What is The Nutritional Content of Sushi?


question-icon-newI suddenly have an appetite for sushi but I’m not sure if its smart to include it in my diet since I’m on a weight loss program. Can you please let me know some information regarding the nutritional breakdown (grams of carbs) and how many calories are in sushi with soy sauce and wasabi?

answer-icon-newChoosing to eat sushi can be very healthy, provided you pick the right items, ingredients and accompaniments. Sushi is a popular and equally delicious Japanese cuisine and can be an excellent option as a low-calorie meal on your weight loss plan. Once you are aware of the nutritional content of sushi, you will be able to enjoy it anytime you want and be totally guilt free!

Sushi is typically layered into rolls and is composed of cold boiled rice along with varying mixtures made from vegetables, raw or cooked fish, and seaweed wraps. The ingredients can vary depending upon your preference, taste and creativity. Just choose wisely and combine it with healthier options like non-cream dips, salads and hot beverages. Sushi rolls look temptingly irresistible, when served sliced and side up. Healthier types of sushi can be wrapped in a seaweed wrapper and kelp, called Nori that includes your favorite filling and rice.

Nutritional Content of Sushi
The best way to enjoy this Japanese culinary delight guilt free is by knowing the calorie content and nutritional content of the items you choose.

Let’s have a look at the foremost concern, which is the overall calories contained in sushi. The most popular and delicious California roll, consists of surimi or crabmeat, cucumber, and avocado. Another type consists of eel or unagi and avocado. There are many different styles to choose from. Here is the nutritional breakdown of many of the popular sushi choices in most restaurants:

  • Sushi: California Roll (1 pack of 12 pieces is 361 calories, 66 grams of carbs)
  • Sushi: Spicy Roll, Tuna (1 pack of 12 pieces is 449 calories, 57 grams of carbs)
  • Sushi: Rainbow Roll (1 pack of 12 pieces is 489 calories, 66 grams of carbs)
  • Sushi: Tempura Roll (1 pack of 12 pieces is 531 calories, 82 grams of carbs)

Remember, a weight loss diet will not be solely dependent on the amount of calories, but on the quality of calories you consume. Now, let us look at the breakdown of the macronutrient content of sushi.

The base layer of sushi is composed of rice (carbohydrates) although this rice layer makes hardly 1/4 component of the sushi rolls. Most sushi types provide 28-38 grams of carbohydrates per roll. It is best to opt for brown rice over white rice to add fiber and vitamins to your meal. It is best to avoid deep fried or breaded sushi options, such as the shrimp tempura roll which provides twice the carbohydrates and fat content.


The fatty part of sushi varies with the selected fish and the mayonnaise filling. Salmon based sushi is naturally a fattier fish but it contains the healthy omega-3 fats that you want to include in your diet. The California roll is usually an option with less fat (7 grams of fat per roll) whereas avocado and unagi roll can provide almost 17 grams fat per roll. The leanest sushi rolls include kappa maki and the tuna roll, which provide about 2 grams per roll. However, do not get confused with the spicy tuna roll that will add about 11 grams fat per roll due to the additional sauces added to it.

California rolls or Unagi and avocado rolls, provide about 5.8 grams of fiber per roll. Whereas, cucumber or kappa maki rolls provide about 3.5 grams of fiber per roll. Vegetable sushi options and choosing sushi made with brown rice will also be higher in fiber.

Once you know the nutritional content of sushi, you can surely enjoy your favorite meal but make sure you watch your overall calories and the quality of ingredients used. Those who are on a low-calorie diet or weight loss plan, should choose vegetables with lean fish (white fish) when choosing sushi. If you want to cut out carbs, choose the sashimi option which is basically raw fish without any rice. Say no to fish mixtures with a bunch of added sauces (mayonnaise) such as the spicy tuna roll which is much higher in fat and calories. It is best to inquire and know about the nutritional content of the sushi you will be eating by visiting the restaurant’s website to review their menu before dining there.

How Many Calories in Sushi with Soy Sauce and Wasabi?
Soy sauce and wasabi are the ideal sauces to go along with sushi. 1 serving (4 piece of sushi) with soy sauce and wasabi will provide around 265 calories, consisting of 3 grams of fat, 90 mg of cholesterol, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 1,000 mg of sodium and 14 grams of protein.

Wasabi paste and hot mustard are optimal choices with sushi as compared to soy sauce, which is high in sodium. Excess sodium causes water retention and can cause high blood pressure. Adding low sodium soy sauce can help. As mentioned previously, if you just eat sashimi (sushi without rice), you will drastically cut down on your overall calories. For wasabi and soy sauce, the calories are very low:

  • Wasabi: 1 tsp (15 calories, 3 grams of carbs)
  • Soy Sauce: 1 tsp (3 calories, 0.4 grams of carbs)

Is Sushi Good on a Weight Loss Diet?
Yes, sushi can be eaten regularly on a weight loss diet. Just make sure to choose the healthiest options and watch out for those carbs since they can add up very quickly! If you want to go super low carb, then choose the sashimi dinner with a side ginger salad and miso soup. This is a perfect meal that will provide a lot of quality lean protein that will help you build muscle and lose fat!

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