You like sausage, but you know that such a high-fat meat is not the healthiest choice. So you turn to the chicken version, assuming the chicken sausage nutrition will be a better option.
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But chicken sausage can be high in fat and sodium too, and the amount varies from brand to brand. Knowing the nutrition facts for chicken sausage should encourage you to examine your brand at the grocery store a little more closely before bringing it home.
Read more: Can You Eat Sausages on a Low-Carb Diet?
Chicken Sausage Calories
Depending on the brand and flavor of chicken sausage, one link — which is 85 grams — has around 170 calories, according to the USDA. Comparatively, the same serving of a pork sausage has close to 270 calories in the same serving, according to the USDA.
Although the chicken sausage is a lower-calorie option, it is still considered a medium-energy-dense food and therefore has a high calorie content compared to its serving size, leading you to consume more calories to fill you up.
Watch the Unhealthy Fat
Although poultry is generally considered a lean source of protein, chicken sausage is high in both fat and saturated fat. One serving of the sausage contains 10 grams of total fat, according to the USDA. Compare brands when shopping to find low fat chicken sausage.
The National Academies of Sciences recommends that you limit your daily total fat intake to 20 percent to 35 percent of calories and saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that means 44 to 78 grams of total fat and no more than 22 grams of saturated fat. Getting too much fat, and especially saturated fat, in your diet raises your risk of heart disease.
Rich in Protein
Chicken sausage is a good source of protein, with 14 grams per link. On average, men need 56 grams of protein a day, and women require 46 grams, according to the National Academies of Sciences. So one link meets 20 percent of your daily protein needs. As a high-fat meat, however, the chicken sausage is not a lean source of protein.
Watch the Sodium
As a processed meat, chicken sausage is very high in sodium. The amount of sodium in one link is 580 milligrams. Getting too much sodium in your diet increases your blood pressure. In general, you should limit your intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. However, the American Heart Association states that less than 1,500 milligrams per day is ideal.
Consider the Iron
Iron deficiency is a common nutritional problem, affecting 80 percent of the world's population, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron helps carry oxygen throughout your body, and not getting enough in your diet can lead to fatigue, poor concentration or difficulty fighting off infection.
Chicken sausage is a source of iron, with 0.72 milligrams per link, according to the USDA. One link meets as little as 4 percent of the daily value to as much as 35 percent of the daily value, depending on your age. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 need 18 milligrams of iron a day, and men and women over the age of 51 need 8 milligrams a day.