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Don’t Waste Your Money: Beef Jerky Gets Hip

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Beef jerky and Slim Jim used to be found primarily in truck stops and convenience stores. But Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s now carry beef jerky. Sales of these beefy treats are up almost 13 percent in the past year. Consumer Reports just checked out all kinds of “beef to go” to see whether any are worth buying.

Meat sticks have more fat, calories, and saturated fat than beef jerky. Beef jerky is made from lean cuts of meat, and it’s cooked over low heat for a long time. So the end product comes out very low in fat.

But all of the beef products are loaded with sodium. 7 Select Original has the most, with 600 milligrams per serving. If you eat the whole bag, which is pretty easy to do because it’s pretty small, you’re eating 1,800 milligrams of sodium. That’s more than the American Heart Association recommends per day.

As for taste, three beef jerkies rated best. They are: Oh Boy Oberto Original, Pacific Gold Original, and Market Pantry Original from Target.

But keep in mind that although it might be good once in a while, it’s not something you should have regularly.

As for the beef jerky from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, they have less sodium than the others, but in Consumer Reports’ tests, they weren’t the best tasting.