Is Sausage Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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What is a BBQ party without cooking up some sausages? However, if you are on a low-carb journey, you probably wonder if you are allowed to eat sausage on keto. 

Any protein and fat combination is usually a good option for those on a low-carb approach. However, you need to consider a couple of things when buying them to ensure they will not jeopardize your ketosis.  

In this article, you will learn everything related to a ketogenic diet and sausage. How many carbs they have, how many can you eat, what kind, and what you can eat with them. 

 

What is sausage?

This food is a combination of ground meat, salt, preservatives, seasonings, and in some cases, fillers. You can find them fresh, cured, slightly cooked, smoked, or even dried. 

They were originally made as a way to preserve the meat. One of the benefits is that you can put any kind of meat inside, making it a very versatile food. 

You can find them in your grocery store or even make them at home. This way, you can control the amount of salt or preservatives you put into the mix. 

The predominant flavor will be based on the mix of spices and herbs used. Some have pepper, oregano, wine, ginger, or garlic. 

There is some concern with cured meats due to the addition of nitrates, which the World Health Organization has linked to an increased risk of cancer. Nonetheless, there are now some companies that have created sausages with less of these preservatives. 

 

Sausage nutrition facts

While it is predominantly made from meat, some types have fillers that can increase the carb content. So, how many carbs are in sausage? 

The answer will depend on the brand since each has a specific recipe. However, below you will find an average nutrition rundown.

Serving size: 1 link 4” long (68 g)

  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 19.2 g
  • Net carbs: 0.6 g
  • Total carbs: 0.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.0 g
  • Protein: 2.5 g

In this example, we see that sausage is low carb.

The carbohydrate content depends on whether or not breadcrumbs or any other high starch fillers are added. While this is not a common practice, it is important to check the nutrition label of each brand to ensure how many net carbs it has. 

In most cases, sausage is a keto-friendly protein that you can have once in a while. Even though you don’t have to be concerned with the carb content of protein, there are other things that you should consider to have a healthy diet. 

Since this food is high in sodium (more than 150 mg per serving) and could potentially have nitrates, it is best to consume it no more than 2-3 times per week.  

 

JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS

 

Can you eat sausage on keto? 

Yes, sausage is keto-friendly because it is low in carbs. However, you must check the label to see the nutritional info for the specific type and brand.

My recommendation is to opt for one with less than one gram of carbs. This will allow you to eat it without worrying that it will knock you out of ketosis. 

Still, even though they are keto-approved, it’s best to have them only 2-3 days per week, or to make sure that they don’t contain nitrates and have less than 150 mg of sodium per serving. 

Sausages will add protein and fat to your meal, but remember to add some non-starchy veggies to balance everything out and give you a boost of fiber, micronutrients, and phytonutrients.

 

How much sausage on a keto diet can you have?

A good recommendation is to eat no more than 2-3 sausages per day, up to 2-3 times per week. 

The number depends on your protein requirements. While you need some protein for good muscle support, you still need to control it since it can turn into glucose and affect your ketone levels. For most people on keto, your macros will limit protein to around 20% of your total daily calories.

 

What kind of sausage can you have on keto?

So now that you know that you can have sausage on a keto diet, you might be wondering which types are best. 

There are many different types of sausages. The list could go on and on. Here are some of the most common ones you can include in a ketogenic diet:

  • Bratwurst. It was originally made in Germany from ground pork with spices like nutmeg, ginger, and salt. You can have them grilled or sauteed. On average, each serving has about 3 grams of net carbs. 
  • Kielbasa (Polish sausage). It typically has a U-shape and is made from different types of meats. You can find it fully smoked or partially smoked, with net carbohydrates around 2 grams per serving. 
  • Turkey. It uses turkey as base meat. Ideal for those who don’t like to eat pork (or can’t). It has a milder taste compared to pork sausages. On average, each portion has 2-3 g net carbs. 
  • Andouille. This type, made from pork, was made initially in France. It is often used in Creole dishes to provide more protein and spice. A serving generally has around 2-3 g net carbohydrates.

Besides the type you can have, you can also have them in several different ways and dishes. So, how can you make them on a ketogenic diet?

  • Balls. You create this by combining sausage, cheese, and other ingredients. You mix the ingredients and form them into balls. 
  • Casserole. Add them with cheese and other veggies to have a fast and easy meal for your family. 
  • Soup. Making soup is excellent comfort food that you can have whenever you feel ill or homesick. However, be careful not to add ingredients that are high in carbohydrates (pasta, rice, or potatoes). 
  • Stuffed mushrooms with sausage. A great way to make your veggies more filling and appetizing is by stuffing them with a protein. You can stuff some mushrooms or even zucchini. 
  • Dip. Combine sausage, cream cheese, and tomato to have the best keto-friendly dip you’ve ever tried. 

 

BUILD YOUR KETO DIET PLAN

 

What can you eat with sausage?

You can eat any other keto-friendly food along with this tasty protein. Have it with non-starchy veggies, other proteins, and healthy fats. Some recipes that you can try are:

  • Gravy and biscuits. Make sure that you opt for a keto-friendly biscuit. 
  • Sausage and peppers. It is an excellent way to add some extra spice to your meals. 
  • Cabbage and sausage. You can create this recipe in bulk and store it in the fridge or freezer to eat later. 

Any option you use, make sure you measure the portion size to ensure that you are within your carb and protein requirements. Remember that while some protein is good, too much can get you out of ketosis. 

 

Keto-friendly sausage alternatives

You can replace pork sausages with any other meat of your choice. If you don’t want to consume it whatsoever, there are other protein options that you can include in your diet. 

Replace with any of these to guarantee that you reach your protein requirements. 

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Ham
  • Tofu

 

FAQ about eating sausage on a keto diet

If you still have some questions about how to incorporate this food into a ketogenic diet, here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

You can have some sausage cabbage soup that is ideal for having all the macros you need. Making one-pot recipes can save you time, and you can create them in bulk to save some for later. 

Yes, it is a healthy protein option as long as it doesn’t have any nitrates added. According to the World Health Organization, nitrates can increase cancer risk. Also, make sure that it has less than 150 mg of sodium to prevent high blood pressure due to high sodium consumption. 

Yes, it can be. Protein helps increase your satiety levels, and since the body spends more energy breaking it down (compared to carbs and fat), it slightly increases your metabolism, which may help with weight loss. 

Make sure to have protein with every meal to avoid getting hungry during the day. 

Some keto-approved brands are:

  • Applegate no sugar
  • Old Wisconsin 
  • Aidells
  • Hickory farms 
  • Shelton’s 

Other brands also offer great options. Just read the nutrition label and have a link with less than 3 grams of net carbs in each serving. 

You can add this protein to a casserole with cheese and non-starchy veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower) for an easy-to-make dinner. The best thing about it is that you can make it early in the morning and have it ready just to heat. 

It depends on the meat base. Pork is typically harder to digest compared to chicken or turkey. If you have trouble digesting red meat, it’s better to go for white meat to avoid any stomach distress.