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Can Diabetics Eat Sausage Rolls?

Sausage rolls, a beloved British treat, have found their place on the plates of many during festivities and casual get-togethers. But for those diagnosed with diabetes, the question arises – can diabetics safely consume sausage rolls?

Their flaky pastry and delicious meat filling make them irresistible. Still, from a health standpoint, especially for those managing blood sugar levels, it’s essential to delve deeper into their nutritional content.

Nutrition Value of Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls primarily consist of a meat filling wrapped in puff pastry. The allure of these treats is often their golden, flaky exterior coupled with a flavorful, meaty centre. But what lies beneath the taste?

According to the Nutritionix [1], a typical sausage roll contains:

  • Calories: 320 kcal
  • Total Fat: 23 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.6 g
  • Total Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Sugars: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 451 mg

While sausage rolls offer a certain amount of protein, which can be beneficial, they also come with a substantial amount of carbohydrates, particularly from the pastry and fats from the meat filling. These factors, combined with sodium levels, can make it a concern for those with diabetes. The sodium content of 451 mg should be juxtaposed with the guideline of consuming no more than 2,300 mg daily, meaning that a sausage roll provides nearly 20% of the recommended sodium intake. [2]

Moreover, it’s important to note that store-bought sausage rolls might contain additional preservatives and additives, which could further affect their nutritional value. Therefore, understanding what goes into a sausage roll, whether homemade or purchased, becomes crucial for diabetics.

Why are Sausage Rolls not the Best Choice for Diabetics?

Diabetes requires diligent management of blood sugar levels, and food choices play a pivotal role in this. For those monitoring their health, particularly diabetics, it’s worth taking a deeper look at what’s inside this popular snack.

High in Saturated Fat

Many of us have been warned about the adverse effects of consuming saturated fats. However, it can be challenging to understand just how detrimental they can be to our health. Sausage rolls are a perfect example of this: although it may be tempting to indulge in this savoury treat, it contains a significant amount of saturated fat, primarily from meat.

Studies have revealed a clear correlation between the intake of foods high in saturated fat and insulin resistance. This condition occurs when our body becomes less effective in using insulin, which can have severe consequences for our overall health. [3]

This is particularly concerning for diabetics who already grapple with insulin challenges. Plus, these fats play a role in hiking up those LDL cholesterol levels, putting heart health on the line.

The Salty Truth

Taste often comes at a price. The allure of that perfectly seasoned meat filling? It’s salt doing its magic. But for diabetics, this magic might be a bit deceptive. He & MacGregor (2009) have demonstrated the risks of high sodium intake. Think of increased blood pressure and amplified health risks, especially when diabetes is already in the picture. [4]

Carbs in Disguise

The crispy pastry? It’s not just butter and flour doing a dance. It’s also carbs – and quite a lot of them. Carbohydrates can be tricky, especially for those with diabetes. Ludwig (2002) spotlighted how a surge in carb intake can send blood glucose levels on a rollercoaster ride post-meal. So, while that pastry might melt in the mouth, it’s also potentially spiking blood sugar levels. [5]

Navigating the world of delicious foods with health concerns isn’t always straightforward. However, understanding the nuances helps in making informed choices. The next time a tray of sausage rolls passes by, perhaps it’s worth considering a smaller portion or seeking out a healthier alternative.

Homemade Diabetes-friendly Rolls

The love for sausage rolls needn’t end because of diabetes. In fact, with a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of determination, you can whip up a version that’s not only delicious but also kinder to your blood sugar levels. Let’s embark on this culinary adventure!

Substitute the Pastry

Traditional pastries are carb-laden, but alternatives exist. Have you considered using almond flour or coconut flour? These low-carb substitutes offer a similar texture without causing unwelcome spikes in blood sugar. Scientists found that almond consumption positively influences glycaemic control, making it a delightful addition to your kitchen repertoire. [6]

Reinventing the Filling

While traditional sausages come with their health concerns, alternatives abound. Opt for leaner meats like turkey or chicken. Not only do they reduce saturated fat intake, but they also absorb flavours beautifully, ensuring your rolls remain as savoury as ever. Plus, introducing herbs and spices, like basil or oregano, can further enhance flavours while keeping sodium levels in check.

Mindful Seasoning

Remember the concern about salt? Here’s a tip: Swap out regular table salt for herb-infused seasonings. Not only will you be dialling down sodium, but you’ll also elevate the flavour profile of your rolls to gourmet levels. Consider the addition of garlic, rosemary, or even a splash of lemon zest – the possibilities are as vast as your imagination.

Creating a diabetes-friendly version of the beloved sausage roll is not just about health. It’s a culinary journey, a testament to the fact that with a bit of innovation, we can enjoy the best of both worlds – taste and health.

To help you prepare a healthy version of this delicious meal, we tweaked a recipe that brings together a range of sausage roll flavours and healthy ingredients:



Ah, the ever-present curiosity of the culinary explorer and health enthusiast! Let’s address some of the most pressing questions about sausage rolls and diabetes.

Is pastry a carbohydrate?

Yes, indeed! Traditional pastry, which forms the crispy, golden exterior of sausage rolls, is primarily made of flour, butter, and sometimes water. The flour is rich in carbohydrates, and this is where the main carb content of the pastry comes from. Consuming carb-heavy foods can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which is especially concerning for those with diabetes. [5]

What meats can diabetics eat?

The culinary world is vast, and so are meat options for diabetics! Opting for lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish can be a healthier choice. These meats are lower in saturated fats compared to more traditional sausage fillings. Additionally, higher intake of poultry and fish has been associated with reduced risks of numerous health outcomes, making them a solid choice for those monitoring their health. [7]

What to do if I eat too many sausage rolls?

Firstly, don’t panic! We’ve all succumbed to the delicious allure of our favourite treats. If you’ve indulged a bit too much, it’s crucial to monitor your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.

Drink plenty of water, consider taking a walk, and remember to balance out your following meals with lower-carb options. It’s always a good idea to discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional, especially when it comes to managing diabetes.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the gastronomical world with health considerations might seem like walking a tightrope, but knowledge and mindful choices can turn it into a delightful dance.

The classic sausage roll has its challenges, but with innovation, it can still find a place on the plate of those with diabetes. Here’s to health, knowledge, and the joy of eating!


  1. Calories in Sausage Roll. Nutritionix. Accessed August 30, 2023.
  2. Mente A, O’Donnell M, Yusuf S. Sodium Intake and Health: What Should We Recommend Based on the Current Evidence? Nutrients. 2021;13(9):3232. doi:10.3390/nu13093232
  3. Hu FB, Manson JE, Willett WC. Types of dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20(1):5-19. doi:10.1080/07315724.2001.10719008
  4. He FJ, MacGregor GA. A comprehensive review on salt and health and current experience of worldwide salt reduction programmes. J Hum Hypertens. 2009;23(6):363-384. doi:10.1038/jhh.2008.144
  5. Ludwig DS. The glycemic index: physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. JAMA. 2002;287(18):2414-2423. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2414
  6. Grundy MML, Fardet A, Tosh SM, Rich GT, Wilde PJ. Processing of oat: the impact on oat’s cholesterol lowering effect. Food Funct. 2018;9(3):1328-1343. doi:10.1039/c7fo02006f
  7. Micha R, Peñalvo JL, Cudhea F, Imamura F, Rehm CD, Mozaffarian D. Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States. JAMA. 2017;317(9):912-924. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0947

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