From its high protein-to-fat ratio all the way to its salty, savory aftertaste, jerky has been a popular "guy" food for quite some time. However, not all jerkies can be trusted. Although many brands of jerky contain products with similar calories (80-100), fat (less than 4 grams), saturated fat (less than 2 grams) and protein (9-13 grams), there are some key details such as sodium, sugar, and MSG that distinguish healthier jerkies from less healthy ones. Here are three jerkies that rise above the rest when it comes to nutritional standards.
Not only does Three Jerks Jerky feature a quality cut of jerky – a filet mignon cut – but it's low in sodium, too. . Three Jerks’ Memphis BBQ jerky contains 140 mg of sodium (just 5.8% of the recommended daily sodium intake.) Just compare that to some name brand jerkies, which often feature over 400 mg of sodium. Additionally, Three Jerks Jerky does not contain MSG or added sodium nitrates.
Perky Jerky products distinguish themselves in that they contain no nitrates, no preservatives, and no added MSG. According to Molly Kimball, RD, sports dietitian with Ochsner's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans, “Many [types of jerky] are made with added nitrites, which have been linked to heart disease and certain types of cancer.” She added, “The no-added-nitrites is a selling point.”
Though Perky Jerky jerkies have many nutritional positives, they are a little high in sodium. Perky Jerky’s jerky with the lowest sodium is its Hot and Bothered Jerky (350 mg). However, Kimball noted, “[A high sodium intake] can actually be a benefit for some, particularly athletes who lose large amounts of sweat and need additional sodium.” As a result, for active people, this type of jerky can actually be beneficial.
Krave jerkies, like those of Three Jerks and Perky Jerky, do not contain any nitrates. Additionally, it is made with a lean cut of meat. Of all of the Krave jerkies, its Pineapple Orange Beef jerky is the most nutritious. It only contains 220 mg of sodium, which accounts for 9% of the government recommended daily value. Just keep in mind that since the sugar is a bit higher than other brands (with 9-11 g of sugar per serving), Kimball notes that the Pineapple Orange Beef jerky could be a good post-workout snack.