Beef jerky isn’t considered a “healthy” snack, per se, but it does have some significant benefits.
For starters, it’s rich in both protein and zinc, with an average serving size of one cup providing 30 grams of protein and 7 milligrams of zinc.
Besides seeking the taste, most jerky eaters indulge in the dried meat for a quick boost to their daily protein.
Other nutritional facts of note about jerky include, per one serving size:
- 370 calories (with 205 calories from fat)
- 23 grams of total fat
- 10 grams of saturated fat (44 percent of the recommended daily value of a 2,000 calorie diet)
- 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 10 grams of monounsaturated fat
- 43 milligrams of cholesterol (14 percent of the daily value)
- 1873 milligrams of sodium (81 percent of daily value)
- 10 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of dietary fiber, and
- 8 grams of sugars.
Okay, now the bad.
Among the biggest reasons to limit your jerky intake is due to the high sodium content. Because of how it’s made, even the healthier jerky varieties will almost always have tons of salt. This is due to the flavoring added to the meat, but mainly because of the preservation process of keeping the meat fresh, dating back to the earlier referenced Native American technique.
This high percentage of sodium means that you should limit how much jerky you consume if you have high blood pressure or another condition triggered by consuming salty foods.
That being said, moderation is key.
And lastly, because of its low carbohydrate makeup, beef jerky is a great food source for low carb dieters, particularly if a lot of protein is needed.
Video: 52 seconds
"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy