Manufactured or homemade beef jerky is a delicious, popular, and fantastic food snack. Also, making beef jerky or tender jerky is very easy. First, people prepare the beef jerky recipe and then they use lean cuts of beef. Then following the marinade recipe, they marinated it in marinade ingredients along with different sauces like low sodium soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, spices like red pepper flakes, black pepper, curing salt, garlic powder and onion powder, and some extra additives. Beef jerky recipes became a trendy home cooking item since it surfaced in the market during the "diet season."
When people were becoming obsessed with different diets, ground beef jerky provided them with solutions. Consumption of beef jerky allowed them to become a part of more than a single diet since it contains various nutritional and potential benefits. However, since every coin has two sides, beef jerky has certain disadvantages and advantages.
There is a dark truth behind beef jerky that increases its downsides. This article discusses the drawbacks and downsides of beef jerky whether manufactured or homemade jerky and introduces the concept of freeze-dried meat as its alternative.
What is Beef Jerky?
Beef jerky refers to a thin strip of beef cut by a sharp knife and dehydrated on dehydrator trays and salted for hours. The procedure is done over low heat until the meat is dried up completely to create this dry jerky. Since the cooker removed the moisture from the beef, it lasts longer and reduces spoilage. People can easily make their own beef jerky at home using the above recipe.
Properly dried jerky is highly delicious just like fresh meat when it comes to flavor and is a part of almost every diet. However, consuming beef jerky regularly in large portions has several side effects.
Downsides of Beef Jerky
Despite being nutritious and tasty, beef jerky has a salty flavor and contains certain substances which are not suitable for your health. Consequently, consuming beef jerky in large portions will affect your health and lead to various diseases. Some downsides of consuming beef jerky are:
- One ounce of beef jerky consists of 590 milligrams of sodium which is 25% of the daily consumption recommendation. Although sodium is required in your body to maintain muscle function and fluid balance, excess consumption might lead to problems.
- Sodium can increase the amount of blood in your blood vessels, increasing blood pressure.
- Beef jerky increases cholesterol in your body, which is harmful. One ounce contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat, whereas the daily intake limit is 13 grams.
- Beef jerky may have contamination with toxic substances, such as mycotoxins which professionals link to cancer.
The Dark Truth Behind Beef Jerky
* It Affects Mental Health
John Hopkins Medicine 2018 formulated a study in which they found a strong connection between beef jerky and other processed foods with mania—as per the study, consuming such food items leads to hyperactivity, loss of sleep, and euphoria, which causes manic episodes.
Researchers found out that these processed food items, such as beef jerky, contain nitrates that cookers use to preserve the raw meat, resulting in the episodes. The curing process of the flesh is the first process in the preparation of beef jerky, which either requires sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite. Therefore, adding sodium nitrite is essential since it affects the beef jerky flavor and colour and prevents bacteria.
* The Medical Community Links Beef Jerky to Cancer
In a report published in 2015, the World Health Organization declared that processed meat contains certain substances carcinogenic to human beings. For example, the report says that consuming around 50 grams of beef jerky regularly increases the risk of being exposed to colorectal cancer.
Death from colorectal cancer is pretty high and can be considered the second leading reason for cancer death among adults. A single ounce of beef jerky weighs 28 grams, so consuming more than two servings can be dangerous.
* Beef Jerky Causes Climate Change
It might be strange, but dried meat is partially responsible for changes in the climate. Around 2.5 pounds of beef is required to make a single pound of beef jerky. Studies also revealed that beef is one of South America's major causes of tropical deforestation.
Meat companies heavily destroy forests to create space for beef pastures. A 2019 report in The Guardian revealed that the Amazon Forest is also affected due to the beef market. Companies cut down thousands of hectares of the Amazon Forest every year to meet the demands of the meat industry in the world.
* Higher Chances of Death
According to a study by Harvard Health, Americans consume five servings of processed meat weekly. It is an alarming consumption rate since more than three servings every week increases the risk of death.
High processed meat such as beef jerky is associated with the risk of getting heart diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, affecting the mortality rate. In addition, beef jerky's saturated fat, sodium, and other preservatives jeopardize your health and increase your chances of death.
Is There an Alternative to Beef Jerky?
Freeze-dried meats are a healthier option and incredibly helpful than beef jerky as they contain no preservatives or additives and are fantastic for outdoor or home cooking. In addition, the No Rush freeze-dried beef uses raw New Zealand beef for its natural preparation.
Comparison Between Beef Jerky and Freeze-Dried Beef
- Beef jerky can last a few months to a year if the manufacturer seals the packaging. The shelf life also depends on the additives included during the preservation process. However, if you open the packaging, you must consume it within a week. On the other hand, freeze-dried beef cubes last for about 20 to 25 years.
- Freeze-dried beef requires minimal to zero effort to cook. If you want to become the best home cook, then choosing freeze-dried beef is the perfect option. Simultaneously, cooking beef jerky consumes a lot of effort and time.
- Beef jerky includes artificial flavouring and other preservatives which causes harm to your health. It leads to various diseases as well. However, No Rush freeze-dried beef cubes contain no artificial preservatives and instead preserve the original taste and colour of the beef.
No Rush Freeze-Dried beef Cubes are the perfect addition when you need a little extra healthy protein for your cooking. They are a healthy alternative to other types of preserved meat products as the product is 100% natural meat and New Zealand beef and contains no additives, preservatives or flavouring. Just rehydrate them for 20 minutes in water to achieve the best tender texture. You can add them to any stew or pasta sauce of your liking, absorbing the flavour and the porous structure gives you a unique beef flavour in every bite. This product is available in 30g, 60g and bundle packs.