Beef Jerky, the healthy snack alternative

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It has been believed over the years that beef jerky is junk food. It was only until recent years that this particular food item got rebranded and newly disguised as a healthy snack instead.

In fact, beef jerky happens to be a fantastic source of various minerals that include the likes of iron and zinc. The store-bought variations of this protein-rich item; on the other hand, it is exceptionally high in sodium. Hence, if you are buying jerky from the store, you should consume it in moderation.

Before we dive into more details, let us discuss how exactly this food item was discovered and made!

Beef jerky was discovered approximately 500 years ago by South American natives. Initially, it used to be a healthy snack that was made with buffalo meat. They dried it at first and then added heaps of animal fat and dried fruits to it.

In present days jerky is made with a variety of meats that include the likes of duck, turkey, the original buffalo, and beef. They cut the meat into strips, marinate it, and then leave it to dry for approximately four to five hours. 

Is beef jerky healthy?

The older versions of beef jerky were packed with nitrates. These tend to risk your health with heart diseases. You develop a high risk of hardening your arteries and developing diabetes. 

The junk variations of beef jerky also contain monosodium glutamate or MSG. This has been linked to a plethora of diseases like heart palpitations, nausea, and headaches.

Even if you ditch these additives, even the healthier versions of beef jerky have its drawbacks. 

Nutritional value of beef jerky

1 ounce of beef jerky comprises of the following:

Saturated fats – 3 grams

Sugar – 2.5 grams

It should be duly noted that saturated fats should be limited as it leads to various forms of heart diseases, strokes, and high blood pressure. On the other hand, sugar consumption is recommended to be limited to 25-37 gms daily.

How healthy is jerky?

Jerky can help you to maintain a low carb and high protein diet when you consume it in moderation.

  • A single serving of jerky comprises of 9 gms of protein.
  • It is packed with healthy minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium.
  • The ones you get in the store contain incredibly high amounts of saturated fats. Though, the latest versions that are being introduced in the market include lower amounts of fats.
  • A lot of brands these days are offering organic grass-fed beef.

What type of beef jerky should you look out for?

After reading the point mentioned above, you might be wishing to opt for healthier versions of beef jerky, even if it is from the market.

While you visit the store, always keep an eye out for grass-fed jerky, which is made with minimal processing, and has an organic certification. The ingredients in these products should be simple in nature. It should mostly contain beef, water, sugar, and salt apart from other things.

If you want to opt for healthier versions of jerky, you should avoid processed beef. Processed beef contains an array of unhealthy components like MSG, nitrates, and artificial preservatives. It also contains excessive sugar and sodium.

What are the alternatives to beef jerky?

In case you are still unsure about purchasing beef jerky from the market and are always on the lookout for a healthy snack, you may try protein bars, boiled eggs, and trail mixes as alternatives. However, beef jerky is your best option amongst all.


If you are a huge fan of beef jerky and are willing to go the extra lengths to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time, the best way to do so is to prepare your own set of jerky at home. This will also give you the authority to control your consumption and decide on the kind of spices you want your jerky to contain.

Ensure that you always opt for lean mean that is devoid of any fat. Beef jerky can be a fantastic snack to munch on as long as you consume it in moderation, whether you get it from the store or prepare it yourself. 



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