Is Beef Jerky Healthy?

Beef jerky as a snack loved by all age group people. It provides you a high amount of energy that you can utilize while doing the high-intensity workout or during the outdoor activities like hiking or camping. Our ancestors used beef jerky for their survival when they don’t have enough food to eat. But, is beef jerky healthy to consume?

It is true that the beef jerky comprises of the high amount of protein, minerals, and vitamins in only 1-ounce serving that offers several dietary benefits. Moreover, its flavor is also quite delicious when you prepare it with the salt and the spices in the dehydrator. But owing to the high content of sodium and fat the total nutritional value of the food gets decreased.

In the below article, we will discuss whether beef jerky is healthy to eat or not. Besides this, we will show you the good and bad sides of this delicious snack so that you can understand better about the food.

Raw jerky in Dehydrator

Is Beef Jerky a Healthy Snack?

The following is the list of nutrients in one big 20 grams of beef jerky:

  • 8 mcg of folate (8% of your daily value)
  • 6 g of protein (12% of your daily value)
  • 2% or less thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin K, vitamin B6, manganese and copper
  • 2 mcg of vitamin B12 (4% of your daily value)
  • 4 mg of phosphorus (7% of your daily value)
  • 6 mg of zinc (12% of your daily value)
  • 1 mcg of selenium (4% of your daily value)
  • 1 mg of iron (5% of your daily value)
  • 2 mg of magnesium (2% of your daily value)
  • 119 mg of potassium (4% of your daily value)

So, from the above list, it is clear that there are so many benefits that beef jerky offer to the human health which you will not usually get from any other type of snack. The other snacks have a high amount of carbohydrates and less amount of protein.

A big piece of beef jerky offers you a hefty amount of protein along with the phosphorus, zinc, folate, and iron. The best part about this snack is that it does not increase the levels of insulin in your body. There are very fewer chances that it gets the store in the form of fat inside your body. Thus, people who are on the track of losing weight should go for this filling and satisfying snack that keeps you away from cravings for unhealthy food.

The following are the benefits of eating the beef jerky as a snack:

1) Filled With Protein

There are 9.4 grams of protein in one single piece of beef jerky. According to the research, a man needs 57 grams of protein in one day whereas a woman needs 47 grams of protein in one day. The amino acids that formed with the breaking up of proteins utilized by our body for building the enzymes and tissues. These tissues required for the proper functioning of the human body.

2) Immune-Enhancing Zinc

In one ounce of beef jerky, you get 2.3 milligrams of zinc. As per the study, the human body needs 2 milligrams to 13 milligrams of zinc according to their gender, age, and needs of the health. Zinc helps in the different functioning of your body like the procedure of cell division and immune system. The deficiency of zinc comprises of loss of smell and taste senses and slow healing of the wounds.

3) Low in Carbohydrates

Beef jerky is considered to be low carb snacks as there are less than 5 grams of carbs in this food. If you add extra flavorings to this snack, then it will increase the level of carbohydrate comprising fiber and sugar. The beef jerky also has monounsaturated fat in it that is good for the heart.

Is Beef Jerky an unhealthy Snack?

So, after talking all good about the beef jerky, let’s show you the bad side of this food as well. This part of the article is also essential if you want to know truly “is beef jerky healthy”?

The below are few things that Beef jerky also contains:

  • 9 grams of sugars
  • Sodium: 442 mg (19% of your suggested daily value)
  • Cholesterol: 9.5 mg
  • Saturated fat: 2.3 g

In the above list, it concluded that cholesterol and saturated fat is not the right things that our body needs. The diet which comprises of the high amount of saturated fat will increase your levels of bad cholesterol which will eventually increase your risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The worst part about the beef jerky is that it has a high level of sodium which is more than 400 mg. It can increase your risk of osteoporosis, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and so many other horrible health disorders.

Below are the disadvantages that your body gets from beef jerky:

1) High amount of Fat

The fat needed by our body for decreasing the inflammation and also for supporting the brain’s health. In one ounce of beef jerky, there are around 117 calories. Moreover, over half calories of beef jerky, i.e., approximately 67 calories you originate from 7.4 grams of whole fat.

The content of the total fat consists of 2.3 grams of saturated fat. The doctors suggest limiting the intake of saturated fat for decreasing your danger of cardiovascular disease. The fat should be below 8% of the total calories consumed daily that means 15.6 grams. You usually get polyunsaturated fats through seafood and vegetable oil and besides this you fetch monounsaturated fats from seeds, nuts, olives, vegetable oil and avocados that are healthy for the heart.

2) Increase the level of Cholesterol

In a single serving of beef jerky, you get 9.5 mg of cholesterol. The doctor suggests limiting the intake of your daily cholesterol from food to around 310 milligrams in one day. But, even though cholesterol inside the food was deliberated bad and believed to result in the accumulation of plaque in the veins, we come across the verdict that the cholesterol inside the food might not influence your heart health or blood cholesterol levels. But still, you should talk about this to the doctor first before making your mind.

Tips for making the beef jerky a healthy snack

The below are a few tips that will help you in making your beef jerky a healthy snack whether you are buying from the market or making it at home:

1) Buying from the market

If you are purchasing the beef jerky from the market then, pick the one which has small quantities of saturated fat. The thin strip versions of the beef jerky are generally lower in saturated fat and total fat. You should go for the low sodium versions of the beef jerky that is quite nutritious for the health.

2) Making at home

Making the beef jerky at home with the help of the food dehydrator is one of the best ideas to cook this snack in a healthy yet nutritious way. It not only let you have control on the beef’s cut that you wish to use, but you can also limit the amount of sodium in it.

Bottom Line:

The bottom line of this article is that beef jerky is healthy if you eat in moderation. Excess of anything is always bad. Beef jerky cannot be considered unhealthy entirely as it loaded with proper amounts of zinc, protein, iron, and folate. The nutrition that you get from this snack cannot fetched from any other meal.

On the other hand, the beef jerky also comprises of saturated fat and sodium which is very bad for the health of the heart. So, we cannot say it is a healthy snack to consume.

To conclude, we can say that you should enjoy beef jerky but always in moderation. Try to swap the market bought beef jerky with the homemade beef jerky prepared in the food dehydrator. It not only healthily cooks the jerky but you can also limit the amount of fat and sodium in it that you can’t do in the market bought food.

We hope that you got the answer to your question “Is beef jerky healthy.” If you have any different thoughts on this question then, do write to us in the below comment box. We will be pleased to read your thoughts.

Image Source   1   2

Love Food Dehydrating? then Join Us

Get updated with Food dehydrating tips, guide, reviews, and more.


Hi there, I’m Linda, chief editor at Dehydrator Blog. We believe in Health is wealth. After struggling to buy healthy organic food for my family, I decided that’s not the right way to do. Still today many of them not aware of food dehydrators and uses of dehydrated food. That’s why my team and I want to solve this problem. That’s how Dehydrator Blog was born.. Our mission is simple. Trying to spread awareness of dehydrator to all. Join our hands if you believe in our mission.