Sushi is sneaky. It can seem like a safe diet choice. Fresh fish, some rice, maybe some cucumber or avocado. Soy sauce is liquid veggie protein. Pickled ginger and wasabi are loaded with antioxidants. But it’s sneaky. Depending on your order, sometimes the macros are ideal, and sometimes those rolls may as well be jelly donuts. Still other times, the stats are okay but not good enough to warrant you stuffing so much into your mouth, and then another, and just one more, and, well, might as well finish these off. Sneaky bastards. We’ve got the raw truth about sushi to help you make low-carb and low-fat selections.
YES! SASHIMI is just sliced raw seafood or sometimes vegetables or meat (often lightly cooked). Tuna or salmon sashimi with soy sauce is nearly all-protein, so you can generally eat it on even the strictest diet.
NO! TEMPURA ROLLS feature deep-fried batter, either on the entire roll or the shrimp inside. CRUNCHY ROLLS are generously coated with tempura flakes. In either case, tempura’s crunch cranks up the saturated fat and sugar. INARI, rice inside deep-fried tofu, should also be spurned, because the vegetable protein (3 g) can’t outweigh all the fat (3 g), carbs (17 g), and calories (100) in a single piece.
YES! BROWN RICE ROLLS have about 18% fewer calories and a 15% percent lower glycemic index than their white rice cousins. But if you spot BLACK RICE ROLLS on the menu, that’s your best choice. The rare but rich black variety is 100% whole grain, loaded with antioxidants, and, at a low 42, it’s 24% less glycemic than brown.
NO! Ahh, those luxurious, NON-SOY SAUCES bathing a plate of rolls—these are a big “hell no.” A single tablespoon of SESAME OIL is loaded with a whopping 120 calories (!) and over 13 grams of fat, 2 of them saturated. SPICY MAYO: 100 calories, 11 g. of fat. EEL SAUCE: 32 calories, 6.4 g. of sugar. NIKIRI: 27 calories, 5 g. of sugar. These are just tablespoon stats! Think of how much sauce gets showered on sushi plates. Punzu, at 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar, is diet food by comparison, but beware of overdoing it. Low-sodium soy sauce at only 8 calories per tablespoon and no fat or sugar is always your best choice.
YES! If you’re going keto but crave rolls instead of sashimi, one word: NARUTO. When rolls are prepared Naruto-style, there is no rice. The filling is wrapped in thinly sliced strips of cucumber.
NO! Beware of sneaky HIGH-FAT FILLINGS. They may seem like small additions, but, in a plate of sushi, they can be calorie bombs. A half-inch cube of cream cheese has 27 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, most of it saturated. Multiple by eight and the Philly in those PHILADELPHIA ROLLS added 216 calories and 20 fat grams. Stealth offenders are SPICY TUNA ROLLS, because the “spicy” comes from mixing tuna with spicy mayo, and we’ve already seen what a calorie and fat landmine that sauce is. Get your spiciness from the wasabi on your plate.
OKAY. If you eat in moderation, chow down on traditional SALMON OR TUNA ROLLS OR NIGIRI with soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. To maximize protein, order double rolls—salmon or tuna on both the inside and outside.