Beef jerky is a great snack option for diabetics. Traditionally, when considering if beef jerky is good for managing diabetes, many would say no. Highly processed meats with excess sodium and a high sugar content don’t adequately support a diabetic diet. Luckily, it’s easy to find beef jerky that contains simple, high-quality ingredients that support a healthy lifestyle. Minimally processed, nitrite-free beef jerky is a great snack for diabetics. 

Beef Jerky

Now, let’s dive into the specifics.

What is diabetes? 

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts the way your body converts food into energy. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is a condition in which the body’s blood glucose is too high. There are two different types; Type 1 and Type 2. 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks itself resulting in the pancreas producing very little to no insulin. This causes blood glucose levels to become very high. Type 1 diabetes usually becomes apparent early in life and comes on fast. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not fully understood. It is not hereditary but you are more likely to develop it if a close family member has it. Treatment involves insulin injections. 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes typically comes about gradually and later in life. It is when your body does not use the insulin that the body does produce effectively or it stops producing sufficient amounts of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is often tied to being overweight. Treatment often involves lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating healthy. 

What is the best diet for managing diabetes?

When making dietary decisions, recommendations for managing diabetes vary based on the type of diabetes you have. That being said, according to the American Diabetes Association, there is no magic food or diet for diabetes. Focusing on nutrient dense-foods that will help manage your blood sugar levels is the way to go. Paying attention to nutrition labels and ingredient lists at the grocery store is a great idea to ensure that you’re buying food items that contain healthy and minimally processed ingredients. 

For Type 1 diabetes, it is often recommended to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day because it makes blood sugar easier to monitor. For type 2 diabetes, a balanced diet is ideal to reduce insulin resistance and prevent any blood sugar spikes. The keto diet can work well while managing type 2 diabetes. However, it is not recommended for type 1. That being said, a high protein, sugar-free snack like beef jerky is ideal for both types of diabetes. 

Is beef jerky compliant with a diabetes-friendly diet?

During the cooking process, moisture and fat are removed from the meat, leaving only 1-3% of the original fat content. Beef jerky is not only an excellent lean protein source but it also has a low glycemic index which will keep you satisfied without spiking your blood sugar. Beef jerky also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals making it a highly nutritious snack option that’s beneficial for overall health. See the vitamin and mineral content is a one ounce serving of beef jerky below.

  • Zinc: 21% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B12: 12 % of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the DV
  • Folate: 9% of the DV
  • Iron: 8% of the DV
  • Copper: 7% of the DV
  • Choline: 6% of the DV
  • Selenium: 5% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 4% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 3% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 3% of the DV
  • Niacin: 3% of the DV

Keep reading to find our top healthy beef jerky picks for a diabetes-friendly diet.  

1. Original Beef Jerky

Old Fashioned Original Beef Jerky

For a classic, our old fashioned beef jerky is a delicious option. It’s thick and dry with a steak-life flavor. For those who prefer a simple flavor, this is a very approachable option. It features all natural ingredients and great macros that are in line with a diabetes-friendly diet. With 16 grams of protein and 0 carbohydrates per serving, this is a great on-the-go snack option to keep you satisfied all day long. 

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 2.5g 
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 490 mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein 16g

Shop: Old Fashioned Original Beef Jerky - $6.99

2. Carne Seca Limón con Chile 

Limón con Chile Beef Jerky

For a delicious bite featuring savory chile and bright citrus, our limón con chile from our Carne Seca line is a must try. The Carne Seca line is inspired by the diverse culinary tradition of our hometown of Downtown Los Angeles. The Limón con Chile is tangy with just the right amount of spice. The best part? It’s high in protein and low in calories, making it the perfect snack for managing diabetes. 

  • Calories: 100
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 16g

Shop: Limón con Chile Beef Jerky - $6.99

3. Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky 

Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky

If you are a spice fanatic looking for a healthy and tasty snack option, look no further than our hot & spicy beef jerky. It’s thick and dry with a pop of crushed red pepper flakes. For the ultimate zing that allows you to stay in line with your diet needs, this is an ideal option. 

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 490 mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 15g

Shop: Hot & Spicy Beef Jerky - $6.99

4. Carne Seca Hatch Green Chile

Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky

Another favorite from our Carne Seca Line, our hatch green chile is thick and dry with smokey green chiles and a tang of vinegar. Just because you’re consuming snacks with simple ingredients doesn't mean you need to abandon flavor. This flavor explodes in your mouth in all the best ways. This healthy jerky is a great low calorie, high protein snack option with just 80 calories and 13g of protein per serving. 

  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 410mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 13g

Shop: Hatch Green Chile Beef Jerky - $6.99

5. Sea Salt & Pepper Beef Sticks 

Sea Salt & Pepper Beef Sticks

Looking to switch it up from traditional beef jerky and still stick to your dietary needs? We’ve got you! Our sea salt & pepper beef sticks are made from 100% beef mixed with bold black pepper and sea salt. They are a wildly delicious, low calorie snack. 

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 420mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 6g

Shop: Sea Salt & Pepper Beef Sticks - $6.99

6. Flamin’ Hot Beef Sticks

Flamin' Hot Beef Sticks

A spicy take on our sea salt and pepper sticks, our flamin’ hot beef sticks have the perfect level of spice. We mix 100% beef with a bold combination of jalapeno, cayenne, and habanero peppers. Just because you’re eating healthy, doesn't mean you can't have fun. Definitely give these a try!

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 6g

Shop: Flamin' Hot Beef Sticks - $6.99

7. Machaca Jerky Chew

Machaca Beef Jerky

For an even more convenient snacking option, look no further than our machaca jerky chew. This finely shredded beef with salt and pepper flavor is the perfect on-the-go option and is also great to sprinkle on top of all your favorite dishes. Watch out, you might get addicted!

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 490 mg
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 16g

Shop: Machaca - Jerky Chew - $6.99

8. Health Nut - Keto Jerky Box 

Keto Beef Jerky Box

For a special assortment of everything mentioned on this list, cut to the chase and grab our Health Nut - Keto Jerky Box. You’ll have plenty of high protein, sugar-free snacks to choose from no matter where you are. 

Shop: Health Nut - Keto Beef Jerky Box - $42.99

Bottom Line

If you’re diabetic, minimally processed beef jerky like ours is a great snack option that’s both diet compliant and offers a wide variety of health benefits. Whether you're seeking an energy boost, muscle growth or simply a mouthwatering bite, our sugar-free beef jerky checks every box. Need more diabetes friendly snacks? Read our Packaged Snacks Guide for Diabetics here.