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Are Sausage Rolls Bad For You?



Short answer

Sausage rolls are high in calories, saturated fats, and sodium, and carry health risks if consumed regularly. While they can be part of a balanced diet when eaten in moderation, it is advisable to enjoy them infrequently, considering their nutritional content, and opt for healthier homemade versions or those made with lean meats and whole grains.



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Long answer

Caloric Content and Nutritional Value of Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls, a popular bakery item, can offer a quick, tasty snack or a component of a meal. However, their nutritional value and caloric content often make them a less desirable choice for those pursuing a health-conscious diet. Let's break down the specifics.


Typically, a standard sausage roll can contain between 250 to 400 calories per serving, depending entirely on the size and ingredients used. This is a substantial portion of the daily caloric allowance for an average adult, which is around 2000 to 2500 calories per day according to the USDA dietary guidelines.

Macronutrient Breakdown

  • Fats: Sausage rolls are usually high in fat, especially saturated fat. A single roll can contain anywhere from 15 to 30 grams of fat, with saturated fat accounting for roughly a third of this amount.
  • Carbohydrates: The pastry component of sausage rolls contributes to a high carbohydrate content, generally ranging from 20 to 40 grams per roll. The refined flour used to make the pastry is a source of simple carbs, which have a rapid effect on blood sugar levels.
  • Protein: Sausage meat does provide protein, with an average roll offering about 10 to 20 grams. However, this should be weighed against the overall fat content.

Nutritional Composition

Nutrients Approximate Values per Standard Sausage Roll
Calories 250-400
Total Fat 15-30g
Saturated Fat 5-10g
Carbohydrates 20-40g
Sugars 1-5g*
Protein 10-20g
Fiber < 1g*
Sodium 500-1000mg**

*Values can vary based on recipe ingredients and portion sizes.

**High sodium content is common due to seasoning and preservation needs of the sausage meat.

Considerations in Diet

For those focusing on weight management or heart health, sausage rolls are better consumed infrequently. The high caloric and saturated fat content could contribute to weight gain and increased risk of heart disease if consumed regularly. Additionally, the lack of dietary fiber and the high sodium content can negatively impact digestive health and blood pressure.

Healthier Alternatives

Opt for sausage rolls made with lean meats and whole grain pastry, if available, to reduce fat intake and add dietary fiber. Choosing smaller sizes can also help manage portion control. For those looking to improve their dietary habits, incorporating more balanced meals with a higher content of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is recommended.

In conclusion, while sausage rolls can be an indulgent food choice, they should be enjoyed sparingly within a balanced diet. Attention to portion size, frequency of consumption, and selection of ingredients can help mitigate some of the adverse health implications associated with this savory treat.

Saturated Fats and Sodium: The Hidden Health Costs

When discussing the nutritional makeup of sausage rolls, two critical components that often come under scrutiny are saturated fats and sodium. These elements, while essential in moderate quantities, can lead to health complications when consumed in excess.

Saturated Fats in Sausage Rolls:

Fatty meats are the primary component of sausage rolls, which invariably leads to a high content of saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fats should account for less than 6% of your total daily calories to limit the risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of foods high in saturated fats, such as sausage rolls, can elevate cholesterol levels, potentially leading to clogged arteries and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Increased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels: Saturated fats are notorious for raising the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
  • Impact on heart health: High LDL cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaques that narrow arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

Sodium Content in Sausage Rolls:

The sodium content in sausage rolls often goes unnoticed, but it is an integral aspect of their flavor profile. Sodium is a vital nutrient that helps maintain nerve and muscle function. However, excess sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

  • Average sodium levels: Sausage rolls can contain a significant portion of the recommended daily intake of sodium, which is set at 2,300 milligrams by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Health implications of high sodium intake: Consuming high amounts of sodium can lead to water retention, increasing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Various studies have illustrated the health ramifications of a diet rich in saturated fats and sodium. For example, a research study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology conveyed that high dietary intake of saturated fats is linked to an augmented risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported a direct correlation between high sodium intake and increased risk of stroke.

It is important to acknowledge that sausage rolls can be part of a balanced diet if consumed sparingly and balanced with foods low in saturated fats and sodium. Moderation, along with an active lifestyle, helps mitigate some of the negative health effects associated with these components.

When considering sausage rolls in your diet, be mindful of their nutritional content—especially the saturated fat and sodium levels—and how they fit into your overall dietary goals. Choosing sausage rolls that use leaner meats and have reduced sodium content can help minimize these hidden health costs.

Additives and Preservatives Common in Sausage Rolls

Understanding the additives and preservatives in sausage rolls is essential for assessing their dietary impact. These components often enhance flavor, extend shelf life, and improve texture, but they come with potential health considerations. Let's delve into some of the most frequent additives and preservatives found in sausage rolls.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Used to maintain meat's color and prevent bacterial growth, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite can be found in sausage rolls. While effective as preservatives, they can convert into nitrosamines when exposed to high heat – compounds associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer, as suggested by research published in the International Journal of Cancer.


Sulfites are another class of preservatives that may appear in sausage rolls, particularly used to prevent dried fruit from spoiling. They can provoke allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in sulfite-sensitive individuals, as referenced by the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).


Phosphates are often added as an emulsifier and to retain moisture in processed meats like those found in sausage rolls. Excessive phosphate intake has been linked to kidney disease and cardiovascular problems, according to articles in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly added to processed foods, including sausage rolls. It may cause short-term reactions such as headache, flushing, or sweating in people with MSG sensitivity, termed the "Chinese restaurant syndrome" – a phenomenon recognized by the FDA but considered rare.

Trans Fats

The pastry in sausage rolls might contain trans fats, specifically if partially hydrogenated oils are used. Trans fats have been widely noted for their negative impact on heart health by raising LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, as pinpointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Artificial Colors and Flavors

Some manufacturers might add artificial colors to give sausage rolls an appealing look or artificial flavors to enhance their taste. While these are generally considered safe in the amounts used in food, there is ongoing debate and research, such as studies in the Journal of Food Science, about the potential long-term health effects of artificial food dyes and flavors.

Preservative E numbers

Various E numbers, which are codes for substances allowed by the European Union to be used as food additives, may be present in the ingredient list of sausage rolls. These can include antioxidants like E320 (butylated hydroxyanisole) or preservatives like E282 (calcium propionate). While approved for use, some studies elucidate possible adverse effects on human health, and consumers are often advised to limit their intake of E numbers as a precautionary measure.

Consumers who are concerned about additives and preservatives in their sausage rolls should look for products with short ingredient lists, featuring more natural ingredients and fewer synthetic additives. When in doubt, preparing homemade sausage rolls allows for complete control over the ingredients used, ensuring a healthier and potentially safer culinary experience.

Balancing Sausage Roll Consumption with a Healthy Diet

Integrating sausage rolls into a balanced diet requires consideration for their nutritional content and how they fit within your overall dietary intake. While sausage rolls can be a delicious part of your eating plan, moderation is key due to their potential high levels of saturated fat, sodium, and processed meat content. Let's explore ways to enjoy this savory treat while still prioritizing your health.

Understand Portion Control:

  • Choose smaller portions: Opt for mini sausage rolls as a way to enjoy their savory flavor while controlling the amount of saturated fat and calories consumed.
  • Consider them an occasional treat: Limit sausage roll consumption to once in a while to avoid excessive intake of processed meats, which have been linked to certain health risks.

Opt for Healthier Variants:

  • Seek out sausage rolls made with leaner meats, such as turkey or chicken, to reduce the amount of saturated fat.
  • Look for versions with whole grain or puff pastry made with less butter to lower calorie count and add a fiber boost.
  • Homemade options: Making sausage rolls at home allows for ingredient control, ensuring the use of whole, unprocessed components.

Analyze Overall Daily Intake:

  • Balance other meals: If you indulge in a sausage roll, ensure other daily meals are rich in vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to balance out your diet.
  • Track nutrient intake: Utilize food tracking apps to monitor your daily intake of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to understand how a sausage roll fits within your nutritional needs.

Pairing with Nutritious Sides:

  • Pair sausage rolls with a side salad or steamed vegetables to increase fiber intake and add essential vitamins and minerals to your meal.
  • Avoid high-calorie condiments: Sausage rolls are often eaten with ketchup, which is high in sugars. Opt for lower-calorie or homemade condiment options to enhance flavor without adding unnecessary calories.

Mindful Eating Practices:

  • Pay attention to your hunger cues: Eat sausage rolls only when you're actually hungry, rather than as a response to stress or boredom.
  • Enjoy slowly: Savor each bite, which can increase satisfaction and help prevent overeating.

To put everything into perspective, consider the advice of expert dieticians who emphasize the importance of a diet diversified in nutrients. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests a varied diet, incorporating all food groups in moderation, is key to long-term health. Also, studies such as those published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicate that processed meats should be consumed sparingly due to associations with increased risks of heart disease and other health conditions.

When it comes to balancing sausage roll consumption with a healthy diet, it's not just about limiting intake, but making intelligent choices to maintain overall nutrition and well-being. By applying the principles of portion control, choosing healthier ingredients, and integrating them thoughtfully into your diet, you can still enjoy this favored snack without compromising on your health goals.

Healthier Sausage Roll Alternatives and Recipes

For health-conscious individuals, or those with specific dietary requirements, seeking alternatives to traditional sausage rolls is a smart way to indulge without compromising on nutritional value. Luckily, there are a myriad of options available that cater to different dietary preferences, ranging from vegetarian and vegan versions to reduced-fat and gluten-free alternatives. Let's explore some nutritious twists on this classic snack:

1. Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Typically, vegetarian sausage rolls substitute meat with ingredients like lentils, chickpeas, or textured vegetable protein. These plant-based options are not only lower in saturated fat but often higher in dietary fiber. Look for ready-made products with a short ingredient list, or even better, try making your own with whole foods.

Recipe Suggestion:

  • 1 cup of cooked brown lentils or chickpeas
  • 1 finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Whole wheat or gluten-free puff pastry sheets
  • Seasoning to taste

Mash the lentils or chickpeas and mix with the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, soy sauce, and smoked paprika. Season as desired, then roll the mixture into sausage shapes. Wrap in your chosen pastry and bake until golden.

2. Lean Meat Sausage Rolls

Opting for sausage rolls made with lean meats such as chicken or turkey can significantly reduce the fat content while maintaining a high protein level. These meats are also a good source of essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and selenium.

Recipe Suggestion:

  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 grated zucchini (to add moisture)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs (thyme or oregano works well)
  • 1 egg (for binding)
  • Whole wheat puff pastry sheets
  • Seasoning to taste

Combine the ground meat with the zucchini, dried herbs, and egg. Season as desired and form into sausage shapes. Wrap in pastry sheets and bake until the meat is fully cooked and the pastry is puffed and golden.

3. Gluten-Free Sausage Rolls

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there are gluten-free sausage roll options that use alternative flour like almond or coconut flour for the pastry and gluten-free sausages.

Recipe Suggestion:

  • Gluten-free sausage of choice
  • Gluten-free puff pastry (available at health food stores or some supermarkets)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (for the egg wash)

Cut the pastry into rectangles, place the sausages on the dough, roll, seal with a fork, brush with egg wash, and bake following the pastry package instructions.

While swapping out ingredients or opting for commercial healthier alternatives, be aware of potential additives and preservatives. Always check the labels for hidden sugars, salt, and unpronounceable ingredients that may detract from the healthfulness of the product.

When you take the time to explore healthier sausage roll alternatives and recipes, you'll not only enjoy the flavors but also benefit from a more balanced diet. Making these substitutions can contribute positively to your overall health, helping to manage weight, improve gut health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with high saturated fat and processed meat intake.

Frequently asked questions

Sausage rolls are generally low in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. To balance your diet, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources to ensure you are getting sufficient fiber, vitamins C and A, potassium, and other critical nutrients missing from sausage rolls.

Yes, to make a healthier pastry for homemade sausage rolls, you can use whole grain flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients. Additionally, using heart-healthy oils like olive oil instead of butter can lower the saturated fat content of the pastry.

Sausage rolls typically contain high levels of saturated fat, which may raise cholesterol levels. If you have cholesterol concerns, opt for sausage rolls made with lean meats and whole grain pastry, eat them in moderation, and prioritize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

To increase the protein content in vegetarian sausage rolls, consider adding legumes like lentils or beans, tofu, tempeh, or a plant-based meat substitute. These ingredients also offer the benefit of additional dietary fiber and a variety of essential nutrients.

Ask a question about Sausage Rolls and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased ldl cholesterol
  • high blood sugar levels
  • headache
  • flushing
  • sweating
  • water retention
  • allergic reactions
  • asthma symptoms

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of heart disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • high blood pressure
  • certain types of cancer
  • kidney disease
  • cardiovascular problems

Ingredients to be aware of


  • source of protein
  • enjoyment as a treat

Healthier alternatives

  • lean meats
  • whole grain pastry
  • vegetarian alternatives
  • homemade recipes
  • gluten-free options

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Nature's Path Pastries

  • Organic ingredients
  • Real blueberry flavor
  • Frosted delight
  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial preservatives
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-23-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-23-2024

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