Last Updated on May 22, 2021 by Ed Joven
Beef jerky has protein, iron, and zinc. But it should not be consumed in large amounts because of its high sodium.
Beef Jerky is one of the most popular snacks. It is very popular among astronauts and soldiers because of its long shelf life. This snack is also considered a source of protein, and they are delicious to eat if processed properly.
They are rich in calories as well, so you will not feel hungry for a long time after eating a big chunk of beef jerky.
However, there are some questions regarding the health benefits of beef jerky. In this article, we will try to answer all those questions and clear any confusion about this popular snack.
What is Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky is a thin slice of beef that has been marinated in a curing salt solution. These thin slices are hung on a stainless steel sheet and smoke-dried for 2.5 to 5 hours.
Because of this long drying process, the beef dries up and becomes hard and chewy. This way, the slice of beef can remain fresh for a long time without the need for freezing.
If the beef jerky is properly preserved, it will have a shelf life of about 2 years. The salt solution stops bacteria from forming in the beef and prevents it from rotting. If you are craving for a good piece of jerky, visit https://www.fatcatjerky.com/ and pick any of their latest jerkies.
What Does Beef Jerky Contain?
Beef jerky is high in protein and calories but has low fat compared to regular beef. This is due to the way jerkies are processed. When the slice of beef is dried, some portion of the fat melts or burns away by turning in CO2.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, normal one-ounce beef jerky will contain about 116 calories, 9g protein, 3g carbs, 7g fat (of which 3g is saturated), 2.5g sugar, and 506 mg sodium.
Now, you might wonder why it has such a high amount of sodium. Well, this is because it was marinated in a salt solution which increases the sodium content by a large amount.
Is Beef Jerky really Healthy?
Well, since beef jerky has a good amount of protein but very low fat and carb content, it is considered a good source of “lean protein” and a healthy snack.
If you are someone who wishes to enjoy the benefits of meat without gaining too much weight then beef jerkies are good for you.
Lastly, because beef jerkies have a high amount of protein. A single ounce or a few pieces will give you the necessary protein you need to survive for three to four hours. It also eliminates the feeling of hunger.
What to Look for in a Beef Jerky
Since there are both good and bad sides to beef jerky, we should consider few factors when choosing it.
Based on the ingredients, there are some types that are less harmful to the human body. First, you need to look for organic meat.
This means the meat should have minimal processing, the cow should be grass-fed, and the jerky should have an organic certification. The ingredients used in preparing the beef jerky should only be beef, sugar, water, and salt.
You need to avoid processed beef and beef jerkies that have nitrates or MSG (Monosodium glutamate).
Some Alternatives to Beef Jerkies
Since beef jerkies have both advantages and disadvantages, many people might be skeptical about consuming them. If you feel that they test the same way, you can try out some alternatives that offer the same amount of nutrition minus the negative sides.
Protein bars that are low on sugar are a great source of lean protein, but will not have the exquisite taste of beef. Hard-boiled eggs also have similar benefits, but they are high in cholesterol, so you need to watch out for that.
If you want to get healthy food, try trail mix, which is a mix of granola, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes candy.
How to Make Jerkies at Home
You can control the amount of sodium by making beef jerky at home.
You can take a lean cut of beef, top round, or sirloin tip and cut it into thin slices. Use your preferred sauce, herbs, and spices to marinate it and then, pat it dry to remove the excess marinade.
Place the strips of meat in a dehydrator for about four to five hours at approximately 72 °C.
You can also use an oven to get the same result. Once you are done, leave the jerkies at room temperature for another 24 hours before packaging. If you are not going to eat it in a week, then it is best to put it in the freezer.
Beef jerky has a lot of protein, zinc, and iron but a good amount of sodium as well. Consuming too much sodium can be harmful to anyone.
Overall, beef jerky is a healthy snack, but you should only consume it in limited portions. A better alternative would be to prepare jerkies at home with a very low amount of sodium.