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Is Beef Jerky Bad For You?

Beef jerky: a high protein, on the go, quick snack

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m answering the question, is beef jerky bad for you?

Since you have asked for more quick healthy protein snack ideas, on this edition of Food Wars, I’m comparing two different brands of beef jerky.

So lets talk about beef jerky.

Some of you may be surprised that I eat beef jerky.

I say surprised, because if you look at the ingredients, beef jerky doesn’t typically follow my one ingredient rule.

So is beef jerky healthy?

Beef jerky can be an exception to the one ingredient rule, if it is primarily comprised of healthy ingredients.

Regardless of how many ingredients a food has, the quality of the ingredients is what’s most important.

With that said, beef jerky can be a quick, on the go, high protein snack for you.

But before you run to the local convenience or grocery store, please beware.

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Not all brands of beef jerky at the grocery store are healthy

In fact, based on the ingredients, some brands of beef jerky may be bad for you.

Here’s how to tell if a brand of beef jerky is bad for you.

In this Food Wars video, I bought one brand of beef jerky that is healthier.

Then I took a picture of the ingredients of an unhealthy brand from the grocery store.

Lets compare the beef jerky ingredients

Before I share which brand of beef jerky is healthier, let’s see if you can figure it out, based on the ingredients.

Beef jerky ingredients option #1:

  1. beef
  2. water
  3. sugar
  4. salt
  5. corn syrup solids
  6. modified soy sauce
  7. hydrolyzed corn dextrin
  8. soy protein
  9. monosodium glutamate (i.e. msg)
  10. maltodextrin
  11. flavorings
  12. hydrogenated soybean oil
  13. silicon dioxide
  14. sodium nitrates

Then there are a few other ingredients that I can’t even pronounce.

Now let’s compare these to beef jerky option #2.

Beef jerky ingredients option #2:

  • beef
  • sugar
  • water
  • beef stock
  • salt
  • spices and flavorings
  • smoke flavor
  • celery powder
  • vinegar

That’s it.

Based on these ingredients, I think it’s pretty obvious which brand of beef jerky is healthier.

If it’s not obvious, it’s beef jerky option #2.

Beef jerky option #1 is a prime example of a brand of beef jerky that contains unhealthy ingredients.

Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this brand of beef jerky in your diet.

Avoid these unhealthy ingredients in beef jerky

Some of the key unhealthy ingredients to avoid are:

  • corn syrup solids
  • monosodium glutamate (msg)
  • hydrogenated soybean oil

In particular, always avoid foods that contain hydrogenated soybean oil as it’s terrible for your health.

Then when you look at the healthier beef jerky option, the label says it contains, what they call, “natural ingredients”.

Having this on the nutrition label may be a little deceiving though.

The reason is, the second ingredient in the healthier brand of beef jerky contains 5g of sugar per serving.

Even though in a perfect world, this beef jerky may not be the best natural whole food snack, it is a decent on the go, high protein snack option.

Healthier brands of beef jerky can be a good source of protein, that’s lower in carbohydrates, and unhealthy inflammatory fats.

Bottom line: is beef jerky bad for you?

Is Beef Jerky Bad For You?

If I want you to take one thing away from this post, it is this.

Always look at the ingredients.

Just because the label says it’s a specific type of food, it doesn’t mean all brands are created the same.

I’m going to be more flexible on beef jerky as a quick snack, by giving the thumbs up to healthier brands of beef jerky.

However, just make sure you look at the ingredients before you purchase it.

You can also add in a handful of nuts, like macadamia nuts, to make it an even more satiating snack.

This quick snack combo will provide you with a good source of protein and hunger crushing healthy fats.

Make better food choices, not better excuses

When you make better food choices, there are no excuses as to why you can’t eat healthy, even when you’re on the go.

If you enjoyed this, “is beef jerky bad for you” post, click the social media buttons to share it with your friends.

Also, subscribe to our Live Lean TV YouTube channel, so you never miss another episode of Food Wars.

Lastly, leave a comment below if there are any foods you want covered in an upcoming episode of Food Wars.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick, fat burning, 4 minute tabata workout, so get ready to sweat.

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