Healthiest Beef Jerky You Can Buy Online
Looking for the healthiest beef jerky you can buy online? If you're anything like us, you have 99 reasons to love beef jerky, but feeding your body junk sure isn’t one of them.
Healthy beef jerky snacks will help you replenish proteins and electrolytes after a good sweat. What's more, clean and natural jerky helps you follow a low-carb diet responsibly. Even just the simple fact that jerky is one of the most insanely delicious snacks on the planet is enough to choose jerky as your go-to snack!
Like any other food, jerky comes in a wide variety of brands that span the gamut for healthiness and quality.
While you can find excellent jerky that will liven up your taste buds, crush your cravings, and provide much-needed nutrients, a few sneaky ingredients can easily turn it into a carb-loaded, additive-laden and sodium-packed snack that doesn’t come even close to the lean, protein-heavy jerky we all love.
At LOLJerky, we’re here to help you take a hard look at what really matters when it comes to choosing the healthiest beef jerky. After all, we curate healthy jerky subscription boxes filled with premium brands dedicated to natural ingredients!
Please note: This post should not be used as medical advice. For medical advice according to your personal circumstances and needs, please consult your registered medical practitioner.
What does the healthiest beef jerky consist of?
Moderate sodium levels
When looking to buy the healthiest beef jerky, one of the most important things to look into is the amount of sodium in the jerky.
Sodium has long been demonized as a health hazard, and is perhaps the biggest reason why some maintain that beef jerky isn’t healthy. By definition, jerky contains a substantial amount of sodium -- the curing process it’s made through requires adding salt in order to draw out moisture. This is what makes it resist spoilage as microbes cannot grow on meat that has been treated this way.
It’s easy to just write sodium off and turn your nose up at any product that contains a higher amount of it, but that’s only one side of the facts. It’s equally important to note that sodium is not all bad -- a moderate sodium intake of maximum 2,300 milligrams contributes to healthy nerve impulses, muscle function, and other important bodily functions.
Therefore, while it’s true that excessive sodium consumption can lead to high blood pressure and compound kidney and heart diseases, going too far to the opposite extreme can also harm several aspects of your health, including low blood pressure and impaired nerve cell and heart muscle activity.
Of course, how much sodium you should consume or avoid depends a great deal on your personal circumstances and health issues, and should be consulted with your registered medical practitioner. Overall, though, moderation is key in many great things in life -- and as one of the absolute best things in life, jerky is no exception.
Even the healthiest jerky will contain sodium, as it is essential for the drying process, but it will ideally not have more than 450 mg of sodium per ounce (at most 20% of the recommended maximum daily intake, according to the American Heart Association). This leaves enough room for sodium intake from your other meals throughout the day, without having to forego your beloved jerky or put your health at risk.
If you’re physically active, you might also consider saving your jerky for a post-workout snack, when the sodium will actually help you to make up for all the salt you lost through sweat -- or even eat it prior to the workout to make good use of sodium’s fluid retention qualities and maintain hydration throughout your physical exercise.
High protein levels
As protein is one of the top reasons why people reach for a bag of jerky, the healthiest beef jerky will contain a generous helping of protein. Since beef has a lot of protein in general, and the jerky curing process removes excess fat, jerky typically has a generous amount of it already -- 9 grams per ounce is pretty standard -- but make sure to check the nutritional label. The best quality and healthiest brands of beef jerky will often have even a few grams more.
Quality beef (the healthiest cow = the healthiest jerky!)
If you’re looking for the healthiest beef jerky to buy in 2021, make sure you’re choosing 100% grass-fed jerky. It’s important to see the “100%” because all U.S. beef cattle start on grass, but at some farms they are then led to feedlots and finished with grain or soy.
As animal welfare expert Temple Grandin points out, this doesn’t necessarily mean the animals are treated badly, as the animal’s happiness and well-being largely depends on how dry, spacious, and shaded the feedlot is, and cattle really enjoy the taste of grain.
However, when it comes to our own health, it must be said that 100% grass-fed beef is definitely a healthier choice, as the beef is much lower in saturated fat but significantly higher in healthy omega-3 fats than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also higher in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and the healthy fatty acid CLA than its grain-fed counterpart.
At the end of the day, the kind and ethical treatment of cattle is a complex issue that depends on a great deal of factors, not limited to just the food the animals eat. We care about the quality of not just the products we sell but also the wellbeing of the animals that make these products possible.
These values are at the forefront of any relationships and collaborations we form with ranchers and farmers, and we encourage you to put those same values first in your own actions as well. Continue to research the brands you support and encourage farmers to use ethical and transparent cattle-raising practices.
Little to no added sugars
The healthiest beef jerky not only moderates sodium, it also minimizes sugar. As mentioned above, jerky is largely protein and will thus naturally contain very low amounts of carbs. However, sugar is often added to flavor the jerky -- and as you might expect, the sweeter the flavor, the more sugar may be added.
Since meat doesn’t have any carbs, a few grams of sugar are alright, especially when you need to restock your glycogen stores after a hard workout -- but, there is a healthy limit, and when it comes to jerky, 8 grams of sugar per ounce is usually plenty. Sweeter flavors like teriyaki and honey chipotle are more prone to being loaded with added sugars, but you should carefully check the nutritional facts of any beef jerky -- even Original flavors can surprise you!
Of course, with some flavors, you just can’t go without a little sweetness, but even then, the healthiest beef jerky foregoes processed corn syrup and instead uses natural ingredients such as organic cane sugar or pineapple juice to sweeten the jerky.
Find the healthiest beef jerky to buy in 2021
Now that we’ve looked at what makes the healthiest beef jerky, let us explain how we apply this to the brands in our curated LOLJerky subscription boxes. While each bag of jerky we have may differ slightly, you can expect jerky that is high in proteins, moderate in sodium, low in fat and added sugars, and made of 100% grass-fed, kindly treated beef.
For comparison, here are two nutritional labels and ingredient lists of one of the jerky brands we love to work with, Think Jerky: their Classic flavor (left) and the sweet Sriracha Honey (right). As you can see, despite the sweetness of Sriracha Honey, it is no higher in carbohydrates than the classic, and in both cases, the few grams of carbs they do contain come from brown cane sugar.
Both are comparatively very low in sodium with only 260 mg or 11% of the recommended maximum daily intake, but oh-so-deliciously high in protein at 12 grams per serving.
Think Jerky - Classic
Think Jerky - Sriracha Honey
Ingredients: 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Water, Brown Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Orange Concentrate (Oranges), Granulated Garlic, Onion Powder, Black Pepper
Try this healthy jerky brand in our monthly subscription box!
Ingredients: Free-Range Turkey, Gluten-Free Tamari, Brown Cane Sugar, Sriracha Powder, Honey, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper
Try this healthy jerky brand in our monthly subscription box!
The bottom line
If you’d like to buy the healthiest beef jerky, the number one thing to keep in mind is your own health -- make sure you are fully aware of any dietary restrictions you may have and any health issues you should take into account when choosing what to eat.
There should be no shortcuts when it comes to health, and with it becoming a top priority for increasingly more Americans, some companies take advantage of trendy phrases such as “grass-fed” (without being 100% grass-fed) which may mislead consumers into thinking their beef jerky is healthier than it really is.
When you choose what brands to support, make sure to get to know the company and its practices.
Discover the healthiest beef jerky brands with LOLJerky
If you’d like to have a steady supply of healthy beef jerky which complies with the tips explained above, try LOLJerky's monthly jerky subscription box.
With your LOLJerky subscription, you will receive up to 8 bags of delicious, gourmet, and most important of all, healthy beef jerky. Why choose between great flavor and excellent health if you can have them both, conveniently delivered every month right to your door?
We understand how important trust is and so we’d like to make this easier for you. You can find information about our jerky on our FAQ page, and for any other questions, you’re welcome to email us through our Contact Us page.
Research - sources
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