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The Contender
Con (against)
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We need to eat fish for their EPA and DHA omega-3s and optimal health

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/30/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 239 times Debate No: 81803
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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I pro will argue that we need to eat fish for EPA and DHA omega-3s for optimal health.
Con will argue that we don't need to eat fish for EPA and DHA omega-3s for optimal health.

"Two crucial ones -- EPA and DHA -- are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits." WedMd


I accept your terms. I will debate you from the stance of Con to the topic,"we need to eat fish for their EPA and DHA omega-3s and optimal health."
Debate Round No. 1


People are often concerned with the mercury in fish. Yet, trace elements are necessary for health. Microscopic amounts of mercury may even have health benefits.

"Since trace elements provide nutritional value, they are sometimes referred to as micronutrients. It may come as a surprise to some people, however, that certain heavy metals are included as a sub-class of this family. This includes materials such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and even arsenic, which can be found in vitamin supplements manufactured for human consumption. While these are, in fact, necessary for proper nutrition in nearly microscopic amounts, too much can be toxic."

"These include essential elements, such as iodine and zinc, probably essential elements, such as manganese and silicon, and potentially toxic elements, such as fluoride, lead, cadmium and mercury, which may also have some essential functions at low levels. "

Also, not all fish have equal amounts of mercury.

"While eating more fatty fish is a good idea, some are likely to have higher levels of mercury, PCBs, or other toxins. These include mackerel, wild swordfish, tilefish, and shark.

Farm-raised fish of any type may also have higher levels of contaminants. Children and pregnant women should avoid these fish entirely. Everyone else should eat no more than 7 ounces of these fish a week. Fish like wild trout and wild salmon are safer." wedMd

"salmon, tilapia, rainbow trout" are listed as the safest fish at

Wild trout and wild salmon are safer than farm raised fish and some of the larger fish.

As for supplements, many know that supplements may have side effects. Here is some side effects of DHA and EPA omega-3s.

"The most common side effects from fish oil are indigestion and gas. Getting a supplement with a coating might help.

Omega-3 supplements (DHA/EPA) can make bleeding more likely. If you have a bleeding condition -- or take medicines that could increase bleeding, like Coumadin, Plavix, Effient, Brilinta, and some NSAIDs -- talk to a doctor before using any omega-3 supplements." Wedmd

Health benefits of eating fish and supplements
"Impact on cardiovascular disease: According to both primary and secondary prevention studies, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, fish, and fish oil reduces all-cause mortality and various CVD outcomes such as sudden death, cardiac death, and myocardial infarction. The evidence is strongest for fish and fish oil supplements."

My opponent might take the route of the body can convert ALA to EPA and DHA. Yet, the evidence is strongest for fish and supplements as opposed to mass amounts of ALA. Large amounts of ALA are bad for the eyes. "The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA. ALA is efficiently converted to EPA, but it may require large amounts of ALA to produce optimal amounts of DHA. A small amount of recent evidence has raised a concern that large amounts of ALA could be harmful to the eyes over the long term."


Fish is a very common staple in diets of the long-living. Whether they live in the mountains or by the sea, trade for fermented fish paste or eat brook trout, these cultures value fish in their diets. What is important to remember here is that the fish these cultures eat is, for the most part, wild-caught, not farmed."

I conclude that eating wild fish such as salmon and trout are key to ideal health. Exactly how much is a question for another debate. I have effectively headed off all avenues my opponent can make. I will be most impressed if my opponent can beat me. Good luck Con.


Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids. The human body is not able to create them, and therefore they must be provided via diet.

We both agree that DHA and EPA are essential for human body function and general health.
"Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis." [1]

It is simple; you do not need to consume fish in order to maintain a healthy balance of Omega 3. It is absolutely important to establish a recommended daily intake of Omega 3. "According to the Institute of Medicine, the Adequate Intake (AI) is 1.1g daily for women and 1.6 g daily for men"" [2] If I can intake the recommended amount of Omega 3 without eating fish, then I don"t have to eat fish to maintain optimal health. It is assumed that following the adequate intake recommendations will provide you optimal health.

Here is a list of diet items containing Omega 3. Some have numerical values some do not, because I could not find them.
Omega content in a 6oz serving of Anchovy is 3.4g. [2]
Omega 3 fish Oil varies from .8g to 1.4 g. Quick Google search
Omega 3 algae varies from .2g to .5g. Quick Google search
Grass fed beef contains varying amount of DHA, EPA, and ALA Quick Google search
Egg can be fortified with DHA and EPA. Quick Google search
Veggies are a sources of ALA, which can be converted to DHA and EPA, albeit very inefficiently.

While yes fish may be the easiest source, it is not the only source. I could spend my entire life and not consume one bite of fish and still maintain healthy levels of DHA and EPA. All need to do is eat a healthy diet, whatever that means, and supplement with one of the non-fish items above.
Debate Round No. 2


Well I never would have thought grass-fed beef would have any omega-3s let alone DHA and EPA. Let's fact check.

"Moreover, the omega-3s in grass-fed beef are predominantly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), not the types found in fish (EPA and DHA). ALA may have some health benefits of its own, and our bodies convert small amounts of it into EPA and DHA"but it can"t replace the omega-3s from fish. In any case, other foods, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil, contain much more ALA than grass-fed beef." [1]

I don't think grass-fed beef is a good source of DHA and EPA omega-3s.

I know this a Con argument but I don't want to win because I withheld information. "Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed." [2]

"DHA - docosahexaenoic acid; found mainly in fish and seaweed" [3]

Still the amount of omega-3s in seaweed is small. Only 188
mg out of 100 grams. [4]

Seems EPA omega-3 is the hardest omega-3 to acquire. As for fortification. "Several organizations such as the WHO, FAO, Health Canada, and the Nestl" Research Center acknowledge that there are limitations to food fortification. Within the discussion of nutrient deficiencies the topic of nutrient toxicities can also be immediately questioned. Fortification of nutrients in foods may deliver toxic amounts of nutrients to an individual and also cause its associated side effects." [5]

"One factor that limits the benefits of food fortification is that isolated nutrients added back into a processed food that has had many of its nutrients removed, does not always result in the added nutrients being as bioavailable as they would be in the original, whole food."[5]

In summary, if you eat a lot of seaweed you can acquire DHA omega-3. Looks like fish still win on EPA omega-3s.


Yes, I will agree grass fed beef does have mostly ALA, but it does contain both DHA and EPA.
"Most of the omega-3 content of grass-fed beef comes in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. However, grass-fed beef also typically contains small-to-moderate amounts of other omega-3s, including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The range we've seen in recent studies is 20-720 milligrams for EPA, and 10-120 milligrams for DHA." [1]
I will also tack on that the body does convert ALA into both EPA and DHA, as mention before albeit inefficient. Grab a good Omega 3 supplement and you are all set.
I will concede pro"s point about fortification of food. I personally enjoy real food.
"Macroalgea, aka seaweed, is super low in fat but does have small amounts of EPA and DHA " a 100g serve provides about 100mg of EPA, but little DHA." [2] Guess it depends on your source, but Seaweed appears to have both.
I used the point about amounts of EPA/DHA in food to show; foods other than fish contain the required fatty acids. Whether a particular food item has more or less than another is worthless information. It only matter that the Omega 3s are there, for the taking.
This debate isn"t about getting the most EPA/DHA or doing so efficiently. Getting DHA/EPA from fish doesn"t equate to more optimal health. The bottom line is, the human body cannot create omega 3s so they must be obtained through diet. Anyway you can get Omega 3s, get them, but you don"t need fish to do so. Vote con!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Robkwoods 11 months ago
Sorry about the late reply. My flight from Boston this weekend was cancelled :(.
Posted by Stupidape 11 months ago
"Does eating fish include taking a fish oil supplement?" Con

That is for you to decide.
Posted by Robkwoods 11 months ago
This is my first debate, so please forgive me. But the first round is just opening statements, correct?
Posted by Robkwoods 11 months ago
Does eating fish include taking a fish oil supplement?
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