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.