• Hailee Harris

Is Vegan Alternative Jerky Good and Healthy?

More and more people are becoming vegan for various reasons, whether it be animal rights, dieting purposes, or even allergies. Nevertheless, becoming vegan can pose a struggle. It is hard to cut out all food sources containing animal products that you may find yourself craving overtime. Lucky for you, as veganism becomes more popular, so do new types of vegan products. Foods that revolved around meat are now being marketed as vegan, like vegan jerky.

What Is In Vegan Jerky?

Vegan jerky stems from all types of ingredients. Hearing the words “vegan jerky” probably makes you immediately think of soy jerky, but that is not the case with all vegan jerky! Many types of vegan jerky stem from fruit bases. There are banana, coconut, jackfruit, and pineapple jerkies. However, these seem to be more of a fruit leather than a beef jerky substitute.

There are also vegan jerky options for those craving that salty, sweet, and even spicy, chewy snack. Some vegan jerky brands base their jerky from oddities like sea kelp, portabella mushrooms, and as you already know, soy. These options provide a similar consistency and texture to original jerky. In addition to the plant based ingredients, vegan jerky comes in a variety of flavors. These include hickory smoked, classic BBQ, teriyaki, pepper and salt, and chipotle, to name a few. Vegan jerky is made very similarly to regular jerky. The base, meat or vegan, is dehydrated and then cured with a salt solution.

But Does It Taste Good?

Well, it really depends on the brand you choose. A few fan favorites from Women's Health Magazine include Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky Soy Texas BBQ, Kelp Jerky Sesame, And Nori Sea Salt, Louisville Vegan Jerky and Noble Jerky. These jerkies have ranked high due to their flavor, protein and their similarity to beef jerky. Even better, you can order them on Amazon. Whatever type of jerky you choose, they are all great snacks for road trips, biking, or hiking!

Is Vegan Jerky Healthy?

According to nutritionists, vegan jerky is healthier than normal jerky, but is not necessarily healthy overall. Vegan jerky is cholesterol free unlike regular jerky. It it also free from heterocyclic amines, which are cancer causing compounds that develop as meat cooks. Yet, both vegan and normal jerky contain very high amounts of sodium. Regardless of where the sodium comes from, too much is never good for your body. One of the popular vegan jerky brands, Louisville Jerky, contains 500mg of sodium per 1oz. Given that the bag contains a total of 3oz, and say you consume the whole bag at once, that means you’ve consumed 1,500mg of sodium, which is pretty close to the recommended intake each day about 2,300mg! Jerky also has a lot of added sugar, but you can escape that no matter what you eat.

Nutritionists also claim that the worst part of vegan jerky is the added smoke flavor. When real meat is smoked, it releases carcinogens. Although liquid smoke is compressed and condensed, it still contains those carcinogens that smoke does, but not as much as actual smoked meat.

The Takeaway

All food is fine in moderation. By reading the nutrition labels and verifying the ingredients, you can easily find out which brands use real ingredients, and which use additives and preservatives. When it comes to vegan jerky, it supplies more protein than real jerky and is ultimately a lot healthier!

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