Is Beef Jerky Good For Weight Loss?

Is Beef Jerky Good For Weight Loss?

When it comes to losing weight, cutting calories just isn’t enough. In addition to reducing your daily caloric intake, you also need to make sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods at the right time.

You shouldn’t quit snacking just because you’re trying to lose weight – in fact, most nutrition experts maintain that you should eat five to six smaller meals each day instead of three large ones in order to keep your metabolism firing at full speed.

Unfortunately, most snack foods are unhealthy. It’s easier to reach for a bag of potato chips than it is a carrot stick. And while there is an ample selection of health-conscious sweet treats like protein bars, granola bars and shakes, there seems to be a shortage of healthy, salty snacks.

So is beef jerky good for weight loss? Could it really be the salty fix you need to stay on track and achieve your fitness goals?

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How Beef Jerky Helps With Weight Loss

Beef jerky may help you lose weight because it’s a relatively healthy, high-protein snack. And one of the most effective ways to lose weight and keep it off is to incorporate enough protein into your diet.

4 Reasons to Eat More Protein

What makes protein such a super nutrient? Check out these four ways protein helps power your weight loss:

1. It Helps You Feel Fuller Longer

Protein takes longer to digest, which helps you feel satisfied for a longer period of time and thus, reduces the urge to overeat. Consistently substituting filling protein foods instead of second servings saves a lot of calories, which results in weight loss.

2. Protein Burns More Calories

The energy our bodies used to break down and absorb food is known as the “thermic effect of food” or “TEF” for short. Compared to carbohydrates and fats, protein has a much higher TEF , which means your body burns more calories to process it.

3. It Boosts Fat Burning

To effectively burn fat, your body needs protein. This is because as you lose weight, your body doesn’t just lose fat – it loses muscle as well. Eating more protein will help fuel your metabolism and preserve calorie-torching lean muscle mass.

4. Protein Helps Build And Protect Muscles

Protein helps you build muscle and repair any weak or damaged muscle tissue. If you’re strength training, you should always have a high protein snack right afterwards. This is when your muscles are most receptive to the nutrients they need to repair and continue growing. However, it can be a huge pain to lug around protein powder and a mixer… so next time, try throwing a stick of beef jerky into your gym bag instead!

Beef Jerky Nutrition Facts

So how healthy is beef jerky? On average, just one ounce of jerky contains around 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of fat – at just 80 calories!

If you’re trying to lose weight, health experts maintain that protein should account for 30% of your total daily caloric. This equates to about 150 grams each day for someone following a 2000 calorie diet. That may seem like a lot – but adding just two sticks of protein-rich beef jerky to your daily diet could get you almost a quarter of the way there!

Which Beef Jerky is Best for Weight Loss?

Not all beef jerky will help you lose weight. In fact, some varieties of the snack food aren’t very good for you at all. Of course, beef jerky is salty – that’s what makes it so tasty! However, the salty flavor can result in staggering sodium levels, depending on how the food is processed.

Too much sodium results in an unhealthy increase in blood pressure. The sodium forces your body to hold fluid, placing a dangerous burden on the heart that could potentially lead to a stroke or total heart failure.

If sodium is so bad for you, is beef jerky good for weight loss? Yes – but be sure to buy the right kind! The average bag of beef jerky is around four ounces and contains 1600-2000 milligrams of sodium… which is close to the daily recommended limit.

For this reason, don’t pick up the first jerky you see sitting at the cash register display of a convenience store. Instead, search for beef jerky at a grocery or health food store. There are fresh, low-sodium varieties available… you just have to find them! Read the labels of all the packages and select the beef jerky that is lowest in sodium.

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13 thoughts on “Is Beef Jerky Good For Weight Loss?

  1. This is very interesting. I did not know that beef jerky would be a good snack for someone who is on a diet like myself. I LOVE beef jerky. I am glad however I read all the way through… I would have been one of those who went to grab the ones by the cash register.

    Thank you for sharing this. I am sure this is new news to most people who are trying to lose weight.. but don’t want to snack on fruits and veggies all the time.

  2. Thanks for your article, beef jerkey is something I have liked and eaten since I was a kid. I was not eating it for the health benefit, rather because I enjoyed the energy boost it gives…

    The sodium is of concern nowadays, so I do look for the brands that are low-sodium or even have moved to other jerkeys (like turkey) which seem to have less (at least the brands I buy)…

    When I hear criticism of beef jerkey, normally it is the sodium mentioned….Also there are those that say having a fruit or other low calorie snack such as caroots, celery, etc. is better…

    I am a carnivore lol, so although I do like to have fruits and veggies as a snack, having a stick or two of beef jerkey is always something I like too!

    Reading about this makes me wonder what innovations have taken placewith this product over the years…i.e. low sodium I know about, but little else. The packaging and marketing seem to have changed a lot, but the basic product it self…not so much!

    1. You are right about the sodium levels Dave – there are many brands out there that aim at low sodium levels so I suggest sticking to them ( if possible! )

  3. Really? This is excellent news! I’ve been looking for food matches to my dark beer, so this could be perfect! Now, I just need to cut out the beer and I’ll be doing very well…

    You mentioned sodium levels – is there a particular brand you recommend, or a way to get around the salt factor?

    1. There was a brand recommended to me a couple of weeks back but I’ve completely forgotten the name of it! I’ll pop back on here later with the name when I dig it out!

  4. Beef Jerky for weight loss :o) That might sound crazy to a lot of people, but not to me!:o)
    It is actually a fact that you will lose weight even if you eat “unhealthy” thing as long as you BURN MORE CALORIES THAN YOU CONSUME… Simple as that, right?

    But to do it in the best and healthiest way possible is another story!

    Thanks for this post

    /John

  5. Hi Chris,

    I would have never thought of beef jerky being for diet simply because of the sodium that is in it. I really try to eat as little of sodium everyday as I possibly can so I have always skipped the jerky. However, I have not thought about looking for it in health food stores and certainly looking for kinds that are not the mass produced brands at check out lines will probably be better.

    I will say that I loved having jerky when I went hiking this past summer. It was a great snack to fuel on right before going out and right after coming back. But it was home made and not high in sodium. This is definitely something to consider.

  6. Beef jerky seems to always be my “go-to” snack when I am out in the field. I really think the sodium is what gives it its flavor, and I understand how important it is to monitor sodium intake. So I bought a dehydrator last year and started making my own. I prefer making it than the store-bought ones because I can control what and the amount I use of any ingredients. I also have control on the type of meat. I do mostly wild deer — tastes awesome. I still have yet to venture into other kinds of meats for jerky (i.e. bison). Thanks for sharing all the useful information on the importance of protein in our diets. It sure is needed to build muscle and to tone up. And for females, not to worry, we won’t get big and masculine like the guys due to our lower testosterone, so it’s okay to add protein to your diet.

    1. HI there Norma,

      A mate of mine in Chicago actually makes his own as part of his diet – he thinks the same as you…he likes to control the ingredients! If I’m honest with you – the homemade options usually taste a little better anyway!!!!

  7. This is fantastic, I’ve been using beef jerky for my cutting for a few years now. I’m glad to see someone finally talking about it as many fitness fanatics overlook it’s benefits.

    I think I might just be lucky though, my family hunts all winter, we make our own venison jerky and it gives off an excellent taste (Deer meat is fantastic).

    The only problem I have is not having the nutrient facts for how much sodium is in each serving…

    What do you suggest?

    1. Oh your family hunts all winter Kurtis? Sorry, I’m not really a fan of killing animals in this way but each to their own!!!

      As far as the sodium levels go – that’s a tricky one really (it’s down to mother nature!). How do you prepare or store the meat? Is it salted?

      Sorry that I can’t give more information than this – I’m not that clued up on deer meat! 🙂

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