The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Ban Highly Processed Foods

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 592 times Debate No: 71147
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Highly processed foods impair long term health of consumers, which contain dangerous chemical additives, food dyes, and more.
This will sink or force the fast food industries to remodel their products. (No sentiment)


This debate is nearly unwinnable for the pro side. The term "highly processed food" is wide open and must be properly defined. Making any food involves some sort of process. The apples that grow from tree are the result of vegetative processes.

Secondly, the pro side must show strong empirical evidence that foods fitting in their "highly processed food" banner DOES cause negative health effects.

And lastly, the pro side then has to make an argument for why these allegedly unhealthy foods ought to be banned.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, thank you for accepting this debate and pointing out issues. I also apologize for expecting spectators and my opponent to know precisely what I meant by "highly processed foods".

Clarification(What I refer to when I mention a "highly processed food product"):
A highly processed (also known as a highly refined) food product, like all other products, undergoes a process to produce it and make it to the shelf of a store. However, its process is more complex than other foods and involves adding chemicals not found in nature; non-organic ingredients such as chemical additives(includes things that increase shelf life[preservatives]), artificial flavoring, and artificial coloring.

Please note: When I refer to chemicals, I do not refer to obviously natural, and unharmful ones such as salt, water, and sugar; I refer to highly refined ones that are rarely or even never produced by nature, but made by machinery, such as artificial sugar, BHT, and BHA.

Background Info:

The nonorganic and highly refined chemicals added to highly processed foods serve many purposes, such as enhancing the smell, taste, appearance(mostly color), and even shelf life of the foods.
For example, most highly processed ham(special pork) may not actually consist of 100% organic pork, and may have had chemicals added to enhance the taste, and then painted a beautiful pink using chemicals, to attract consumers, along with more chemicals that extend the expiration date(AKA, increasing shelf life).

Health Concerns

First of all, since they are not made of natural ingredients, human bodies cannot keep themselves alive and fighting against the chemicals that are entering, without suffering side effects.

There are short term side effects(headaches, nauseau, and burning sensation on neck that last only a few seconds) and major allergic reactions(diarrhea, large patches of red skin, ulcers, and more), but the long term health effects wave the biggest red flag.

For example, food dyes cause hyperactivity in children and most are carcinogens. (Blue 1, Blue 2, Red 3, Yellow 6)

Specific carcinogens that millions of people intake:
Sodium Nitrate (Many meat products)

Saccharin (Found in many sweeeteners)

Aspartame (Found in gum, sweeteners, drinks, and more)

There are also kinds of chemicals that convert to fat after being consumed, but the fat that would result, is not listed under Nutrition Facts.
If such chemicals were eliminated from our stores, it would help reduce obesity as well.

Here is an example:
Reese's Puffs cereal
Most Dangerous Chemical additive: TBHQ
TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a petroleum derivative and a carcinogen.

More useful links:

Millions of Americans consume these cancerous foods and are not aware of the risks they are taking because they do not bother to read the label on the back of the food products and research the ingredients. I believe it is best to simply ban them, resulting in a reduction of cancer cases.



There are 2 very key points I think my opponent is missing in his argument:

1) Pro defines the food to be banned is everything non-organic. That's a lot of different foods that millions of people eat every day (most meats, breads, juices, canned food, milk). The reasoning is that they are ALL bad and then proceeds to mention only a handful of chemicals that are a bit lackluster in terms of their lethality. For example, the aspartame article indicates there is barely any correlation linking it to health problems nor when giving exorbitant amounts of it to monkeys did they find anything damning. Furthemore, pro doesn't address the benefits we get from things like increased shelf life. The bacteria in spoiled foods is much more harmful than the additives used to prevent them (it says this explicitly in pro's last link).

2) The most important part of Pro's argument was glossed over in two sentences: why the government should make these foods illegal. The argument is not for tighter regulation. The argument is not for a stern warning label. The argument is to make these foods ILLEGAL to produce. I'm afraid Pro has much work to do in explaining why the freedom to choose what people consume should be so greatly restricted.
Debate Round No. 2


I did not say that any inorganic foods or organic foods that gone through any process are highly processed and must be banned -I believe I had made myself clear after I stated, "A highly processed (also known as a highly refined) food product, like all other products, undergoes a process to produce it and make it to the shelf of a store. However, its process is more complex than other foods and involves adding chemicals not found in nature; non-organic ingredients such as chemical additives(includes things that increase shelf life[preservatives]), artificial flavoring, and artificial coloring." Basically, I noted that "highly processed foods" contain highly refined and inorganic ingredients, including chemical additives and so on.

Plus, I did not cherry-pick the best examples of bad chemicals in highly processed food. The least carcinogenic chemicals were included in my list of bad chemicals in our food as well as the worst. (From small carcinogens such as food dyes to nastier carcinogens like TBHQ)

You are 100% correct that spoiled foods(bacteria growth) are far more harmful than foods with chemicals that increase shelf life because they cause disease. However, such chemicals are not necessary to get foods sold -their sole purpose was for the sellers to save money (not having to spend money replacing the expired food). Banning them would only force the sellers to sell the new products faster or trash them earlier if not bought -they would not leave them on the shelf to accumulate bacteria.

For No. 2:

People would not buy the highly processed food products anyway if there were warning labels informing them that the products cause greater risk of cancer.

Tighter regulation of highly processed foods is not sensible. The chemicals within them are carcinogens -from fluids in insects(barely carcinogens) to refined versions of things like crude oil and coal tar(not only cancerous, but possibility of DNA damage). It is just like trying to regulate poisons to a safe level -then they would not be poisons, and it would be practically banning them.

People are simply unaware of the chemicals they ingest when eating things like Doritos chips, smoked-meat-flavored red ham, microwave sausages, and more. If they knew, they would not touch another one (exceptions include withdrawal symptoms), and there would be no point in freedom of choice.


I would like to thank my opponent for taking part in this debate; I thoroughly enjoyed this debate and have the utmost respect for this person.

I believe Pro has fallen well short of justifying a ban on "highly processed foods". The arguments put forth indicating that these foods are unhealthy were anemic at best. None of the chemicals Pro mentioned behaved like, say, cyanide. These are more of the "consume it everyday for years and MAYBE there will be health concern." Even then, the evidence is correctional at best. Everyone eventually dies. The question is the expediency.

Should foods contain labels that indicate the ingredients used? Yes. Should foods that contain chemicals that are lethal from short term exposure be banned? Absolutely. Should ingredients that have weak or non-existent empirical links to adverse health conditions be banned? Obviously not.

We don't restrict freedom without a really good reason. Pro has NOT come near a good reason.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ConceptEagle 1 year ago
Thank you too :)
Posted by durrrr013 1 year ago
ConceptEagle, I didn't think there was going to be any challenge in this debate when I accepted. Thank you for proving me wrong and being so sporting!
Posted by ConceptEagle 1 year ago
durrrr013, thanks for debating with me, it has been a fairly decent learning experience -due to several mistakes I made and your participation. Thank you!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by salam.morcos 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and spelling/grammar was good: Tie. Pro had the only resources: 2 points to Pro. Pro listed several health concerns that appear to be unknown to the public. He argues that banning these products would protect the public from harmful chemicals. Con argued that these concerns alone are not sufficient to warrant banning them, and asked Pro to provide more evidence. Con didn't take any burden of the proof and simply focused on discrediting Pro's arguments. Con should have demonstrated how many other things can also harm the body (tobacco, alcohol...etc) and could argue that restricting everything is not the government job, but he didn't make such statements. Pro did a good job rebutting Con's rebuttals and I liked his argument: Tighter regulation is similar to regulating poisons. I don't necessarily agree, but Con failed to make a compelling argument. I vote Pro.