For every food that is not allowed in the Paleo diet, there is a reason that can back it up, besides from a simple “because it's not good for your health”. The number one enemy of the Paleo diet is processed foods. The reason being is because they have unnatural additives that are not healthy at all.
Listed below are the dangerous additives that you will want to look out for:
Sodium Nitrite – to increase the shelf life of products, sodium nitrite is added. This is the reason why storing food has become quite convenient for us. Food is no longer easily spoiled or grown mold. The problem here though, is that by adding chemicals to make food storage convenient, we risk our own health. Sodium nitrite is added to our food, but it is known to increase the risks of pancreatic cancer and leukemia and also increases the risk of brain tumor in infants.
Sodium nitrite is especially used in processed meats that you can keep for months in the pantry or refrigerator. Examples are hotdogs, bacon, ham, beef jerky, and lunch meat. This is why the Paleo diet restricts eating anything that is canned or packaged.
Salt – you probably did not expect to find salt in this list because it's natural and essential in cooking, but the sad truth is that we're abusing our salt intake which is why we need to slow down in using it. Most people will argue that they only use a very minimal amount of salt when they cook, and this is good because you do not really need that much much to flavor the food.
We may limit and control how much salt we put in the food that we are preparing, but what we can not limit is the amount of salt that companies put in our packaged and easy to prepare foods. Salt also makes a foods' shelf life longer and enhances the flavor of the processed food, which is why there is so much used in processed convenience foods. But it is important to cut back, because too much salt (more than a teaspoon daily) is directly linked to fatal strokes and many heart diseases.
Aspartame – aspartame is an artificial sweetener and is commonly found in diet and sugar free foods. People are becoming more aware of the unhealthy amounts of sugar that they consume and in an attempt to have a healthier diet, they opt for diet sodas and sugar free ice cream. What they do not know is that by opting for a supposedly low sugar diet, they are risking their health because aspartame is actually a toxic substance when consumed too much.
Half of aspartame is made up of a substance called phenylalanine. Some people will say that it is a natural substance so what could possibly be wrong? It IS a natural substance but the problem is consuming it in large quantities. Phenylalanine is only meant to be consumed in extremely small amounts because once our bodies get too much of it, one of the disturbing side effects is that our threshold for seizure becomes lower.
Aspartame contains two more substances that are known to risk a person's health: aspartic acid which is linked to lesions in the brain and methanol which is a known contributor of brain tumors.
Now you know why processed foods are a big no-no in the Paleo diet. They contain ingredients that are known to be very harmful to us humans and even though they have made our lives more convenient, we should still let go of them. Our lives can still be just as convenient even without them. Learn how to prepare or prep meals in advance so when the busy work week comes, you will have an easier time cooking your meal.