Is Chorizo Keto?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Jennifer Olejarz

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Chorizo is a popular meat often used for brunch. 

I mean, there is nothing better than having it along with some eggs for breakfast. Right?

However, if you are following a keto diet, you need to be careful with processed meats since some of them might be high in carbs. This can affect your overall carb intake, affecting your ketosis levels. 

So, is chorizo keto-friendly?

The short answer is yes. However, you need to be careful with its high fat and calorie content. 

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about eating chorizo on keto. 


What is chorizo?

Chorizo is a traditional type of sausage originally from Spain. However, nowadays, it is also a very big part of Latin American and Portuguese culture. 

It is a highly seasoned pork meat.

Depending on the type (Mexican or Spanish), the herbs and spices might vary. But, the spices often used are oregano, garlic, chili peppers, cumin, paprika, and vinegar.

You can find it either fresh or cured. This makes it a versatile food since you can eat it raw or cooked, depending on the type you get. (Make sure to ask which type you can consume raw to avoid food poisoning). 

Traditionally, you can eat it with eggs, tortillas, or bread. 


Chorizo nutrition facts 

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the nutrition facts of chorizo. Is it a low-carb option, or should you be concerned about how many net carbs it might contain? 

Here you can find the nutritional information for this food. 

Serving size: 100 g, cooked

  • Calories: 346 kcal
  • Fat: 28.1 g
  • Net carbs: 2.6 g
  • Total carbs: 2.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.0 g
  • Protein: 19.3 g

Depending on the maker and type you get, this food can have less than 3 grams of carbs per serving. These are mainly fillers or any other herb, vegetable, or spice they might use. 

Chorizo gives you a good amount of protein since it provides you with 19.3 g per serving. 

The food provides 28.1 g of fat per serving (9.5 g comes from saturated fats). While you want to consume more fat on a keto diet, you need to be careful where it comes from. 

A high-saturated fat diet can potentially lead to heart disease. So, you need to be careful with the amount and the frequency with which you eat this food. 




Are you allowed to eat chorizo on keto?

Yes, chorizo is keto-friendly and you are allowed to eat it on a ketogenic diet. 

According to the nutritional information, chorizo is a low-carb, moderate protein, and high-fat food. 

Sounds familiar, right? These are the same properties of a ketogenic diet

So, if you have trouble reaching your fat intake, high-fat protein options (like chorizo) can make it easier to supply your body with enough energy for the day. 

However, as mentioned before, this is a high saturated fat option, so you must be careful how often you include it, aiming for no more than 1-2 times per week.

As a recommendation, if you include a high saturated fat food, make sure the rest of the fats throughout the day come from unsaturated fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Keep in mind that it is also a processed meat, which the World Health Organization recommends avoiding or eating in limited amounts.  


How much chorizo can you have on a keto diet?

The amount you can eat depends on your protein and fat requirements. 

Since it doesn’t provide a significant amount of carbs, you can rest assured that it won’t jeopardize your ketosis levels. 

Due to its high-fat content, it would be reasonable to limit yourself to 100 to 160 g of chorizo. For a point of reference, one link may weighs about 80g, so you could potentially have one or two links with your meal. 

If you consume more, make the necessary adjustments, like reducing other high-fat foods throughout the day to avoid overeating. 


What kind of chorizo can you have on keto?

There are two main types: Mexican and Spanish. Either option you decide to use, they are allowed on a ketogenic diet. Let’s go over the differences between them. 

  • Mexican. This is made with fresh ground pork. Its main seasoning is based on various forms of chiles. You can have it cooked in a skillet, placed on a BBQ, or cooked in an air fryer. 
  • Spanish. Unlike the Mexican style, which uses fresh meat, the Spanish type is usually cured or semi-cured and does not need to be cooked. (Always check the label to make sure!) The main spice, in this case, is paprika, although other spices like garlic are often used. It has a harder consistency compared to the Mexican one. 

Within the Mexican group, there are different types you can choose. Any of these options is suitable for a ketogenic diet. However, check the label or ask the butcher to determine if it contains some carbs that might affect your ketosis. 

  • Red. It has a strong, hot, and spicy taste. 
  • Verde. It is made with green peppers and green tomatoes. It has a spicy and somewhat sweet flavor. 
  • Seco. It has a milky taste compared to the other options. 

Even though the Spanish and Mexican are the most popular, many other countries also have their version of it. 

  • Argentine. It mainly uses garlic, thyme, and paprika. 
  • Colombian. It uses green onion, garlic, and vinegar. 
  • British. It is very salty and uses garlic, salt, and pepper. 




What can you eat with chorizo?

One of the benefits is that you can have it along with several things. Since it provides mostly fat and protein, add some non-starchy vegetables to help balance the dish. 

For example, you can have some with a nice coleslaw to add more nutrients to your meals. 

On the other hand, if you want it for breakfast, add it to your eggs and some onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

As a BBQ, you can have some grilled vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and onions, with some keto-friendly tortillas. 

Finally, you can have a Mexican-style bowl made with chorizo as the protein. Add some cauliflower rice, chopped tomatoes (or pico de gallo), and cheese. 


Keto-friendly chorizo alternatives

While this can be a great keto-friendly option, some people might have difficulty digesting this protein (it might cause bloating, gas, and acid reflux). 

For that reason, you might want to have other options that are allowed on a ketogenic diet. 

Here are some other options you can include:

These are protein-based options, so as mentioned above, make sure to include a vegetable to add some nutrients to your dish. 


FAQ about chorizo on a keto diet

If you are wondering if this food is the right option for you on a keto diet, here are the most frequently asked questions. 

It is a high-fat protein. 1 link (80g) doesn’t contain a significant amount of carbs (2.1 g), and it has around 15.5 grams of protein and 22.6 g of fat. This makes it a good option for those following a ketogenic diet. 

It has a good amount of protein, increasing your fullness levels. This is ideal for those on a weight loss journey. 

However, chorizo is also high in fat, which makes it very high in calories. So, a leaner protein option, like chicken, might be a better option for someone trying to lose weight. 

Pork chorizo may be the lowest in calories and fat. However, it depends on how the brand makes it. If you don’t want the chorizo to increase your fat intake by too much, make sure it has less than 5 g of fat per serving (or eat a smaller amount).

You can then adjust your fat intake by adding healthier fats like olive oil or avocado. 

It is high in fat and high in sodium. For that reason, no matter if you are following a keto or not, it is better to consume it only once per week. Also, research shows that consuming processed red meats can negatively affect your health.

You can use any other type of sausage, vegan meat, or even ground beef. Make sure that the option you choose is low in sodium. Ideally, it should have less than 300 mg of sodium per serving. 

No, they use different ingredients and spices. Italian sausage has onion, garlic, fennel, and corn syrup. On the other hand, chorizos tend to have paprika or chili flakes, oregano, and salt.