Since October 2020, I have been adhering to a diet called intermittent fasting. I only eat between the hours of 11am and 6pm. This is designed so I go 18+ hours per day without eating, letting my glycogen stores deplete and my blood sugar drop. Over time, this daily drop in blood sugar is supposed to reverse insulin resistance, something which I think is plaguing our society and contributing to our widespread obesity. I’ve successfully lost some fat from this diet.
My adherence to this diet is imperfect. There are some days where I’m sick or just feel off, so I eat breakfast. Today was one of those days. This morning at a store while buying some diet coke, I decided to make an impulse buy: a bag of beef jerky. After comparing the price-per-ounce of several brands, I purchased a big, beefy bag of Cattleman’s Cut Original Beef Jerky.
On my way home, I broke into the bag and started gnawing on the meat. It was adequately dessicated, which is nice; sometimes jerky is just a little squishy and detracts from the experience. After a minute of chewing, though, I noticed that the meat was sweet. Being more of an umami fan, this unexpected sweetness sickened me.
I looked at the ingredients, and my sickness turned into disgust. The three most common ingredients in this “beef jerky” were beef, sugar, and brown sugar. I had been tricked into buying dried meat candy.
The bag had 10 servings, but nobody eats only part of a bag of beef jerky. When considering Actual Consumed Amounts, eating a whole bag of this dried meat candy leads to the consumption of 80 grams of sugar.
Your typical can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of sugar. This bag has 80 grams. That means that eating this bag is like drinking two cans of Coke back-to-back. 80 grams of sugar is 3/8’s of a cup(88mL) of granulated sugar.
If you ever wonder why America is having an obesity crisis, this is why. Even our beef jerky is being flooded with insane amounts of sugar. Most people are so used to the pervasive sweetness that they don’t notice how most foods are basically candy. From sugared cereals to breads to drinks to soups, and now even our meats. Only unusual people willing to pick up atypical diets like keto or intermittent fasting, or those who have an extremely high amount of discipline can escape the sugar trap. And even then, they might still unintentionally have two sodas of sugar.