Is Beef Jerky Keto

Can I eat beef jerky on keto?Is Beef Jerky Keto Friendly


You are following a ketogenic diet and generally, you do not snack.

But there are times when you are rushing around and need an easy on the go snack or watching a game and want a low carb snack to nibble on.

So now you are asking whether you can snack on jerky?


Short Answer



The simple answer is that jerky when made the traditional way, is a good healthy high protein snack with no carbohydrates!

But it may also be made from low quality processed meat with added sugar. So, it is not always low carb or appropriate for “clean eating”.

Now, let’s talk jerky – what is it? What are the macros and what should you look out for when buying jerky?

What is Jerky?

Traditionally beef jerky has been made by cutting lean meat into strips which are then left to dry out in low temperature. In its simplest form, only salt is added to the meat.

The reason for drying the meat is to preserve it.

So, when it is made following this traditional method, it has no carbohydrates.


Not all jerky is made this way and that is the reason why not all jerkies are keto-friendly. Some are made from inferior meat and with added sugar.

There is also a new breed of jerky that has been specially designed to support a keto lifestyle. These products have little or no carbs, but also have more fat than traditional jerky.

For the sake of this discussion let's refer to these new products as beef sticks.


Traditional Beef Jerky

The macros per 1 oz of beef jerky varies between the different brands.

On average for a good quality old fashioned jerky you are looking at... 

  • Calories - 80 - 90 
  • Net Carbs  -  0 
  • Fat  -  2 to 3
  • Protein  -  15

Beef Sticks 

As mentioned earlier, these sticks are a newer product line that has been specifically created to be keto-friendly.

Not only do they have zero carbs, they also have more fat than traditional jerky.

  • Calories - 80 - 90 
  • Net Carbs  -  0 
  • Fat  -  6 to 7
  • Protein  -  6 to 7

These are the macros for healthy jerky without any added sugar. You'll want to avoid the ones with added sugar and fillers as much as possible.

Glycemic Index (GI)

When beef jerky is made without added sugar it has no carbohydrates, so will have no impact on blood glucose levels. 

The same goes for healthy keto-friendly jerky sticks.

It is not clear what the impact will be of jerkies that are made with highly processed meat that also contain cereals and sugar. 

Stick to clean meat products without added carbs and GI won't be a factor.

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Best Sources

Make it Yourself!

If you want to know exactly what you are eating, it is always best to make it yourself and it is not hard to do.

But you will need some equipment like a dehydrator...

Always start with good quality grass-fed beef and if you are looking for perfectly sliced meat, then you'll need a cutting board and a slicing and carving knife.

Oh, and if you are looking for a recipe, try this one.

Buy it Ready Made!

With the increasing popularity of the ketogenic diet, more and more products are created to cater for the needs of ketoers.

And low carb, sugar-free beef jerky with a fair amount of both protein and fat is no exception.

Here is of our favorite traditional jerky -

... and our favorite sticks...

Or if you'd like a bigger choice, then check out our best beef jerky review.

How to Choose

Let's first have a look at traditional jerky vs keto-friendly jerky sticks and then we'll consider what to look out for when you decide which jerky is good for your low carb high fat diet.

Which Jerky is Best for Keto?

Traditional jerky is good as a low carb high protein snack.


On its own it doesn't have the macros of the perfect keto food.

So, the sticks that are made to have higher fat content is the better choice if you are looking for a snack with keto friendly macros.

On the other hand -

If you want to make it yourself, it will be easier to make the traditional type. Whereas the sticks are the easier option if you want to buy them ready made.

What to Look Out For?

Here are a few things we look out for when we choose a good beef jerky.

  • Made with grass-fed beef
  • Contains no sugar or dextrose fillers
  • Contains no cereals or grains
  • Beware of any marinates as they may contain hidden sugars
  • Contains no MSG

So yes, always look for jerky made from quality grass-fed beef and as few other ingredients as possible.

Can I


In conclusion to the question - Is traditional beef jerky keto?

The answer is yes.

However, on its own it is a high protein snack - So always keep an eye on your total macros.

And to the question - Are beef sticks keto?

The answer is yes and generally their fat content is as high as the protein content.


All types of jerky are not keto as many brands have added sugar and grains and should best be avoided. Always read the labels carefully! 

And in case you want to ask about other jerkies like lamb or bacon 

The answer is they can be, but always check the labels for hidden ingredients and to confirm the carb count.

And the same goes for biltong.

Keto Stamp of Approval?

Beef jerky is keto approved and so are beef jerky sticks.

Jerky is a healthy protein snack that is especially useful as an "on-the-go" low carb snack and the sticks are created to support a ketogenic diet.

We Need Your Help

If you want to know if any of your favorite snacks are keto, then please leave us a comment.

We'd love to incorporate your questions into our - "Can I eat this on my keto diet?" series.


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Noline is a therapeutic reflexologist who converted to the keto lifestyle after losing 55 pounds without counting calories or starving herself. She is a Professor Tim Noakes and the Nutrition Network student and feels compelled to share the low-carb lifestyle with as many people as possible. She does this at Essential Keto, where she shares resources, recipes, and experiences while working on losing that last 10 pounds.