Text reading 'A little jerky a day keeps the doctor away?'

Is Beef Jerky Good for Diabetics?

Can diabetics eat beef jerky? As a diabetic, is beef jerky good or bad for you? 

If you’re a person living with diabetes who happens to love jerky, these are important questions.

Whether you’ve been living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes for a while or you’ve been recently diagnosed, figuring out the best foods for your diet can feel like navigating a minefield. 

You want to eat the regular foods you love, but you also have to balance your diabetic health routine. 

Beef jerky is a classic snack that’s tasty and full of benefits. It’s made with few ingredients and lacks the preservatives found in many other foods. Is this seasoned, dehydrated, meaty treat the perfect snack for someone struggling to manage their blood sugar?

[Related: Is Beef Jerky Healthy?]

Beef Jerky and Diabetes: Pros and Cons

Like everything else in life, it’s best to enjoy beef jerky in moderation. Diabetics have to be extra careful when planning meals and snacks, so let’s look at the pros and cons of eating this popular portable food. 

Pros of Beef Jerky for Diabetics

Most beef jerky enthusiasts rave about its convenience. It’s easy to carry and doesn’t require refrigeration or an insulated lunch box. You can stash it neatly in your purse, desk drawer or car console. 

People often get hungry on the go, and having beef jerky on hand can be a great way to fill up without making your blood sugar skyrocket. 

If exercise is part of your diabetes management plan, consider opting for beef jerky as your go-to workout snack — it’s low in processed carbs and chock-full of the protein needed to repair and build muscle. 

With beef jerky, you won’t experience the same energy dips and spikes that you might with other more processed snacks.

Many types of beef jerky have additional benefits. For example, beef jerky made from grass-fed beef is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great at keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Cons of Beef Jerky for Diabetics

We’d love to say that all beef jerky is good for diabetics, but it’s simply not true. 

Some beef jerky — particularly the cheap, poor-quality kind — can be loaded with sodium. 

Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, and diabetics definitely want to avoid the complications that accompany high blood pressure.

Additionally, if a beef jerky variety contains certain rubs or flavors, it might be high in sugar. 

When you have diabetes, it’s crucial to read the nutrition label on any beef jerky product. That way, you can check whether its sugar and sodium levels fall within your prescribed dietary needs. 

[Related: Is Beef Jerky Keto-Friendly?]

Making Beef Jerky Diabetic-Friendly 

If you want total control over what goes into your jerky, we suggest trying your hand at making your own — you can decide how much sugar and salt to use in its preparation. You can even make custom rubs and mix in your favorite flavors.

For info on where to start, check out our guide on How to Make Beef Jerky

Our blog is full of beef jerky facts and tidbits — from its history to a guide to jerkys made from meats other than beef.

[Related: What Is the Best Meat to Make Beef Jerky?]

Explore the Jerky Universe

Have more questions about how jerky might affect your health or diet? Read our Is Beef Jerky Healthy? blog for more information.

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