The Singleton Argus

Beef Jerky benefits: Is Beef Jerky good for you?

We look at Beef Jerky from a nutritional perspective and how beneficial it is for you. Picture Shutterstock
We look at Beef Jerky from a nutritional perspective and how beneficial it is for you. Picture Shutterstock

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Beef jerky has a long history, with the earliest known use by Native Americans. But, remarkably, it is still enjoyed today, and it remains a convenient snack for everyone from fitness enthusiasts to hikers.

Whether you enjoy cheaper packaged options or the most premium best Beef Jerky, it is always a reliable protein source, even though some may consider it too unhealthy.

But is this the case? In this article, we'll look at Beef Jerky from a nutritional perspective and examine how beneficial the food really is for you.

Nutritional Content of Beef Jerky

Looking at macronutrients, Beef Jerky is exceptionally high in protein, with one ounce containing up to 9 grams of protein, around 15 per cent of the recommended daily intake for adults. The fat and carbohydrate content can vary, but it is generally quite low in these macronutrients, lowering the caloric content overall.

Another benefit of beef jerky is that it is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals. It is rich in iron, vital for energy production and red blood cell formation. It is also a good source of zinc, which is vital for immune function, and vitamin B12, which is essential for nerve function and the formation of red blood cells.

Compared to other snack foods, it has minimal to no carbohydrates or sugar and more protein. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to manage their blood sugar levels or control their appetite. However, certain commercial types of beef jerky can be high in preservatives or additives, which can be a potential drawback for some individuals.

Health benefits of Beef Jerky

Beef jerky has several health benefits that make it a great snack choice for many people. While most usually eat because of the taste, there are also many health benefits.

High protein content

Beef jerky is an excellent source of protein, with 100g containing up to 33g of protein. This is essential for building and repairing muscles, immune system function, and energy for the body. The high protein content of beef jerky also makes it an excellent choice for athletes and those trying to build muscle.

Low in fat and calories

It is also a relatively low-calorie snack, with 100g typically containing over 400 calories. It is also low in fat, making it a healthier snack choice than many other high-calorie snack foods like chips and candy. If you're looking to lose weight, then it can be a great choice.

Convenient and portable snack

Beef jerky is a convenient and portable snack that can be taken anywhere and eaten anytime. It is dried, meaning that it takes much longer to expire because bacteria cannot proliferate. This makes it suitable for people with busy lifestyles or hikers looking for a food option that can be taken anywhere.

Potential drawbacks of Beef Jerky

While beef jerky can be a healthy snack choice for many people, you should also be aware of its potential drawbacks. Here are some of the key drawbacks to keep in mind.

High sodium content

Many types of beef jerky are high in sodium, which may concern people who need to limit their salt intake. While consuming foods containing salts is essential for your body to have sufficient electrolytes, excessive sodium intake can contribute to high blood pressure and other health problems.

Presence of nitrates and nitrites

Depending on the method used to create the product, there are a handful of beef jerky brands that are made with added nitrates and nitrites, which can help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in food. However, these compounds can also be harmful to health when consumed in large amounts.

Choosing healthy Beef Jerky

Finding the highest quality brands of Beef Jerky is essential if you want to maximise the nutritional benefits of this snack and minimise potential drawbacks. Not only the kinds of foods you eat but also the ingredient quality or additives can impact your food.

If you want to eat healthier beef jerky, you should ensure to read the nutrition labels thoroughly. These labels provide essential information about the nutritional content of beef jerky, including the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and other vital nutrients. Look for beef jerky that is low in sodium, has no added sugar or flavourings and has a high protein content.

It is best to find natural sources of Beef Jerky from quality suppliers, and if you can't do that, you could even make your own. This can be a great way to control the ingredients and nutritional content of this snack. Homemade beef jerky can be made with high-quality beef and natural seasonings, making it a healthy and delicious snack choice.


In conclusion, beef jerky can be a healthy snack option for those looking for a high-protein, low-calorie snack that is convenient and portable. However, for those more health-conscious, the key to getting better options is to choose better brands without additives or nitrates. If you pay good attention to the ingredient list and ensure you get your delicious Beef snack from a suitable source, then you should have no problem finding healthy beef jerky.