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Is beef jerky low carb? Best Keto brands and homemade recipe

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If you’re wondering, "Is beef jerky low carb?" the answer is: Yes, it can be! This staple snack is a great option for people adhering to a low-carb or ketogenic diet. However, not all jerky is created equal. The nutrition label is crucial when choosing jerky products as some may contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. We will dig deeper into this, but first, let's establish what makes a great keto-friendly snack.

low carb beef jerky is in a pile

What Makes a Great Keto-Friendly Snack

To maintain a state of ketosis, a metabolic state where your body uses fat as its primary fuel source, keto dieters need to follow a high-fat diet and limit their carbohydrate intake. A perfect keto snack should have a balance of healthy fats, adequate grams of protein, and a low number of carbs. It should also be free of added sugars and artificial preservatives, which can not only kick you out of ketosis but also impact your overall health.

Beef jerky ticks most of these boxes. It's a convenient snack packed with protein and healthy fats, perfect for your gym bag or a quick afternoon bite. The key is to look for low-carb beef jerky options, which will offer high-quality fat and protein without the added sugars.

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Understanding Beef Jerky and the Ketogenic Diet

Most traditional beef jerky is dehydrated lean cuts of beef seasoned with a blend of spices. When made correctly, it should be a high-fat food item with zero carbs. But unfortunately, many store-bought jerky brands, like Jack Links, sneak in added sugars and artificial ingredients, raising the total carbs.

To avoid these pitfalls and meet your keto goals, seek out beef jerkies with an ingredients list as simple and natural as possible. Brands like People’s Choice Beef Jerky are a good start as they produce zero sugar, high-fat options that align with dietary needs of keto dieters.

Now, let's take a closer look at some of the best beef jerky options in our comparison chart:

Jerky BrandsNet CarbsProteinAdded Sugar
People’s Choice Beef Jerky0g16gNo
Keto Beef Jerky1g15gNo
Jack Links6g10gYes
Traditional Beef Jerky3-6g12-15gYes

As seen in the chart, some jerky options are better suited for a keto lifestyle than others. The best part is that most of these brands also offer delicious beef jerky flavors, such as black pepper and garlic, without the added sugars.

Tips for Choosing Keto-Friendly Jerky

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect snack that fits your keto and low-carb diet:

  1. Read the Nutrition Facts: Always check the serving size, grams of sugar, and net carbs on the nutritional information panel.
  2. Inspect the Ingredients List: Look for jerky made from grass-fed beef and simple ingredients such as sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  3. Avoid Sugary Marinades: Soy sauce and brown sugar are often used in marinades, which can increase the number of carbs.
  4. Look for Sugar-Free Options: Brands with sugar-free beef jerky or zero sugar options are the best for keto dieters.
  5. Consider Homemade Jerky: Making your own beef jerky ensures you control the ingredients and can keep the carb count low.

Making Your Own Keto Beef Jerky

A great way to ensure you're eating the right kind of beef jerky for your diet is to make it at home. It's a fun process and allows you to experiment with flavors and cuts of meat. Here's a simple, delicious beef jerky recipe that's perfect for the ketogenic diet:

Supplies Needed:

  1. Dehydrator or an oven with a very low setting
  2. Lean cut of grass-fed beef, such as flank steak or sirloin tip
  3. Sharp knife
  4. Mixing bowl
  5. Plastic wrap or zip-top bags for marinating

Keto Beef Jerky Recipe


  • 2 lbs of lean grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Freeze your beef for about an hour; this makes it easier to slice. Cut it into thin slices, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Combine the soy sauce or coconut aminos, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the beef slices to the marinade and ensure they're all coated. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Set your dehydrator or oven to its lowest setting (around 160 degrees F). Dehydrate the beef for 4-6 hours, flipping once, until it's fully dried but still pliable.
  5. Allow the jerky to cool before storing. Enjoy your homemade keto beef jerky as a tasty snack, guilt-free!

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 70, Total Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 290mg, Total Carbohydrates: 1g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 0g, Protein: 12g.


Q: Is beef jerky a good snack for weight loss?

A: Yes! High-quality beef jerky is an excellent choice for weight loss because it is low in carbs and high in protein, which can help keep you feeling full longer.

Q: Is there a difference between beef sticks and beef jerky?

A: Beef sticks and beef jerky are similar but not identical. Beef sticks usually contain more fat, making them a high-fat diet option. However, some may contain more artificial ingredients, so always check the ingredient list.

Q: Can beef jerky help with heart disease?

A: While beef jerky is a good snack, it's not a miracle cure for heart disease. Following a balanced diet rich in lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the best way to support heart health.

Q: How much beef jerky can I eat on a keto diet?

A: The amount of beef jerky you can consume depends on your daily carb allowance. Always check the nutrition facts to ensure you’re staying within your daily limits.


So, is beef jerky low carb? Absolutely! With careful selection or by making your own delicious homemade jerky, beef jerky can be a perfect keto snack that's both satisfying and nutritionally balanced. Always remember to read the nutritional information and ingredient list to ensure you're choosing the healthiest option for your keto lifestyle. Happy snacking!

Key Takeaways

  • Beef jerky can be a low-carb, keto-friendly snack if it’s made with simple ingredients and no added sugars.
  • Not all beef jerky is created equal. Always check the nutrition label and ingredient list to make sure it aligns with your dietary needs.
  • You can easily make homemade beef jerky to ensure it fits your keto goals perfectly.
  • The best jerky for keto dieters is high in protein, contains healthy fats, and is free from artificial preservatives and added sugars.
  • Keto beef jerky is not just a tasty snack; it's a great way to meet your protein needs while keeping your carbs low.

In conclusion, when you ask, "Is beef jerky low carb?" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" With careful scrutiny of labels and ingredients or by creating your own delicious homemade jerky, beef jerky can indeed be a superb keto-friendly snack. It meets the trifecta of high fat, low carbs, and good protein that's central to the keto diet, helping you maintain your state of ketosis.

Jerky, either as traditional slices or in the form of meat sticks, is a versatile staple for those following a low-carb or keto lifestyle. With its long shelf life and compact form, it’s not only a healthy snack but also a convenient one. Jerky snacks, including keto jerky and meat snacks, are excellent keto-friendly options, keeping your blood sugar levels stable while delivering health benefits associated with a balanced diet.

Moreover, they are packed with good fats which are essential for a high-fat diet like keto. The best keto beef jerky can offer a nutritious burst of energy, whether you’re in the middle of a workout or seeking a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

While the grams of carbs can vary, many store-bought and homemade jerky options keep the carb count to a minimum, making them perfect for meeting your keto goals. Keto snacks, like jerky sticks, can be especially handy for on-the-go keto dieters.

So, rest assured that beef jerky is indeed a viable, delicious, and beneficial part of a ketogenic diet. Whether you buy it from a trusted brand or make it at home, it's an excellent way to keep your hunger at bay while maintaining your nutritional balance.

Remember, achieving your health goals is all about making smart, sustainable choices. By incorporating low carb, high fat, and keto-friendly snacks like beef jerky into your diet, you're doing just that. Happy and healthy snacking!

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