When looking for high-protein snacks on the keto diet, one satisfying option is beef jerky. However, not all beef jerky is equal!
There are many factors that can make beef jerky keto-friendly or not keto-friendly, so pay close attention to the ingredients.
Below, you will see why Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is not keto-friendly.
Reason #1 — The Source of Beef
One of the first factors to address regarding Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is whether the beef comes from a grass-fed or grain-fed source.
Grain-fed cattle are most often fed a diet comprised of corn and soy, both of which are not keto-approved foods. They are also given antibiotics and growth hormones which are certainly not what you want in your food.
Grass-fed beef is an excellent source of healthy fat with fewer calories than grain-fed beef, and it also has higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This can lead to better weight-loss results.
Jack Link’s Beef Jerky does not claim to be from a grass-fed source, so you must assume that it is sourced from grain-fed beef.
Reason #2 — Added Sugar
Second, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky has both sugar and brown sugar added as some of the first ingredients in it. The sugar and brown sugar significantly contribute to the 6 grams of sugar in a 1-ounce serving size.
Sugar not only raises blood sugar levels, but it causes inflammation in both the gut and the brain.
In addition, sugar slows weight loss efforts and has no nutritional value.
Clearly, you do not want the carbohydrates that you do consume on the keto diet to come straight from added sugars.
Reason #3 — Soy Sauce and MSG
Third, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is flavored with soy sauce, which contains wheat and soy.
Wheat and soy are both foods to avoid on the keto diet. Wheat contains too many carbohydrates to allow your body to go into ketosis, not to mention the gluten-induced inflammation it can cause.
Soy is known for being high in phytoestrogens, which can alter hormone levels in the body. It also is high in phytates, which hinder mineral absorption in the body.
In addition, soy sauce is known to have MSG in it as an additive. While Jack Link’s website says that they do not use added MSG, it does not say that there is no MSG in the beef jerky.
Many believe that MSG can actually take you out of ketosis because it increases insulin production. MSG has also been associated with obesity, headaches, depression, and a host of other chronic health issues.
A good alternative for soy sauce that is keto-approved is coconut aminos, but Jack Link’s Beef Jerky uses common soy sauce.
Reason #4 — Hydrolyzed Corn
The fourth reason that Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is not keto-friendly is that it contains hydrolyzed corn protein.
As you likely know, corn is a high-starch vegetable that is not recommended for the keto diet.
However, hydrolyzed corn protein is even worse because it contains high levels of MSG.
So, again, although the website states that there is no “added MSG” in this beef jerky, MSG is certainly included in the ingredient list.
Reason #5 — Maltodextrin
Reason number five that Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is not keto-friendly is because one of the ingredients is maltodextrin.
Maltodextrin is made from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat, and all of these ingredients are not recommended for the keto diet.
Maltodextrin is also a high glycemic additive, and it certainly adds to carbohydrate intake. Therefore, it should be avoided on the keto diet.
Reason # 6 — Pineapple and Citric Acid
The sixth reason not to enjoy Jack Link’s Beef Jerky if you are eating a keto diet is the use of both pineapple powder and citric acid.
Pineapple is not an approved fruit for the keto diet because of it’s extremely high sugar content. Citric acid has been known to take the body out of ketosis, so it is best to avoid it, too.
Reason #7 — “Flavors”, etc.
The seventh reason that makes Jack Link’s Beef Jerky not friendly with the keto diet is the use of “flavors”, yeast extract, and beef stock.
Anytime a company uses the word “flavors”, it makes you wonder what ingredients have been lumped into that bucket.
Unfortunately, much of the time, “flavors” is a way to hide many unwanted ingredients like MSG or other synthetic chemicals.
Yeast extract is another tricky ingredient because it is high in glutamates, just like MSG. As previously discussed, these ingredients can be harmful to your health.
The beef stock also could contain ingredients that are not keto-friendly, and since the specific ingredients are not listed, there is no way to be certain that it is keto-friendly.
In summary, there are only 3 out of 13 ingredients in Jack Link’s Beef Jerky that are allowed on the keto diet: beef (although not grass-fed in this case), water, and salt. When searching for a keto-friendly beef jerky, keep this in mind: the fewer the ingredients, the better!