Is Beef Jerky Healthy For Weight Loss? Traditionally, people think of beef jerky as a high-fat, high-sodium snack packed with preservatives.
After all, the word “jerky” hails from a method of drying and salting beef, originally practiced by Native Americans on buffalo meat.
But we don’t eat much buffalo or salt nowadays. What’s left is a processed and preserved snack of high-calorie, sodium-riddled beef.
So, is beef jerky healthy for weight loss? Well, the short answer is no. In this article, I will discuss why you should avoid beef jerky.
But before I do that, let me share with you what has happened to my weight loss plan over the last couple of weeks. Only then will you be able to appreciate the importance of my recommendations.
Table of Contents
What is Beef Jerky?
Beef Jerky is a dried meat product designed to be called Jerky. It is made from tough and lean cuts of beef but can also come from chicken or turkey. The meat is first ground, then the fat content is removed.
The processed slices of beef are then marinated in a blend of seasonings before being dried. Drying removes almost all the water content in the slices and gives them their distinctive texture and taste.
The resulting meat product is a high-fat and high-protein semi-prepared snack. The marinating process can also add quite a bit of sodium to the final product.
Is Beef Jerky Healthy For Weight Loss
As a weight-loss food, beef jerky is definitely not. It’s full of fat and salt – which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.
However, it might be worth a look as a snack for an athlete who wants to build muscle mass and strength. There are a few reasons why Beef Jerky is not Healthy For Weight Loss
1. High Fat
Beef jerky is made from lean meat, which is a good thing. Lean meat means there are fewer calories and less fat.
But the problem here is that they are replacing the fat in the meat with something even worse – sodium.
Most commercially produced beef jerky contains as much salt as 20 packets of potato chips! And it’s not just salt either – other additives give the final product its distinctive taste.
2. High in Sodium
Most people are aware that eating too much salt is bad for their health, but not everyone realizes how quickly high sodium intake can affect weight.
The average adult requires about 2 teaspoons of salt per day, but the recommended maximum is only 1 teaspoon a day. That translates to 2300mg of sodium daily – and most people consume 10 times that amount.
3. High in Sugar
The chemicals added to the beef jerky help preserve it (and give it a good taste). These chemicals are added during meat processing, usually made from disaccharides (sugar molecules).
Long-term consumption of these additives can have negative effects on your health. It could cause diabetes mellitus (Type 2), raise your blood pressure and cholesterol, and contribute to allergic reactions.
4. Bad for Your Gut
One of the things that come with high fiber diets is a healthy gut. Fiber helps clean out your system and treat constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.
However, the chemicals added to beef jerky are also not good for your gut health because they stimulate a slow digestion process in the intestine, leading to irritation.
5. Not Complete Protein Sources
High-protein diets are great for losing weight because protein keeps you fuller for longer and balances blood sugar levels.
But it’s not all about high protein. In fact, beef jerky contains only 20-30% protein in the raw product.
We need a certain amount of protein every day to maintain our bodies and keep the muscles functioning. There are two main sources of protein – animals, and vegetables.
Meat is a complete source of protein, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids needed for muscle growth.
The Bottom Line
If you’re considering eating beef jerky, remember that it couldn’t be unhealthier for weight loss. The list of negatives is too long to ignore.
At the very least, be careful about how much of it you consume, and make sure you eat more vegetables to replace those essential fatty acids – your body will thank you for it.