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Beef Jerky Will Be Your New Favorite Snack

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Features, Food and Drink, Lifestyle, Variety

Beef Jerky has gotten a bad rap for being unhealthy, but this low carb, high-protein treat is high in iron, zinc, and magnesium. Part of its reputation for being unhealthy comes from junk food varieties which are loaded with sugar, high in salt, and use fatty cuts of meat so that the jerky is also high in saturated fat. 

However, if you pick your source of beef jerky well and read the ingredients, you’ll find that it can be low in salt and sugar, but still retain its full flavor, making it a great protein boost. 

What To Look For In A Healthier Beef Jerky

Firstly, let’s clarify that while you can eat these products daily, they are still high in sodium, so bear this in mind if you are on a sodium restricted diet. They should also be considered more of a healthy treat food rather than a meal replacement.

The key thing is to make sure that you aren’t buying junk food! Look for grass fed beef jerky which will give you a full flavor without needing lots of additives (grass fed animals raised in pastures have significantly more flavorsome meat than from animals raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and fed grain from feedlots).


Because of the way it is prepared there is no need for preservatives, so look for something with natural ingredients. Salt is obviously a basic ingredient, but many add sugar, which is not necessary. However, drying the meat with extra flavors such as honey, pineapple, peppers, cherry, garlic or even coffee can take things to a whole new flavor explosion.

How Do You Prepare Beef Jerky?

Traditional, correctly prepared jerky is made from lean muscle that is cut into thin strips and then dried. The drying process may involve the meet being smoked, as is more traditional, or salted, as is more common in modern preparation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerky

The fat of the meat is trimmed off prior to drying, as fat does not dry out. In America there are regulations in place the monitor the level of moisture that can be contained in dried meat products. This is to ensure that there is little risk of bacteria growing and keeps the food safe for human consumption.

One thing to be wary of is products that are made from heavily processed meats. These use random cuts of meat and fat and are generally very high in additives. Often the drying process uses chemical additives. 

Basically, the ingredients in this variety are why it is labelled as a junk food, rather than a high-protein snack. 

However, there is ongoing research, with commercial kitchens investigating the effects of different flavorings, types of meat and drying technology, so we can expect to see some delicious jerky continuing to be released onto the market in coming years.

There is also interesting research happening within food science at different Universities (see here). Some of this is looking at different, more natural, methods to dry processed meats as an alternative to needing to use sodium nitrate. Research is even looking at using things like celery or cherry powder which could have interesting results. 

Beef Thins or Beef Jerky

In short, jerky is chewy, thins are crunchy. Think pork crackling. Thins are generally sliced thinner than jerky, but the process to create the meat is similar – although thins are also baked. The ingredients are the same in both products – assuming you that you are purchasing good quality jerky.

That crunch though, just like potato crisps, one is never enough. Thankfully, thins are just as high in protein, but because they are much thinner you do feel like you’re eating more, and you get to finish a whole bag. 

Keto, Paleo and Whole30

 If you are on a low-carb diet then you know that one of the hardest adjustments to make is finding appropriate foods to snack on. Jerky is a prime option, as are thins, just look for options that are low in sodium, and don’t have added preservatives or sweeteners. 

While Paleo diets are ok with added honey, Keto and Whole30 would advise you against including sweet additives to your diet, particularly during initial phases. 

Because they are gluten free as well, think about using either option as part of a grazing platter in place of chips and dip.

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