why can't you eat beef jerky while pregnant
Food, Pregnancy, Reproduction

Why Can’t You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant?

Why Can’t You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant? Pregnancy is a time when women need to be extra careful about their diet and lifestyle choices. While there are certain foods that are highly beneficial for the health of the mother and the developing fetus, there are some that should be avoided altogether. One such food is beef jerky.

Beef jerky is a popular snack that is loved by many people. It is a convenient and tasty way to satisfy hunger pangs while on the go. However, pregnant women are advised to steer clear of this snack. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you can’t eat beef jerky while pregnant.

Why Can't You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant?

What is Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is a type of dried meat made from beef. The beef is usually cut into thin strips, marinated in a mixture of spices and salt, and then dried. The drying process removes the moisture from the meat, making it last longer without refrigeration. Beef jerky is a popular snack food and is often sold in gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets.

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Nutritional Value of Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a high-protein snack that is made from lean cuts of beef. It is usually marinated in a mixture of salt, spices, and preservatives and then dehydrated to extend its shelf life. A 1-ounce serving of beef jerky typically contains:

  • 116 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
  • 7 grams of fat
  • 3 grams of carbohydrates
  • 590 milligrams of sodium
  • While beef jerky is a good source of protein, it also contains high amounts of sodium, which can be harmful to pregnant women.

Is Beef Jerky Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, beef jerky is not safe to eat during pregnancy. There are several reasons why pregnant women should avoid eating beef jerky.

Risk of Listeriosis

Beef jerky is a high-risk food for Listeriosis, a type of food poisoning caused by Listeria bacteria. Listeriosis can cause severe illness, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Pregnant women are more susceptible to Listeriosis because their immune systems are weakened. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal issues.

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High Sodium Content

Beef jerky is also high in sodium, which can cause water retention, swelling, and high blood pressure in pregnant women. High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to a condition called preeclampsia, which can cause complications for both the mother and the baby.

Nitrites and Nitrates

Beef jerky is often preserved with nitrites and nitrates, which are chemicals used to prevent bacterial growth and add flavor. However, these chemicals can be harmful to pregnant women and their developing babies. Nitrites and nitrates have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and can cause developmental problems in unborn babies.

How to Satisfy Your Snack Cravings During Pregnancy

Pregnant women can satisfy their snack cravings by opting for healthier alternatives such as:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Greek yogurt
  • Hummus and pita chips
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Low-fat cheese

Alternatives to Beef Jerky

If you are craving a snack similar to beef jerky, there are several alternatives that are safe to eat during pregnancy. These include:

  • Dried fruits, such as apricots, cranberries, and mangoes
  • Trail mix
  • Roasted nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Veggie chips


Q. Can I eat beef jerky if it’s cooked?

A. While cooking beef jerky can kill some bacteria, it may not eliminate all the harmful bacteria present in the meat. It’s still best to avoid beef jerky altogether during pregnancy.

Q. Can I eat beef jerky if it’s homemade?

A. Homemade beef jerky may be less risky compared to store-bought varieties, but it’s still not recommended during pregnancy. The process of making beef jerky at home involves marinating and drying the meat, which can create an environment for bacteria to grow.

Q. Can I eat beef jerky in moderation?

A. While it’s true that consuming beef jerky in moderation may not cause any harm, it’s still best to avoid it completely during pregnancy to reduce any potential risks.


In conclusion, beef jerky should be avoided during pregnancy due to the risks associated with its consumption. Pregnant women should opt for healthier snack alternatives to satisfy their cravings and ensure the healthy development of their baby. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider about your diet and lifestyle choices during pregnancy to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your baby.

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