Is a Slim Jim a Healthy Snack?

Sometimes, three meals are just not enough. Everyone feels a bit hungry in between their meals, and that is the most suitable time to have snacks. Snacking is our favorite pass time, whether it is a bag of crisps or something a little more than that.

Slim Jims have become one of the top snacking items for most Americans and are basically a meat stick. About 569 million Slim Jims of at least 21 varieties are produced annually in the United States (New York Post).

However, a recent debate has sparked on whether a Slim Jim is healthy. While Slim Jim looks to be just a meat stick, is that all it is? Should you be eating slim jims? Is a Slim Jim a Healthy Snack? If not, then why? Read here to find out the answers to all your question about Slim Jim.

Ingredients to Look Out For

Like any processed food, a Slim Jim also has some ingredients you need to watch out for. Such ingredients may not cause problems in small doses but can prove lethal if said dosage is increased.

Sodium Nitrate

Sodium nitrate is added as a preservative to keep the Slim Jim from going bad and can be seen in many foods with processed meat. However, sodium nitrate may damage the blood vessels and narrow the arteries, which increases the chance of heart disease. Sodium nitrate is also directly linked to colorectal cancer.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fats refer to solid fats at room temperature and are commonly found in animal-based foods, e.g., beef, pork, poultry, etc. Saturated Fats may cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries, sticking to the artery walls and increasing the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Lactic Acid Culture

Lactic acid bacteria (lAB) work as a preservative, increasing the shelf life of many processed foods. Ingesting too much lactic acid bacteria may lead to increased lactic acid levels in the body, which is toxic. It may also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, causing gas and bloating.


Dextrose is a type of sugar that comes from corn or wheat and is used in food as an artificial sweetener. A controlled amount of dextrose can prove beneficial to the body. However, an excess of it can be anything but. Too much dextrose in the blood can lead to increased blood pressure, excessive thirst, increased blood sugar levels, pains in the chest, groin, or legs, and shortness of breath.

Possible Side Effects of a Slim Jim

There is no doubt that a Slim Jim is harmful to the body, but just how much can you eat without worrying about it? Well, toxicologically speaking, around 1400 Slim Jims can kill you. However, it can not be said conclusively just how many would start causing problems. You should expect some side effects if you eat too many Slim Jims.

Long Term Side Effects

  • Brain degradation due to nerve damage
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Heart diseases
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver cirrhosis

Short Term Side Effects

  • Greasy taste in the mouth
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea

Is a Slim Jim a Healthy Snack?

To put it bluntly, no. Slim Jims offer no nutritional benefits and are only good for satiating hunger, making people believe it’s an excellent food to snack on. However, Slim Jims contain no vitamins essential for the human diet (such as vitamin A or vitamin C), no dietary fiber, no calcium, and only provides 6% of the daily recommended value of iron (you’ll have to eat 17 Slim Jims to get the iron you require).

For anyone that seeks to have a healthy diet, Slim Jims are a nightmare. One Slim Jim has 240 calories and 20 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fats, and 1 gram of trans fat. If you prefer a healthy diet, stay as far away from a Slim Jim as possible.

Besides its nutritious quality, the ingredients inside a Slim Jim are alarming. Slim Jim contains ingredients like mechanically separated chicken, dextrose, salt, sodium nitrate, lactic acid culture, hydrolyzed soy, corn, and wheat protein. Although most of these ingredients do not raise any red flags, some can not be overlooked.

The most harmful ingredient is sodium nitrate. Although present in low quantities in other foods, Slim Jim contains a lot. Without sodium nitrate is added to change the color to brown-red; otherwise, it would’ve been gray, the original color.

Slim Jim is a pandora’s box of diseases. Heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, cancer, brain damage, organ failures, and many other diseases have been hypothesized to be caused by Slim Jims. Therefore, we can not label Slim Jims as “healthy with good conscience.”

Alternates to Try Instead

Just because you can not have a Slim Jim, there are plenty of other beefy treats to enjoy as snacks. New, organic, grass-fed beef jerky provides a great alternative to Slim Jims, having less fat and calories and better nutritional content. Here are some other snacks you could try:

Our Final Thoughts

Is a Slim Jim a healthy snack? Not in our opinion. Slim Jim has too many ingredients that can cause too many problems. The taste of a Slim Jim is just not worth the risk, and trust us; there are some serious risks.

Before you eat a Slim Jim or even give some to your children, think about it, is a Slim Jim worth all the problems it could cause?

About The Author