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Old 06-27-2007, 07:52 PM   #1  
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Default Delicious or Dangerous? Beef Jerky!

Hello all - I hope this is the right place to ask a nutrition question!

I have always been a huge fan of beef jerky; I used to enjoy most any kind, though nowadays I buy nothing but those long, thin sheets of Arizona Jack's Giga Bite Beef Jerky (HOT, of course!). It's absolutely delicious and it LOOKS pretty lean, to me.

I finally emailed the company asking for the nutritional facts, and I suppose it's not far off from what I imagined it to be... For one whole slice (about 40 grams or 2.33oz) it has 124 kcalories, 1g fat (.4 sat, .4 mono), 26mg cholesterol, 12g carbs (5.6 sugars - it has a pretty sweet flavour), and of course 16.4g protein. Unfortunately, although I knew the meat was cured with salt, I didn't really realize how MUCH salt! One slice has 872mg sodium!

Granted, I don't need to eat a whole slice in one sitting, but I've been nibbling maybe 1/3rd a slice at a time between meals to keep my metabolism awake and kicking - and to give it that teeny tiny boost truly spicy food is supposed to - but now I am wondering if the sodium levels make it too unhealthy for my heart for the amount I eat. Even without the jerky, I eat a fairly high-sodium diet to begin with (trying to keep the shopping $$ down).

I do try to drink in excess of 112oz of water per day, so I dearly hope that counteracts some of that sodium, but I just don't know. Could someone with more experience in sodium and the heart give me their opinion? Worth it, or no?

And thanks very much in advance.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:47 PM   #2  
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That does seem like alot of sodium. How about switching to something lower? The jerky I buy is less than half sodium per serving and all natural. (I wont mention the name here because I am also a distributor).
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #3  
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My son, who is also dieting, has it for lunch once a week with a salad. He absolutely loves beef jerky, and had it for dinner tonight instead of lunch, lol. It is 200 calories for the whole package, but I will admit, I haven't checked the sodium content of it. Although, I think once a week isn't too bad, considering he eats pretty healthy otherwise.

Do you eat this daily, or once or twice a week?
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:22 PM   #4  
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I would say it really depends on how much sodium you are eating throughout the rest of your day. I used to steer clear of frozen entrees (like Lean Cuisines) because of the sodium content, but then I noticed that on most days, that meal was where I got the bulk of my sodium for the day since I didn't eat many other prepared foods and I never cook with salt or add salt to any of my foods (I bought a single little plastic salt shaker almost 3 years ago when I first moved into my own apartment, and I have yet to even use it up!).

The daily recommended maximum for sodium for the average adult is 2400mg. If you're having 900mg from the jerky, that still leaves quite a bit of breathing room if you don't eat anything else packed with sodium in the same day. Have you tried tracking your daily food with something like Fitday or The Daily Plate where it will keep a total of your sodium intake?
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:03 AM   #5  
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Thanks for the replies.

Judy: If it's alright with you, could you PM me a little info about your jerky? As much as I love this kind, I have to be open to trying something new or I'll never lose this weight. Who knows, I may like it even better!

Steel: I'd say I go through a couple of servings per week (spread out through 3 - 5 days), though sometimes in the past I have kind of "binged" on it and had a whole serving in one day. >.< Oops!

Jilly: While I don't eat many frozen dinners - or any, in the past year or two - I do eat a lot of the kind of unhealthy, sodium-packed foods that are a result of an extremely cheap grocery bill (Chef Boyardee, store-brand hamburger helper, hot dogs, chicken or beef broth made from bouillon cubes, etc). I've only just really buckled down on this health trend, so I haven't bought any fruits or veggies except some celery for between-meal snacking... so for NOW, I think it's safe to say I eat a lot of sodium.

I'm using FitDay yesterday I added up my total sodium. If I take the info provided for a 2000 calorie diet and convert it to a 1500 calorie diet, I ate less than the maximum acceptable amount yesterday (so less than 1800mg), but now I can't remember the actual total. I've looked around, but I can't seem to find a way to look at the total sodium intake for a previous day on the online version of FitDay. Do you know how?

Also, not entirely a related question, but since I've started counting calories I've noticed there are often days with I'm 300 - 500 calories short of my personal daily minimum (1500 for me) - do you ladies and gents have any favourites for packing in those last few calories before the day's over? Please let it not be milk or another liquid, I can hardly move or rest a moment without dashing for the restroom, I'm drinking so much water.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:19 AM   #6  
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Wow, I never knew beef jerky was so healthy (minus the sodium haha)

Additional calories... I never had a problem packing them in I get hungry... A LOT... and it's not just appetite/head hunger; it's "GRAWRRRR my stomach feels like it's being grabbed by the evil grip of DOOOOM!!!" hunger. I usually eat 1,400-1,800 calories a day and sometimes still feel hungry, but refuse to eat more because I want to continue losing weight. Anyway... Suggestions... yogurt? A high protein bar? Some fresh fruit (fruits do have calories, more than vegetables do)? A small salad (the dressing will give you 50-100, even if it IS light/lowfat)? Some nutritious, not-super-carbolicious cereal?
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:03 PM   #7  
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Ah, perfect, thanks for the suggestions Nightengale! I think protein bars sound perfect, since I'm gonna be cutting back on jerky a bit anyway, and I can take them to go, too. Time to go shopping for some healthier food, methinks.

Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:13 PM   #8  
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I discovered a great "energy" bar this week. The Snicker's Marathon Bar in Double Chocolate Nut. It tastes quite reasonable, has 150 calories, 5g fiber and 10g protein. So many of those bars have ridiculously high calories, so I was pleased to find one that has decent calories, decent taste and decent portion size. And I can always use the extra fiber and protein.
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:40 PM   #9  
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I need to get that Snicker's Marathon Bar! MMMM, it sounds DELISH.

And you're quite welcome, Ethereal. Glad my suggestions could help. I ate some jerky today... as long as you drink plenty of water, sodium can't be that bad for you. I'm trying to find a low sodium beef jerky as a substitute, because it really is a great source of protein.
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Old 06-28-2007, 08:27 PM   #10  
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I LOVE jerky, and luckily don't have to watch sodium at all! Even though I have mild high blood pressure, I tend towards low blood sodium levels. Partly because my blood pressure med tends to deplete sodium levels slightly, but mostly because I don't like salt. I don't cook with it, I don't add it, and there are very few high sodium foods that I like. Even finding a jerky that isn't too salty is difficut, so I make my own. I used to use low sodium soy sauce as the main ingredient in the marinade, but then I found that at an oriental grocery store you can buy really good soy sauce for like $3 for a quart or more, so now I buy full strength mushroom soy sauce (my favorite) and dilute it half and half with a bottle of Annie's Natural marinades (The Smokey Campfire Marinade is the best, and extremely low sodium). Then I add about 3 ounces of liquid smoke, a pureed onion, and a bit of brown sugar (or a combo of Splenda and brown sugar).

I hear you can make jerky in a 200 degree oven, but I started with the Ronco dehydrator my parents gave me maybe 10 years ago, and started making jerky in it. Since everyone in the family always wanted me to make jerky, I hinted that a great birthday gift would be a dehydrator with a fan like the American Harvester brand if my parents and sisters wanted to chip in (They were about $70 dollars at the time). The got the hint (and I was immediately hit up for jerky).

I use it for jerky so much, I probably couldn't use it for anything else. If I dried fruit in it, it would probably come out tasting of jerky. The only drawback is if you have pets, especially dogs. When my husband and I had a miniature dachshund, he even learned to SPELL jerky. We would freeze the trimmings (fat or gristle) and give them to him occasionally as a treat. If we said jerky, he'd start whining and jumping, so would spell it. During the 6 hours it would take to make the jerky, he would sit under the table that was holding the dehydrator and whimper.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:06 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
The only drawback is if you have pets, especially dogs. When my husband and I had a miniature dachshund, he even learned to SPELL jerky. We would freeze the trimmings (fat or gristle) and give them to him occasionally as a treat. If we said jerky, he'd start whining and jumping, so would spell it. During the 6 hours it would take to make the jerky, he would sit under the table that was holding the dehydrator and whimper.
Haha, how cute! We have an aussie cattledog/shetland sheepdog mix and I know SHE wouldn't mind if we made our own jerky (provided we share a bit with her!). The cats would be constantly underfoot, too.

I used to make my own jerky about 4 - 5 years ago, too. I had a dehydrator but I don't remember how quality it was - I just remember being excessively nervous about the result, because I wasn't 100% sure it was done enough and kept wondering how safe it was to eat.

It may be worthwhile to pick up a new dehydrator (the old one got left behind somewhere) because your recipe sure makes me want to experiment, and that's the surest way to get healthy food - make it yourself~

And thanks for the tip about the Snickers Marathon Bar, too, baffled.
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