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Beef vs. Turkey: Which Jerky Is Healthier For You

Beef vs. Turkey: Which Jerky Is Healthier For You

When people experiment with different types of jerkies, they are often trying to find a taste they prefer. However, there is so much more to jerky than just how it plays on your taste buds. You can also experience jerky’s versatility and nuances in the different ways the foods affect your body. Does this jerky give you more energy? Does this jerky improve your immune system?

At the end of the day, you’ll benefit from knowing how healthy some jerkies are, compared to others. In this article, we will take on the topic of beef vs. turkey: which jerky is healthier for you?


A calorie is a unit that measures the amount of energy an item of food provides. People tend to think of high-calorie foods as unhealthy, but that is not exactly the case. Calories are entirely fine if you use them for their intended purpose: to give you the energy necessary to burn them off. If people eat an abundance of calories and stay inactive, this will lead to weight gain over time.

Turkey jerky tends to be marginally higher in calories than beef jerky. Again, this does not necessarily mean that turkey jerky is less healthy. It only means that if you want to eat turkey jerky and maintain a healthier day, you will have to put your body through more strenuous activity to make it work.


Although a small amount of fat is necessary to help the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, too much can lead to weight gain and other health problems. One of the great advantages of jerky—whether it’s beef, turkey, or any other meat—is that it generally tends to be a low-fat snack.

However, the type of fat that does exist in jerky is worth your attention. Both jerkies contain saturated fat, a fat with high proportions of fatty acid molecules. This type is less healthy than other types of fat, like unsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats. Thankfully, though, these come in small doses in beef and turkey jerky, with turkey being slightly lower in fat.


Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that helps you digest food. It is present in every cell of the body and produces vitamin D from sunlight. The body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but we can also receive more by eating meat, cheese, egg yolks, and other foods. Too much cholesterol can create plaque in the blood, which could eventually block your arteries.

Turkey jerky is marginally higher in cholesterol than beef. However, since most cholesterol comes from fat, and both options are low in fat, there is not a lot of cholesterol to be had from either of them.


Sodium is an area where neither beef nor turkey jerky is innocent. Both snacks contain an equally high sodium content, which is a side effect of the meat curing process. A high sodium diet could lead to problems with heart health, blood pressure, and an increased risk of stroke.

If you want to eat a lot of jerky, regardless of the type, it is best to counteract the high sodium by drinking lots of water. This will dilute the salt, which will lower your risk of experiencing adverse health effects.


Carbohydrates, like calories, provide the body with energy throughout the day. They are present in grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and, of course, jerky. As with any nutrient that energizes the body, it is only healthy insofar that it propels people to burn off the carbs and build muscle through movement.

Turkey jerky has twice as many carbs as beef. Again, it is perfectly fine to eat a high number of carbs if you have an active lifestyle that will allow you to burn it all off. People who have a high intake of carbs and a sedentary lifestyle may become obese, develop type 2 diabetes, or even develop some cancers. But if you are looking for some carbs to help you through a run, you may want to buy turkey jerky online.


Depending on the brand of jerky, both beef and turkey contain some amount of sugar, though turkey tends to have more. As with any food, sugar in moderation is fine. However, if you eat a lot of sugary jerkies, you may experience some adverse effects.

Sugar in certain doses can cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even some cancers. Jerky, beef or turkey, is far from the most sugary snacks on the market. However, if you wish to pick the less sugary of the two, beef will be the better option than turkey.


One of the great benefits of jerky is its protein value. Protein, a complex molecule, wears many hats in your body. It accomplishes most of the work necessary to repair body tissue, allow for metabolic reactions, and coordinate bodily functions.

Turkey jerky is marginally higher in protein than beef. One of the benefits that protein offers to jerky as a whole is that it digests very slowly. This means that when you eat jerky, you will stay fuller for longer, which will reduce the likelihood of overeating throughout the day.


Iron is a mineral that plays an essential role in our health. In the body, one finds it mostly in red blood cells. It eliminates fatigue, assists in immune system function, boosts hemoglobin, and treats anemia. Beef jerky contains twice as much iron as turkey.


Ultimately the question of which jerky is healthier for you, beef or turkey, boils down to personal preference. Some people have different needs that require different dietary supplements. People low on iron might benefit from beef jerky, people who want more protein should try turkey, and people who want fewer carbohydrates should try beef jerky. The back and forth can go on and on.

The most important thing is that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of eating both foods. Now that you have a better picture of why you should or should not eat certain jerkies, you can go forward making smarter decisions about your body and how you choose to fuel it. As always, stay open-minded, stay adventurous, and see what works for you.

Beef vs. Turkey: Which Jerky Is Healthier For You

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