Are Slim Jim’s Healthy?
The short answer to this question is no, Slim Jim’s are not healthy. The longer answer involves the macronutrient facts included on the nutrition labels of Slim Jim meat stick products and the additives ConAgra, the maker of Slim Jim’s, include in their products. In the following, we will compare the macronutrients of the Slim Jim snack sticks and their meat sticks, plus examine some of the additives they add to their products according to a Wired article found at https://www.wired.com/2009/08/st-whatsinside-2/.
MACRONUTRIENT ANALYSIS (FAT)
According to Slim Jim’s website, one serving of Slim Jim’s snack sticks (32 grams, or slightly more than 1 ounce) contains 13 grams of fat, with 4.5 grams being saturated fat. This is their product that we see everywhere and appears to have the furthest reach with consumers. And it contains 13 grams of fat!!! To compare with Flying G Jerky, our beef jerky contains 2 grams of fat for a 1 ounce serving (slightly smaller serving size, but much less fat).
In order to mask inferior ingredients, other jerky companies might make their products high in fats. Slim Jims appear to be no different when it comes to their snack sticks. Your body needs both proteins and fats to survive, but it needs much more protein.
At Flying G Jerky, our beef jerky contains 16 grams of protein and 2 grams of fats per serving. We believe in a healthy balanced diet while also making delicious beef jerky.
Slim Jim’s beef steak strips, by comparison, contain about 1.5 grams of fats per 1 ounce serving, but half of that fat is saturated fat. This is much better than their snack sticks.
The downsides of a diet high in fat are fairly obvious, but did you know that a high fat diet can affect your brain function as well as the rest of your body? A 2019 study from Yale University found that diets high in fats can contribute to irregularities in the region of your brain responsible for regulating homeostasis and metabolism (an article about this study can be found at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190909121234.htm). Obviously, diets high in fat also contribute to obesity, heart disease, and other harmful conditions. We here at Flying G Jerky are proud of our products and how they can contribute to a healthy diet and lifestyle. We cannot guarantee our competitors have the same dedication to your health.
MACRONUTRIENT ANALYSIS (CARBOHYDRATES)
Slim Jim snack sticks contain 3 carbs for a serving of slightly more than 1 ounce. This is a decently low amount of carbs, but when compared to Flying G beef jerky, which has no carbs, it is still higher than you want from your jerky.
The other Slim Jim product we are examining, their beef steak strips, include about 4.5 carbs for a 1 ounce serving. Same as the snack sticks, these are decently low carb, but any carbs in jerky shows it is made with some sort of “flavor enhancing” additive meant to enhance an otherwise poor tasting product.
While carbs are necessary for your body’s function, just like fats, a diet too high in carbs can also have negative effects on your body’s function and development. Excessive carbs can promote weight gain, increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, increases your risk of developing heart disease, can thicken your arteries, and can cause brain fog. We at Flying G Jerky are proud that our beef jerky does not contain carbs so you can be more flexible with the rest of your diet.
MACRONUTRIENT ANALYSIS (PROTEIN)
The primary reason any beef jerky is healthy is its high protein content. Protein is used by your body to build and repair muscle and other tissues. It is an important and necessary ingredient for your bones, cartilage, blood, skin, and muscles. Protein is also used by your body to make necessary body chemicals such as hormones and enzymes. Without protein, we would not survive.
As stated above, protein is essential in building and repairing muscles. This is only good for bodybuilders, right? Wrong! Protein is also a necessary cornerstone of any weight loss diet. Protein is the single most important macronutrient for weight loss.
High protein intake helps to regulate several weight-regulating hormones, as well as boosting your metabolism, and reducing your appetite. Protein also boosts your caloric burn after eating. Protein is harder for your body to break down, or metabolize, and therefore your body has to work much harder to digest and use proteins than fats or carbs. This requires your body to burn excess calories even when you are not working out! And, by reducing your appetite, sufficient protein intake helps you to take in fewer calories, making your net calorie gain from eating much lower.
A lack of protein also weakens your bones and makes them more likely to fracture. Not eating enough protein can also cause your legs and feet to swell as protein helps keep salt and water from escaping your blood vessels and entering tissues.
A lack of sufficient protein can weaken your immune system by decreasing the effectiveness of your body’s antibodies. Therefore, not eating enough protein makes you more likely to get sick.
In other words, protein is necessary not just for your body to survive, but thrive. And feeding your body its necessary protein intake will drastically alter the way you look, feel, and live.
As for Slim Jims, which are not advertised as and absolutely are not beef jerky, their protein content is underwhelming. Especially when you take into account that their products can sometimes be high in fat and contain unnecessary carbohydrates.
Their snack sticks contain 7 grams of protein for a serving size of slightly more than 1 ounce. Comparing their snack sticks side by side by side with Flying G Jerky and Slim Jim beef steak strips, at a 1 ounce service size, these snack sticks contain closer to 6 grams of protein. That is a very low amount for a meat product.
The Slim Jim Beef Steak Strips, by comparison, contain about 10.5 grams of protein for a 1 ounce serving size. This is a much more adequate amount of protein for 1 ounces of meat, but still pales in comparison to Flying G beef jerky, which contains 16 grams of protein for a 1 ounce serving!
MICRONUTRIENT ANALYSIS (SUGARS)
Sugar can trick your brain into thinking that an inferior product tastes just as good as a superior product. This is why so many of our competitors use sugar in their jerky.
We at Flying G Jerky produce beef jerky that contains no sugars. This will help our customers limit their intake of sugar and help them to not experience some of the negative side effects of consuming too much sugar.
Consuming too much sugar may drain your energy, lead to a fatty liver, increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, increase cellular aging, accelerate the skin aging process, increase your risk of depression, increase your risk of cancer, increase your risk of heart disease, cause weight gain, among many other potentially harmful conditions.
Slim Jim Snack Sticks have a surprisingly low amount of sugar, coming in at 1 gram for a slightly more than 1 ounce serving size. This is still 1 gram too much, in our estimation, as Flying G Jerky has no sugars and sugar is not a necessary ingredient in any jerky.
The Slim Jim Beef Steak Strips, by comparison, include about 3.5 grams for a 1 ounce serving size. This appears to be where Slim Jim makes up for the relatively good macronutrients in their beef steak strips.
ADDITIVES IN SLIM JIM’S
Wired magazine has a good write up about what exactly is inside a Slim Jim. It can be found at https://www.wired.com/2009/08/st-whatsinside-2/. It lists seven different ingredients included in a Slim Jim: 1) Mechanically separated chicken; 2) Corn and Wheat proteins; 3) Lactic acid starter culture; 4) Dextrose; 5) Salt; 6) Sodium nitrite; and 7) Hydrolyzed soy. Not exactly confidence inspiring, is it?
The first ingredient is a meat “paste” that is created from using likely low quality meats, as the article states that there are eight quality gradations for beef according to the US Department of Agriculture and processed foods typically use the three lowest quality beefs. The second is added proteins from corn and wheat, which is cheaper than proteins from meat, especially because Slim Jims are made by ConAgra, a large agricultural conglomerate. Lactic acid starter culture and dextrose are used to (hopefully) kill all the bacteria and firm up the meat paste.
Salt serves as a preservative that prevents spoilage. However, Slim Jims use so much salt that it is more than one-sixth of your daily allowance. Sodium nitrite prevents the meat stick from turning gray and inhibits botulism, but can be a toxic ingredient in a large dose. Hydrolyzed soy appears to be a flavor enhancer.
To conclude, we here at Flying G Jerky prefer our beef jerky to be made with real, high quality beef, and added spices. We do not want, and our beef jerky does not need, lots of artificial additives that could be harmful to your health. Our advice: avoid Slim Jims.