From Cajun andouille to chorizo to bratwurst, sausages are enjoyed in many cultures around the world.
While each type varies in its ingredients, most are a combination of ground meat, fat, and spices. As a result, many sausages are high in protein and often considered low carb.
However, you may be surprised that some sausages also contain sources of carbs from added ingredients like flavorings and binders.
This article reviews the carb content of various types of sausage.
While they’re high in protein, they’re often rich in fat as well, as the fat helps keep the meat moist during cooking (1).
For example, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pork sausage contains approximately (2):
- Calories: 268
- Fat: 18 grams
- Saturated fat: 7 grams
- Protein: 27 grams
In addition to meat and meat byproducts, sausages often contain added flavoring from ingredients like herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits. The mixture is then ground and shaped into links using a casing or patties.
Sausages vary in content depending on the meat or combination of meats used, as well as any added ingredients. In the United States, the contents of sausages are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Below are some examples of standards for various product labels (1):
- Breakfast sausages. They are made from meat and meat byproducts and have no more than 50% fat by weight.
- Fresh pork sausages. These may not include pork byproducts and have no more than 50% fat by weight.
- Italian sausage products. These cured or uncured sausages comprise at least 85% meat, or a combination of meat and fat. The total fat content cannot be more than 35% of the finished product.
Italian sausage products must also contain salt, pepper, fennel, and/or anise and no more than 3% water. Other ingredients, such as garlic, onion, or paprika, are optional (1).
As sausages are preserved by methods including curing, salting, smoking, and drying, they’re considered processed meat (1).
As a result, there’s some concern about eating them, as processed meat intake has been linked to an increased risk of several chronic diseases (
Sausages are meat products made from ground meat or poultry and various flavorings. The combination of ingredients varies by the type of sausage. Yet, in the United States, ingredients for specific sausage labels are strictly regulated.
Given that sausages are made primarily of ground meat and meat byproducts, any carbs found in the food come from added ingredients like flavorings and binders (
Many sausages contain spices, which contribute very few carbs. However, some varieties are naturally flavored using fruit, sugar, or cheese, all of which contain varying amounts of carbs.
Other common carb sources include binding agents. Ingredients like breadcrumbs and potato flour help with consistency and prevent the meat from being crumbly (5).
Other common binders include lentil flour, soy flour, vital wheat gluten, and corn syrup. Some of these ingredients are higher in carbs than others.
Overall, the type of binding agent(s) and amount and type of flavorings used affects the final carb content of the product.
Sausages are often high in protein and fat but may also contain carbs due to added ingredients, such as natural flavorings and binding agents.
As the type of flavorings and additives can vary by product, the best way to know how many carbs are in the sausage you’re looking to buy is by reading the nutrition label.
However, the list below includes common types of sausages and an approximate amount of carbs that may be found in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of each (8):
- Andouille sausage: 3 grams
- Beef sausage: 0 grams
- Bratwurst: 3 grams
- Breakfast sausage links (pork or turkey): 1 gram
- Breakfast sausage beef patties: 3 grams
- Chicken sausage: 4 grams
- Chorizo: 2 grams
- Italian sausage: 4 grams
- Polish sausage (Kielbasa): 5 grams
- Pork sausage: 0 grams
- Salami: 6 grams
- Turkey sausage: 3 grams
- Vienna sausage (Frankfurter): 2 grams
As you can see, most sausages contain small amounts of carbs, with salami being the highest, as it often contains corn syrup and corn starch as binding agents (9).
Thus, despite containing added ingredients, sausage is still an overall low carb option.
Even with additional carb-containing ingredients, sausages are still generally low in carbs, with most containing 0–6 grams of carbs per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.
Sausages are made from ground meat — usually beef, pork, or chicken — and contain a handful of added ingredients for flavoring and texture.
While these ingredients can add small amounts of carbs to the product, sausages are overall a high protein, low carb option.
However, sausages are considered processed meats and can be high in saturated fat. As a result, they should be limited in a nutritious, balanced diet.