the same way as cane sugar.

Is this commercial really as dumb as I think it is, or am I just missing something here? Comment and let me know!

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