Sausage is a source of meat enjoyed in a number of different cultures throughout the world. It comes in many different types and styles and is typically made up of different meats including beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. While each type of sausage varies in its ingredients, most are a combination of spices, ground meats, and healthy fats.
Being packed with protein and fats, most individuals would assume sausage is low-carb. But is sausage keto?
In this article we'll discuss:
- Can you eat sausage on keto
- How sausage is typically prepared
- Sources of carbs in sausage
- Things to consider when buying sausage for keto
- How many carbs are in different sausages
- Best low-carb sausages for keto
Can You Eat Sausage on Keto?
You can enjoy sausage on a low carb or keto diet. You just have to check the carb count first.
Sausage is assumed to be keto-friendly since most of its contents include various meats including beef, pork, poultry, chicken, or turkey[*]. While these are great protein sources, they can be high in fats, too.
For example, a 100-gram serving (about 3.5 ounces) of pork sausage contains approximately[*]:
- Calories: 268
- Protein: 27 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 18 grams
How Is Sausage Typically Prepared?
Sausages are preserved and processed by curing, salting, smoking, and drying[*]. This leads to some concern about eating sausage, as processed meat has been linked to a number of different diseases[*]. Luckily, there are a number of companies that have a variety of sugar-free sausages without the different dyes, nitrates, preservatives, and other common additives often found in traditionally-processed sausages.
Carbs in sausage can be tricky. While sausages contain mostly meat and spices, they also might include ingredients higher in carbs that add to their flavor and consistency. In the United States, the ingredients of different sausages you see today are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
While sausages can be easily enjoyed in different keto dishes or on their own, it's important you check the nutrition label first as added ingredients could potentially kick you out of ketosis.
Sources of Carbs in Sausage
Since sausages are mostly made of different ground meats and meat by-products, the added carbs you'll find in sausage mainly come from eggs and other binding ingredients such as flour or breadcrumbs to help with the flavor and to prevent the sausage from being too crumbly.
While most sausages include spices to enhance their flavor, some brands use a variety of additives including fruit, sugar, and even some dairy products which contain various amounts of different carbs.
Other binders used in sausage production include gluten, soy flour, wheat flour, and corn syrup.
If you're following the keto diet, chances are you know to stay away from corn syrup. Corn syrup contains about 30 grams of carbs per 2 tablespoons (that amount alone may kick you out of ketosis).
If you're looking for carbs in sausage, check the ingredient label for any type of binding agents or additives that are used for flavoring and binding.
Things to Consider When Buying Sausage for Keto
When shopping for sausage on keto, there are a few important details to pay attention to. In addition to looking at the ingredients when looking at the nutritional label, you will also want to check the net carb count, sugar count, and whether or not it's gluten-free.
The net carb count is the number of carbs that are absorbed by the body. To calculate the net carbs in a food item, subtract the fiber from the total number of carbs. The standard ketogenic diet requires that you stay between 20-50 grams of net carbs per day to maintain ketosis. If your sausage fits within that net carb count, you are all set to enjoy some sausage.
You'll also want to ensure the sugar count is relatively low. After all, any sugar listed on the ingredients label is most likely artificial and unnecessary. Avoid the additives and extra carbs by buying a sausage with no added sugar.
What Are the Best Sausages for Keto?
When it comes to macronutrients and ingredients, not all sausages are created equal. There is quite a variety of sausages you can choose from today. So how do you know which types of sausage are best for keto?
The list below includes some common sausage varieties and their carb amount per 100-gram serving[*]:
- Andouille sausage: 3 grams
- Beef sausage: 0 grams
- Bratwurst: 3 grams
- Breakfast sausage links (pork or turkey): 1 gram
- Chicken sausage: 4 grams
- Chorizo: 2 grams
- Italian sausage: 4 grams
- Pork sausage: 0 grams
- Salami: 6 grams
- Turkey sausage: 3 grams
- Vienna sausage: 2 grams
Most of the sausages listed above contain a rather small amount of carbs. Salami is the highest as it typically contains corn syrup and corn starch as binding agents[*].
If you only have the option of flavored sausages such as Chicken Apple Sausage that contains dried apples and other added ingredients, no need to worry. These types of sausage still have minimal carbs per serving.
Some of the best types of sausage to shop for on a keto diet include summer sausage, chorizo, Vienna sausage, Italian sausage sliders, chicken spinach sausage links, and pork bratwurst.
Summer sausage, in particular, is a great snack option for a keto diet. This type of sausage is the perfect appetizer to pair with some slices of cheese and other keto-friendly sides. At about 200 calories and only 2 net carbs per ⅛ a slice, you'll be sure to stay within your carb limits.
Chorizo is another low-carb and keto-friendly sausage. Chorizo is a type of pork sausage that contains a number of different spices and seasonings. It can be sold raw or cured and is popular in Latin and Spanish cuisines around the world. One link of chorizo sausage provides approximately[*]:
- Calories: 273
- Protein: 14 grams of protein
- Carbs: 1 gram of carbs
- Fat: 23 grams of fat
There are two main types of chorizo. Latin chorizo, which is the more crumbly kind you fry up in a skillet and see in breakfast dishes. Then there's Spanish chorizo, which is a cured, dry kind of sausage typically spotted on the charcuterie boards at group gatherings and parties.
Is Sausage Keto? The Takeaway
Yes, sausage is keto-friendly. The main ingredients found in sausages include ground meats such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and a handful of other ingredients added for flavor and texture.
While these added ingredients could add small amounts of carbs to the finished product, sausages are usually a safe bet for individuals following the keto diet.
If you're following the standard ketogenic diet, you'll want to keep your net carb limit somewhere between 20 to 50 grams a day. This means you can consume a few sausage links for breakfast or a few slices of summer sausage as a light snack and you'll be sure to remain in a ketogenic state.