Is Beef Jerky Healthy? Let’s Find Out

Beef jerky is one of the popular snacking options available for all those meat lovers out there. This is a processed form of meat that you can consume on the go without the need for any kind of cooking or prepping. Beef jerky is made by drying beef with a lot of exciting seasonings that will give a kick to your tastebuds. On account of this very procedure of seasoning and processing, it is quite high in sodium and fat which can be quite harmful to human health especially if you are consuming it continuously for a prolonged period.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that, processed meat such as beef jerky can also be immensely helpful in providing you the right amount of nutrition when you are in such a situation where there is no provision to cook or prep. It is found to be quite rich in a lot of nutrients such as proteins and micronutrients and minerals such as protein. However, the key is to have such type of meat in moderation and only as an occasional snacking option. In this article, we will be discussing all the important aspects of having this type of meat, and its important downsides and benefits when it comes to the health of your body. 

Beef Jerky: Is it healthy? the shortest answer possible 

Beef Jerky

If you would like to have a simple answer to this question, it would be a big NO. When it comes to healthier snacking options one should choose, many dietary practitioners and doctors give the recommendation of choosing something that contains relatively fewer carbs, more protein, and some of the essential minerals. However, when you try to analyze beef jerky in terms of this particular requirement, it might seem to be something quite healthy.

 However, the issue can be found only in the presence of minerals that are quite excessive in this type of snacking option. Sodium and processed fat can be found in relatively greater quantities in this particular type of snack, making it quite unhealthy. Such food items can be the main cause of a range of different lifestyle diseases such as increased blood pressure, and a lot of other cardiovascular diseases.

Apart from that, consuming such types of snacks regularly can be quite unhealthy if you are concerned about weight management. People with obesity and excessive weight may find it difficult to maintain an ideal weight if they are obsessed with these types of snacking options. 

Potential Benefits Of Beef Jerky

  • A protein-rich snacking option 

This is one of the major advantages of having beef jerky as your snack. Even if you are consuming a small amount of beef jerky, it is found to be satisfying around 10% of the daily protein requirement of the human being. Hence if you are traveling or if you are in certain situations that do not allow you to cook or prep fresh food items and if you are struggling to satisfy your nutritional requirements of the day, then having beef jerky would be one of the best options you can have.

Apart from that, you can make this snacking option much healthier by having mindful portions of the same and also by reducing the frequency in which you prefer the same. Along with that, you can also purchase some options with less amount of sodium and fat in the same. Apart from that, protein sources like beef are one of the rare dietary choices in which you can have all the 9 amino acids of protein, making it a complete and absolute protein source out there. 

  • Provides Zinc 

This is another nutrition that you obtain while consuming beef jerky as a snacking option. Zinc is an essential mineral required for various physiological functions in the human body. If you are someone who feels down with energy most of the time during the day and while taking up physically engaging activities, zinc might be the mineral that you are lacking. Apart from providing the right amount of energy, it is also proven to strengthen the immunity levels of your body. 

  • Rich in Iron 

Iron deficiency is one of the most common issues found in people across the globe. This issue can also be fired by having beef jerky as one of the occasional snacking options. When you have sufficient iron levels in your body, you will also feel better in energy and also in your overall health. 

Downsides Of Beef Jerky

  • Higher sodium content 

Sodium is also essential for various physiological functions and activities in the human body. Even if it is quite beneficial in a lot of ways, the amount of sodium is found highly concentrated in similar forms of processed meat. This higher sodium content can be harmful to the human body by increasing the blood pressure levels of the individuals, disrupting their ideal weight, leading to obesity, various kidney issues, water retention in the body, digestive health issues such as bloating, and also bone health issues such as osteoporosis. Apart from all these, it can even lead to more complicated cardiovascular diseases, which should be avoided at any cost. It can also increase the blood cholesterol levels of the individuals. 

  • Being processed 

Processing food items is generally unhealthy on account of the addition of various preservatives that can be harmful to the human body. Apart from that, it can also lead to deadly diseases such as various types of cancer, and diabetes issues in human beings.


These are some of the things that you should keep in mind while having beef jerky as one of your snacking options. There is nothing wrong with having beef jerky as one of your snacks if there is no provision to cook or rep.

However, if you have provisions for it, the best way is always to cook fresh meat, which can give you almost all the nutrition required for your body. If you can’t resist the deliciousness of the same, there is nothing wrong in having small portions of the same, mindfully and also reducing the frequency of consumption. 

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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