Question about jerky
I feel like I've been hearing from a lot of people that they use jerky (dried meat) as a way to get more protein in their diet. I guess it's a way to get more protein without all the fat that can come with meats, particularly saturated fats.
I've always shunned jerky because I'm afraid it's loaded with sodium and preservatives. Is that not the case? I'd be more than happy to add that in as a snack, especially because high-protein snacks keep me fuller longer, but I don't want to wreck my diet by snacking on something full of salts and other unnatural things.
Does anyone know if there are better or worse brands I could keep an eye out for? Or is this a bad idea altogether? Thanks for the info!
My first and only brand of jerky was a bison jerky I got at Whole Foods, unfortunately the name escapes me. It's pretty pricey so I don't get it all that often any more, it's about $10 a bag but it's delicious and comes in a few different flavors like peppered, teriyaki, and sweet'n'spicy. That particular brand preserves its meat in soy sauce and sugar, so it's completely natural.
Jerky of all types can be high in sodium, but the trade-off with protein usually makes it worth it. If you drink a lot of water it can balance out the salt. What you want to watch out for with jerky is nitrates/nitrites, since these are the same chemicals found in air pollution and are linked to heart disease. They're the reason I try to avoid cured meats — they are almost always preserved with synthetic nitrates.
There's a big difference between "natural style" beef jerky and processed jerky sticks like slim jims. Natural jerky is extremely lean. You just have to read the ingredients to find the ones that are lowest in preservatives. The salt is an issue, and I don't eat jerky every day, but it's a good treat food for me. Part of the issue is I love to drink Coke with jerky, and I don't need the pop, so I don't eat the jerky as much as I used to. Lately I'm addicted to Greek yogurt to get my protein fix.
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