Lose Weight With Beef Jerky! | Beef Jerky Diet Blog

Lose Weight With Beef Jerky!

Can you really lose weight with beef jerky?

Yes, I've done it.

I started the beef jerky diet weighing at 220 pounds, and have lost 70 pounds on it over an 18 month period. I had no surgery, no pills, no special diet food.

But as funny as it sounds, the beef jerky diet is less to do with beef jerky, and more to do about controlling your appetite and exercising.

What's interesting about beef jerky...

1. It's very low in fat. Beef jerky has to be very low in order to prevent it from spoiling. A typical package of jerky (about 4 ounces) has about 4gm of fat.

2. It's very low in carbs. Beef jerky would actually have about 0 carbs, if not for the small amounts of sugar that manufacturers put into the flavoring. A 4 ounce bag of jerky will typically have about 10-20gm of carbs.

3. It's high in protein. Protein is part of the magic that causes the body to boost its metabolism. Lean protein is better, which beef jerky is. It's takes more work for the body to burn this type of energy, therefore it raises the metabolism to make this happen.

The biggest negatives with beef jerky dieting...

1. Sodium. A typical 4 ounce bag of jerky will have about 1600-2000mg of sodium. That's pretty much the limit of what a healthy diet should have. If you were to eat 2 or 3 bags of jerky, then you're really pushing it. To counter this, drink plenty of water, and sweat through exercise.

2. Low nutrients. Jerky is low in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that are very vital to bodily functions, healthy cells, metabolism, and creating energy. It's low in many other vitamins and minerals.

3. Artificial preservatives. Namely Sodium Nitrite. Sodium Nitrite has been linked to colon cancer and lung disease. It's probably just fine if eating in small amounts. But if you're eating 2 or 3 bags of jerky each day, then you're subjecting yourself to danger. To counter this, look for preservative-free jerky. There's plenty of it out there, here's a link.

4. Fiber. That is, beef contains no fiber. You'll likely become constipated. Take fiber supplements, or a probiotic drink daily.

My Beef Jerky Diet Plan

1. I spend four days a week on the beef jerky diet. The other three days I eat normal meals. In those normal meals, I try to eat foods low in fat, but not necessarily low in carbs. I also try to eat in smaller portions.

2. On beef jerky diet days, I'll eat about 8-12 ounces of beef jerky each day. But I'll spread it around the clock. I'll start with about 2-4 ounces in the morning, just to kick start the metabolism. I'll eat 2-4 more ounces in the afternoon, and another 2-4 more ounces in the evening. That works out to about 750-1000 calories total in beef jerky.

3. Supplment your nutrients. I recommend drinking 2-4 cans of vegetable juice (low sodium V8 is what I drink), specifically for the potassium. If you don't like the taste of vegetable juice, find other foods to boost your potassium, like bananas, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes. Choose high potassium foods that are low in fat. Use the USDA Nutrient Database to learn which foods are high and low in potassium. You can't rely on dietary supplement pills to boost your potassium, because no one makes a potassium supplement with more than 2% of the RDA. But do take a supplement pill for all the other vitamins and minerals.

4. Fiber supplements. Jerky is very low in fiber, and you'll soon discover constipation. Take some kind of fiber supplement. I rely on drinking kefir, a type of drinkable yogurt that's very high in probiotics, to help regulate the digestive process. You can also take Dannon Activia which is comparable. Or, whatever you can do to add bulk, and maintain regularity.

4. Drink lots of water. Beef jerky contains a lot of sodium. Do drink plenty of fluids to help flush that sodium out. I'll drink a couple of small bottles of water in between the V8 each day, or diet soda.

5. Exercise. You didn't think you could lose weight without exercising did you? I started by walking about 1 mile per day, about 3 to 4 days per week. I've sinced increased that to 2 miles, and now I jog for about 1 mile and walk 1 mile, every day. I also do sit-ups and push-ups, and some light weight lifting using hand-weights, all of it at home. This keeps the metabolism high, and of course burns calories.

6. Eat lots of vegetables on non-beef jerky days. I try to eat salads for the vitamins and fiber, and try to go easy on the salad dressing. I like to put salsa on my salad, because it offers the salt that salad dressings have, but doesn't have the fat.

7. Don't get bored! That's my biggest culprit in weight gain. When I get bored, I tend to eat. So I look for ways to keep myself busy. Either take a walk outside, mow the lawn, pull some weeds, ride my motorcycle around, even take a nap.

8. Keep a calendar above your weight scale, and use it log your weight. Get a calendar big enough to write your weight on each day. If you don't see any weight loss, then this serves as a red-flag that you're not doing enough.

9. Write a blog, like this one. All it takes is a handful of loyal readers to cheer you on, and that will put pressure on you to keep going, and stay true to yourself.

The bottom line is that there's no magic about beef jerky. The beef jerky diet is actually no more different than any other diet. It's simply relies on you being disciplined enough to stick to it, and to exercise daily.

I can't stress enough the importance of exercise. I tend to believe that my weight loss had more to do with daily exercise, than it did about my dietary intake.

My Story

I was always a skinny kid growing up, at least until I got married at age 24. Then I started ballooning out. I went from about 130 pounds to as high as 240 pounds in my late 30s.

My goal now is to get to 150 pounds.

Money was a contributing factor to my weight gain, mostly because I did pretty well in my career which encouraged my wife and I to dine out. At one point we were dining out every day.

Boredom is a big problem. I now work for myself, and work from home. I'll work for several straight hours, and then take a couple hours off, and then work some more, then take another couple hours off, etc. In those off hours, I get bored, and my mind turns to food. So to counter this, I have to find ways to keep myself busy. Exercising, doing yard work, riding my motorcycle, playing a computer game, are all ways to keep my mind focused on other things.

It wasn't easy breaking the old habits. I probably spent a few years training myself to break these habits and control the urge to eat. It was tough to do, but over those few years, I was able to come down from 240 pounds to 220 pounds. At that point, I came up with the "Beef Jerky Diet", and a mission to get to 150.


April 30, 2008 at 2:47 PM Anonymous said...

How long have you been on the diet now?

July 14, 2008 at 10:04 AM Anonymous said...

Have you made your own jerky at home? Try this product its fantastic! www.himtnjerky.com

July 22, 2008 at 8:39 AM Unknown said...

20 grams of carbohydrates is a lot to get in food with 4 grams of fat when there's almost no fiber in those carbs. I enjoy beef jerky as much as the next person, but I wouldn't classify most commercial beef jerky as low carb.

July 22, 2008 at 9:19 AM Steve Johnson said...

Yeah, but beef jerky tastes so damn good!

July 22, 2008 at 10:30 AM Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
August 21, 2008 at 5:55 AM Anonymous said...

"20 grams of carbohydrates is a lot to get in food with 4 grams of fat when there's almost no fiber in those carbs. I enjoy beef jerky as much as the next person, but I wouldn't classify most commercial beef jerky as low carb."

Thats because most beef jerky doesn't have 20 grams of carbs in a bag. For instance I used it to supplement my diets when I am cutting up... the stuff I buy has less than 10 grams of carbs per 4 oz bag. It's original flavor and pepper flavor stay away from mesquite and teriyaki.

November 18, 2008 at 8:56 PM Anonymous said...

beef jerky tastes just as delicious as steve looks :)

November 18, 2008 at 8:56 PM Anonymous said...

beef jerky tastes just as delicious as steve looks :)

December 18, 2008 at 9:53 AM Captain Cocktails said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
June 16, 2009 at 4:34 PM Anonymous said...

Just curious, what is your favorite beef jerky? I am not going on a beef jerky diet but it is a big part of my diet since I am wanting to cut back on calories and I want a way to make sure I don't lose a lot of protein. It can be expensive in stores (up to $6 or more for a little 3oz) not on sale.

June 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM Steve Johnson said...

If you want really good jerky at a good price, get Big John's Jerky, the original variety. It's $5.95 for a 4oz bag, and free shipping. http://www.bigjohnsbeefjerky.com

June 17, 2009 at 9:04 AM Unknown said...

If you're going to eat a lot of beef jerky, you're better off buying a dehydrator and making your own. It will pay for itself in the first batch and you can have whatever flavor you want.

July 19, 2009 at 10:54 PM Anonymous said...

I use jerkey to get me through those tough plateaus (mine is 160lbs). I twice-boil it because I believe it will remove a lot of the sodium but I really don't know- it seems to anyway. Anyone have any data on that?? I don't eat it all day but it definitely has its uses!

September 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM Anonymous said...

Cattaneo Bros. Beef Jerky & Sausage
769 Caudill Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(800) 243-8537

New website coming

Best jerky I have found... ask them for a catalog

October 23, 2009 at 8:15 AM Anonymous said...

Here is the recipe my family has used for years!! So yummy and totally afordable!:
1/2c. soy sauce
1/2c. worst. sauce
2 tsp. accent
2 tsp. seasoned salt
2/3 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2/3 tsp. pepper

Stir well. Completly cover meat strips with mixture. Keep in cool place over night.

Place strips on bare oven racks 6-8 hrs. at 150 degrees.

Cool and store in zip-loc bags.

3 lb. meat cut in 1/4" thick strips (cut with fiber)

November 11, 2009 at 11:13 AM Anonymous said...

Hi Great News, the Cattaneo Bros. Website is now up!

January 12, 2010 at 9:28 AM Anonymous said...

New Braunfels Smokehouse, in New Braunsfels, Texas, has THE BEST jerky, EVER! find it on the internt.

January 14, 2010 at 8:34 AM Pondlady said...

Definitely make your own !!! Loose the Accent in the recipe...MSG causes headaches and irratability.

I mix Low sodium soy and Liquid Smoke ( apple or hickory ) in my marinade. I also loose the extra salt. The low sodium soy has more than enough. Remember it will concentrate during the drying process.

January 11, 2011 at 10:16 AM Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I love the site and the blog. I am just starting where you were, but am closer to 300lbs. I am a week into a strict diet/exercise plan and feel a lot better, and also will incorporate beef jerky into it. I find your story and site inspiring, and look forward to keeping up with your progress! Thanks.

January 11, 2011 at 12:15 PM Steve Johnson said...

Anonymous @ 10:16AM, best wishes to your diet/exercise plan!

March 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM Anonymous said...

Dude you should try that recipe above. Buy eye of round roast to make it. If you buy it on sale you can get a pound of jerky for eight dollars

May 31, 2011 at 12:19 PM ml white said...

I'd never heard of a beef jerky diet so I Google'd it and here I am. I love beef jerky and thought it'd make for a nice dinner supplement, which is where I tend to eat the most in the day and highest carbs. As a gestational diabetic, my meals had to be under 20g of carbs.. so a small bag of jerky would make sense to me. My favorite jerky is found at Menards.. its Cattleman's Cut Lowery's Big Beef.. the pepper flavoris my favorite and the 3.5oz bag is 21g carbs and 3.5g fat. And the best part..its only $1.97 a bag.
Thanks for your Blog..and all the useful information.

July 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM Hollypop01 said...

Well actually you can make your own beef jerky in dehtdrator no salt nessasary. I get a,three pack of organic beef for 14 dollars its fresh delicous and affordable. If you want good recipes contact me on youtube. Puffyclouddd1.

July 20, 2011 at 2:42 PM Hollypop01 said...

did I mention I get my organic beef at casco.

January 1, 2012 at 8:17 AM Anonymous said...

I am beginning this diet as of today and hope for the best. I plan to succeed in this adventure.

January 25, 2012 at 6:39 PM Anonymous said...

I have a couple questions: If I get a dehydrator, how long should I put the beef in there. Also, what cut of beef should I get for jerky?

February 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM Anonymous said...

Kirkland Signature in Costco Item #6406 "STEAK STRIPS' extra thick cut Slice from Whole Top Ground 98% Fat Free, Gluten free. Serving size:1 oz (28g) calories 60, Fat 0.5 g,Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg ,Sodium 330 mg, total Carbohydrate 5g , Sugar 4g, Protein 9g. It's tender bite.

May 18, 2016 at 1:50 PM Unknown said...

THE BEST: Ray's Own Brand Beef Jerky. Their original favoring contains no sugar just : beef, water, cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, garlic and celery powder!! It is BEYOND DELICIOUS!!! It is thick cut and moist and I can't go anywhere without some in my purse...i'm actually eating some right now!

October 13, 2016 at 6:14 AM Unknown said...

How are you doing and what is your current weight

February 9, 2017 at 2:56 PM Unknown said...

Hi Steve, I know you wrote this way back in 2008 so I don't even know if you check this blog anymore for comments, but I wanted to see if you still do your "beef jerky diet" and if so, I wanted to recommend you try Trader Joe's Buffalo Jerky. I personally find beef jerky to be a bit dry and tough but this buffalo jerky is moist and also is both hot and sweet at the same time. It's so delicious and is even leaner than beef jerky, "weighing in" at just 210 calories for the whole 3.5 ounce packet. I have the opposite problem of most folks: I am an underweight ectomorph female and so I eat the jerky to Add some extra protein and good calories to my diet. Anyway, I enjoyed your post and just wanted to say Hi and recommend the buffalo jerky. It's so Good!

March 6, 2017 at 4:49 AM Unknown said...

People don't realize how easy jerky is to make. I have the store slice a roast of top or bottom round about 3/8 inch thick(3 or 4 roasts when on sale!)I cut off the fat and connective tissue, then marinate in brown sugar soy sauce worcestershire black pepper and crushed red pepper.I might add a little sea salt. Then I throw it in the dehydrator. Take it out while still rubbery and put it in a container so the moisture will even out for a couple days. The crispy pieces will soften and the under done pieces will dry up to give you a nice texture.

Post a Comment