Beef jerky isn’t just a tasty, convenient treat, but it is a healthy one as well. Made primarily of lean, high-quality cuts of beef, it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. While some jerky may contain preservatives and additives that are less than healthy, they usually still hold up well against most other snacks. Sometimes referred to as a healthier alternative to regular snacks, choose beef jerky when you have the option.
Related: Is Beef Jerky Healthy? Nutrition Facts & Benefits
Beef Jerky is Delicious
In case you’ve never tried it, beef jerky is strips or chopped pieces of lean meat that have been marinated or flavored with salt and various other seasonings. Finally, it is dehydrated and packaged. It can be carried and enjoyed anywhere, and commercial brands have a long shelf life.
The main drawback of beef jerky is its salt content. Many brands offer low-sodium alternatives, as well as gluten-free, and a broad range of other flavors.
Nutrition Facts: Jerky By the Numbers
Here is the nutritional information in 1 cup (90 g) of an average serving of beef jerky - as provided by the USDA.
- 369 Calories
- 23 g Fat
- 10 g Carbohydrates
- 1870 g Sodium
- 2 g Fiber
- 30 g Protein
- 8 g Sugar
Beef jerky is a low-carb food, with one piece of it having only 2 g of carbohydrates. Unless it is a flavor that has been enhanced by some form of sugar, it makes a great low-carb snack. Although beef jerky is high in protein, it is low in fat. So, not the perfect keto food, but a good one.
Protein in Beef Jerky
One piece of beef jerky contains up to 7 g of protein.
Fats in Beef Jerky
The 5 g of fat in a piece of beef jerky is a combination of saturated and monounsaturated fats.
Micronutrients in Beef Jerky
Here is a list of the micronutrients contained in beef jerky, listed as percentages of the daily values set out by the USDA:
- Copper - 7% of the DV
- Choline - 6% of the DV
- Folate - 9% of the DV
- Iron - 8% of the DV
- Magnesium - 3% of the DV
- Niacin - 3% of the DV
- Potassium 4% of the DV
- Phosphorus - 9% of the DV
- Riboflavin - 3% of the DV
- Selenium - 5 % of the DV
- Thiamine - 4% of the DV
- Vitamin B12 - 12% of the DV
- Zinc - 21% of the DV
Are you interested in delicious and nutritious jerky options? Try Two Chicks Jerky today!
Related: Best Meats for Beef Jerky [Tender & Delicious]
Is Beef Jerky Healthy Though?
Compared to other snacks, beef jerky holds up reasonably well. But is beef jerky a healthy food when not compared to anything else?
According to the World Health Organization, the consumption of red meat and other processed meats is associated with a higher risk of some forms of cancer. The studies also found that people who eat red meat also engaged in fewer health practices than those who don’t. So, the specific amount of risk of red meat consumption is difficult to quantify.
Although jerky is made with lean meat, it is still a source of saturated fat. Those with dietary concerns or restrictions should take note so that they can enjoy beef jerky in a health conscious way.
People who must avoid salt or sodium should also avoid most types of beef jerky.
One theory of why eating processed meats can cause cancer is nitrates. Nitrates are substances that are naturally occurring in the body and many foods. When manufacturers add them to processed foods, they have the following effects:
- The meat lasts longer.
- Bacterial growth is prohibited.
- The meat gets a pinkish or red color.
- A salty flavor is added.
This is why Two Chicks Jerky makes all of our meat naturally, without any Nitrates or added ingredients. Its why everyone loves our brand so much!
Different Types of Jerky
If you don’t like beef, jerky can be made from a variety of other meats. Here are a few:
- Venison Jerky - Almost every part of a deer can make good jerky, but the very best parts are the rump roast and eye round. They’re good for chew and flavor.
- Turkey Jerky - Thinly-sliced turkey breast makes delicious turkey jerky.
- Chicken Jerky - Sliced chicken breast can be baked until it reaches the ‘jerky’ texture.
- Salmon Jerky - Yes, if you’re a fish lover, you aren’t forgotten. Salmon makes excellent jerky!
- Buffalo Jerky - Better known as bison, buffalo meat is low-fat, high in protein, and lower in salt than other jerkies.
- Fish Jerky - In addition to salmon, other fish may be used for jerky as well. Examples include trout, tuna, etc.
- Snake Jerky - While rattlesnake meat doesn’t come immediately to mind when we talk about jerky, it is free of the hormones and steroids that are a concern with other meats. Snake jerky is also less salty than other types.
Health Concerns with Eating Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a healthy snack for many people, but it should still be eaten in moderation. For other people, beef jerky should be limited.
The sodium in most jerky can add up quickly, with only a 1 ounce (28 g) serving having 22% of your daily allowance. Large amounts of sodium can adversely affect your blood pressure, heart health, and increase your chance of stroke.
Related: How Long Does Beef Jerky Last? Shelf Life & Storing Tips
Final Thoughts on Beef Jerky Nutrition Facts
Beef jerky is a delicious, low-carb, low fat, high protein snack. It is portable and convenient and fits into most diets. If you have a meat allergy, which you’ll know by your physical reaction to it, jerky should be avoided. While the salt content is a concern, many flavors and types of jerky have minimal sodium levels making them safe for occasional