Is biltong the perfect keto diet snack? Experts say: “Yes”!

One of the challenges for those following the keto diet for weight loss is finding delicious, nutritious snacks to support your low-carb diet. Today, we’re here with the best news of all. Unlike beef jerky, biltong is completely keto-friendly! Here’s what you need to know.

Wait a minute… Beef jerky is not keto diet-friendly

We’re sorry to break it to tell our fans in the United States, but no. Most commercially produced beef jerky is not compatible with a Paleo or Keto diet.

That’s because the typical drying process uses sugar (as well as large amounts of salt). This means you’re getting a snack that’s relatively high in protein content, yes, but also packed with carbs. And those aren’t even healthy carbs, either! It’s mostly added sugars from the flavouring.

So how come biltong is keto diet-friendly, then?

Unlike beef jerky, biltong is air-dried, with only some simple spices and a lot less salt. It’s also completely sugar-free.

Because of this difference in the creation process, it has a very lean profile, similar to that of a cut of meat. However, as all the moisture has been removed, it has up to twice as much protein as the equivalent amount of raw meat!

Another benefit of the air curing process is that no heat is applied- and this means heat-sensitive vitamins don’t get destroyed.

The core of the keto diet

The ketogenic diet, sometimes simply called the “keto diet” or even the “Paleo diet,” requires you to reduce carbohydrates drastically. Especially unhealthy simple carbohydrates like sugar.

It has some similarities to the Atkins diet and is simply a more drastic version of many other low-carb diets. Instead, you will restructure your diet around hunger-satisfying fats and proteins.

As we mentioned earlier, biltong contains a lot of protein. Proper biltong can be very lean or contain up to 30% fat. In its native South Africa, this is known as “geel vet” or “yellow fat” biltong.

While this doesn’t sound very appealing, it is considered a delicacy and the very best biltong – and if you taste it, I’m sure you’ll agree! There’s plenty of fat to burn if you want it. And most biltongs have zero net carbs.

Needless to say, this ratio of high protein to good fat makes biltong very appealing for the keto diet.

Meeting keto rules

However, some keto guidelines do not revolve around the macro profile of foods. Two of them are:

  1. No inflammatory ingredients or artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
  2. 2. Meat should be grass-fed for added nutrients.

Biltong holds up well here, too. Grass-fed biltongs of high quality are easy to find. There is also very little added to biltong for preservation – a little salt and a few natural spices. Nothing else! In fact, some of the typical biltong spices are also anti-inflammatory.

All snacks aren’t created equally

When we hear the word “snack,” we tend to equate it with “junk food.” But you can incorporate many healthy keto snacks into any diet that will add nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, not pounds, to your waistline. Biltong is one of them.

Not only do you have the fat to fit your keto plan and the protein to help stabilize your blood sugar and feel great, but biltong also brings a great nutritional profile to the table. This includes some tricky vitamins like the B family, which is often destroyed by heat processing.

And there you have it.

In some keto circles, biltong is even referred to as “keto beef jerky,” and while that’s not really true-we’ve seen how different the two are-it’s a fun way to think about this traditional South African healthy snack.


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