Why Avoiding Processed Foods Is An Essential Part Of The Paleo Diet
Since the Paleo Diet consists of eating foods our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten some 2 million years ago—fruits, nuts, meats, seafood, and vegetables—modern-day processed foods must be avoided. Processed foods are chemically processed, made from artificial and refined ingredients, designed to be eaten with minimal preparation. Processed foods are high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and refined sugars, leading contributors to many serious health problems among today’s population.
The Paleo Diet only consists of healthy, whole foods—the foods that humans are meant to eat to survive. There are many healthy foods and recipes that can be used with the Paleo Diet. The following are just a few of the harmful effects of processed foods—and why they should not be part of any diet.
Processed foods are:
1. High in Refined Sugars and
Fructose Corn Syrup
Not only do refined sugars have no nutrients, their consumption is also associated with increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Refined sugars also cause an increase in triglycerides (bad cholesterol), fat in the abdominal cavity and liver, and resistance to insulin.
2. Manufactured to Be Rewarding
Processed foods have tastes that are rewarding to our brains—we get more pleasure from eating foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar. This pleasure can lead to overeating, and has serious consequences, most notably obesity. The pleasure gained from eating processed foods can make our brains crave bad food. Even though we know it’s bad for us, we still want it—it’s like a drug
3. Contain Artificial Ingredients
When you can’t pronounce or recognize an ingredient on a food label, it is most likely an added chemical. Our Paleolithic ancestors definitely did not consume foods with acesulfame potassium or artificial flavor (which could comprise a multitude of chemicals). Processed foods often contain chemical colorants (add color), flavors, preservatives, and texturants (add texture). The preservatives often found in deli meats are carcinogenic; colon cancer has been linked to diets that are high in processed meats.
4. High in Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. They satisfy our hunger quickly, but they are also quickly digested, leaving you feeling hungry and tired soon after. The spike in blood sugar and insulin levels can cause many chronic diseases, especially diabetes. The carbohydrates in the Paleo Diet are healthy because they are from whole, single-ingredient
5. Low in Essential Nutrients and
Compared to whole and single-ingredient foods, processed foods often lack the essential nutrients and fiber we need to be healthy. Sometimes there are added synthetic vitamins and minerals, but they don’t compare to the abundance of natural nutrients found in whole foods.
6. Are High in Trans Fats and
These fats and oils are linked to heart disease and cause inflammation of the body. There are natural fats and oils that are much healthier to consume. Natural is always better.
If you have been following the Paleo Diet, or are researching the trend and hoping to join in the amazing benefits of cutting out processed foods, LowFatLowCarb is here to help! Our low fat, low carb recipes adhere to similar guidelines as Paleo, and we offer plenty of tips and tricks to help you out in the kitchen!