Is Sushi Healthy?

Sushi Healthy?

A question that we are constantly being asked is if healthy sushi really exists. A lot of people have different opinions about sushi being a healthy food choice. Our opinion is that it can be if you get the right kind of sushi. Is sushi fattening? Knowledge of what sushi is and what it is made out of is key to eating healthy sushi. You should know which roles you should be careful in indulging in. In this article we will look into the makeup of a piece of sushi to determine if sushi is in fact healthy or not. We will do some brief analysis of sushi rice, sushi seaweed, sushi tempura, and sushi sauce.

Sushi rice vs white rice

sushi_rice

To begin with let us look at the major composition of a piece of sushi. The main ingredient found almost always in sushi is white rice. Sushi rice, also called “shari”, “Japanese rice”, “Glutinous rice”, and “Pearl rice”,differs from regular white rice. What is so different about sushi rice then regular rice? Well sushi rice is made from the short-grain variety of rice. Short-grain rice is much more starchier then long-grain rice. This causes the sushi rice to be more stickier, allowing it to better adhere to itself so the sushi does not fall apart.  This is the reason a lot of people claim sushi is not healthy. One sushi roll is about a whole cup of rice. So it becomes an over whelming amount of starch. Sushi rice has only one main seasoning and it is rice vinegar.

Sushi Seaweed

Most sushi is wrapped up in a dark green looking seaweed. This is actually called Nori in places like japan. So how do we know if nori is healthy or not? Well this edible seaweed is an algae organism called Porphyra. It is gathered and dried in thin layers like paper and then cut up. This stuff has been around since the 8th century in paste form. It is agriculturally grown in the sea. Lastly, nori contains a good amount of vitamin B12. We do not see edible seaweed to be a contributing factor to unhealthy sushi. In fact it seems to bring more nutrients into the dish that most would never eat normally. This is a completely organic food.

Sushi Tempura

sushi_tempura

One of the issues of unhealthy sushi is the fried sushi, also called tempura. Certain sushi toppings such as fish are dipped in batter and deep fried. This is not any ordinary batter. It must be prepped by someone with years of experience or it will not come out right. Unlike many American batter, tempura does not use any breadcrumbs. Only American adapted sushi rolls use corn flakes and bread crumbs. The fish or vegetable is dipped in this batter and deep fried in sesame oil at 160 degrees. This makes that lean tuna you were about to eat the same thing as a fish stick. So tempura is defiantly one of the culprits here.

 

Sushi Sauce

sushi_sauce

There used to be a time when the only sauce that same with sushi was soy sauce. Now sushi chefs try to create their own special sauces to top the sushi rolls. This can be a major caloric addition to the plate. The problem is that many sauces are mayo based like a spicy tuna roll. Eating a few rolls can really set you back if all of them are made with sauces. Sushi chefs also use the sauce as a way to liven up the plate for better presentation. These plates are very eye appealing and is what makes you crave sushi just by staring at a picture of it.

Conclusion

In our research of trying to answer the question of how healthy is sushi, we came to a conclusion. Sushi can be made out of all kinds of ingredients, yet healthy sushi rolls do exist and so do unhealthy ones. We do not see the major component of sushi, sushi rice and nori, as being the biggest problem to the caloric intake from sushi. The fried tempura and the sauces are much worse. However to say that sushi i not healthy is a reach. There are many dinner possibilities out there to eat and sushi would probably be one of the better choices unless you are planning on eating a salad with no dressing for dinner. If you are worried about all the carbs from the rice, order your roll to be wrapped in cucumber instead of rice. Sashami is also a great alternative as it is just thinly slice raw fish. If you want to stick with eating regular sushi but want to eat healthy, order some vegetable sushi or some sushi with lean fish on it. Finally moderation is key. Do not eat so many rolls until it becomes unhealthy. Remember one roll equals one cup of rice! There is no such thing as a sushi diet. You cannot lose weight by just eating sushi.

Healthiest Sushi Rolls:

RollImageCaloriesFatCarbsProtein
Salmon RollSalmon Roll1344g17g7g
Kappa Maki Kappa_Maki1360g30g6g
Avocado RollAvocado_Roll1406g28g2g
Vegetarian Rollvegetarian roll1804g25g3g
Tuna rollTuna_Roll1802g27g24g
Yellowtail Scallion RollYellowtail_and_Scallion_Roll2453g37g15g
Salmon and Avocado RollSalmon_and_Avocado_Roll3008g42g13g

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