Is Beef Jerky Healthy? Health Benefits, Weight Loss and Nutrition Facts

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Christina Ross
Christina Ross
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

What else do you need when you have food which is both delicious and healthy to eat? It is undeniable that when prepared properly, beef jerky tastes delicious. But is beef jerky healthy? Well, that is a tricky question.

For many years, people have added beef jerky to their diet lists. And why is that? Because beef jerky is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals, is low carb, and it is also a go-to recipe that you can make easily. But often, people are concerned because it is a snack item, and often snack items are not healthy. 

So, let’s try and become a food label expert to understand whether beef jerky is a healthy food or not.

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What Are the Nutrients in Beef Jerky?

is homemade beef jerky healthy

Beef jerky is the source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. Although the nutrition factors of beef jerky matter from brand to brand, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found out the nutrition found in beef jerky. The main nutrients are listed below for a better understanding:

  • Protein: 9.4 grams
  • Fat: 7.3 grams
  • Carbs: 3.1 grams
  • Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Zinc: 21% 
  • Vitamin B12
  • Phosphorus: 9% 
  • Folate: 9% 
  • Iron: 8% 
  • Potassium: 4% 
  • Magnesium: 3% 

There are several other nutrients present in beef jerky, like chlorine, copper, selenium, etc., which also add value to it, just like the main nutrients. There are several brands of beef jerky in the market, and each and every one of them might not have the same amount of protein, minerals, and vitamins in them. 

That is why USDA measured an average proportion of each nutritious item for beef jerky.

What Makes Beef Jerky Healthy?

is beef jerky healthy for you

Beef jerky is an on-the-go snack with nutritious values. That is why it is often used as an item of low-carb diets recommended by dietitians. We have scribbled down the important features of the main nutrients in beef jerky to help you understand how healthy and convenient it is for you to make and eat.

Protein Benefits:

Beef jerky is often called the ‘powerhouse’ of protein. Foods rich in protein help you increase your strength and capabilities. It also helps you balance the metabolism of your body. Other than that, proteins are known to reduce hunger by reducing your appetite.

Having less appetite would prevent you from overeating and maintain your weight the way you want. As beef jerky is rich in protein but low in carbs, nutritionists and dietitians would suggest you eat it as a part of your daily diet. It is also used in paleo and low-carb diets.

Rich Minerals:

Minerals boost up the metabolism in your body, and this high metabolism helps you reduce weight. Beef jerky is very rich in iron and zinc. These two minerals are very healthy and important for your body. These minerals control the immunity power and the energy level of your body.

A deficit of any of these would cause your energy level to go down and weaken your body. Especially iron deficiency won’t let your body energize. 

Packed with Vitamins:

Beef jerky is also filled up with many important vitamins, which helps reduce the unwanted fat accumulated inside our body. It contains vitamins like Vitamin B12, folate, phosphorus. 

B12 works as an energy provider to our body by breaking the foods and converting them into sugar for us. The converted sugar helps our body gain high metabolism and long-lasting energy. 

On the other hand, phosphorus and folate are seen to be working on reducing appetite, which reduces your food intake and, as a whole, reduces your weight as well.

Is Beef Jerky Healthy All the Time?

Is Beef Jerky Healthy

The answer to this is no. Beef jerky has its pros and cons. Although we have discussed so many useful and important things beef jerky contains, we should still remember it is made of red meat. Excessive consumption of red meat is very harmful to health. So, let’s try to find out the downfalls or cons of beef jerky as a food.

Rich in Sodium:

The level of sodium contained inside beef jerky is troublesome. Excess intake of sodium can cause heart problems increasing your blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of stroke and kidney diseases. 

Every ounce of beef jerky contains almost 1800 milligrams of sodium, whereas the recommendation to eat it regularly is 2300 milligrams.

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High Cholesterol:

Beef jerky contains 14 milligrams of cholesterol. This amount is a bit more than a diet prepared for healthy persons. A high amount of cholesterol intake increases the risks of heart diseases, like, heart attack, stroke, etc. 

Your body already produces a certain amount of cholesterol for different body functions.

Eating too much beef would increase your cholesterol level and cause you different kinds of heart and kidney diseases.

Calorie Rich:

Although beef jerky is used for a low-carb diet and weight loss, it takes up the space for other food. It itself contains 116 calories approximately. Calorie-rich foods should not be taken every day and often. So, the intake of beef jerky should be limited. 

From the key points above, we can deduce that intake of beef jerky is good in low carb diets, but the amount of its intake should be measured, and excess intake of beef jerky should be avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is beef jerky good for losing weight?

Yes, you can add beef jerky to your diet for losing weight as it’s a low-carb item and filled with nutrients. However, make sure you don’t eat excessively.

Is beef jerky processed food?

Beef jerky is a processed food as its natural taste is modified through curing and salting. 

Can eating too much beef jerky make you constipated?

Yes, beef jerky is rich in iron and fat, and these two nutrients are known sometimes to cause constipation. 

Final Words

Beef jerky is a very convenient food that is very easy to prepare as well. Almost all diet plans for low carbs would contain beef jerky as an item. Although it tastes good and is very easy to make, beef jerky should not be consumed every day and in an excessive amount.

So, is beef jerky healthy? The answer is, when eaten in moderation, beef jerky is a very healthy food to take. Now that you know treat yourself with some delicious homemade beef jerky but be careful of its side effects.

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