Sushi is a dish originating from Japan. It usually consists of vinegared rice, raw or cooked fish and vegetables, all wrapped in seaweed. Each ingredient has many nutritional benefits, which means sushi can be a weight loss-friendly option.

Sushi often contains nutritious ingredients, including fish, vegetables, seaweed and rice. These ingredients contain a good balance of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Sushi also tends to be relatively low in calories, making it a great option for people looking to lose weight.

This article provides an overview of sushi, its ingredients, health benefits, potential drawbacks, and whether or not sushi is a weight loss-friendly option.

What is sushi?

Sushi is a classic dish and an important part of Japanese culture and diet. It originated in the 7th century, as a way to preserve fish by fermenting rice, and in the 17th century, people started adding vinegar to rice to improve its taste. In the 19th century, raw fish began to be used, and the fermentation process was later abandoned.

Traditionally, sushi consists of a roll of vinegared rice and a mixture of seasonings, vegetables, cooked or raw fish and seaweed (nori). Soy sauce and wasabi, a spicy paste made from Japanese horseradish, are usually provided as sides.

Can I eat sushi while trying to lose weight?

Sushi is relatively low in calories, making it a suitable option for those looking to lose weight. A 2021 study found that a low-fat or low-carb calorie diet is optimal for weight loss. Additionally, a 2015 study showed that the combination of protein and resistant starch, as in the case of sushi, increased the amount of fat burned by participants and contributed to their feelings of satiety. Weight loss occurs when the body is in a calorie deficit. To lose weight, the amount of calories a person consumes from eating and drinking must be less than they burn throughout the day. To maintain steady weight loss, it is essential to be in a calorie deficit and to incorporate physical exercise into a daily routine.

What are the health benefits of sushi?

Depending on the ingredients and method of preparation, sushi can be a great low-calorie dish with nutritional benefits. Each ingredient has its own health benefits.


The fish in sushi is usually a source of lean protein. Protein takes longer to digest, which means it helps you feel full longer.
Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Research links omega-3s to essential brain and body functions. Also, these fats help fight diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Also, fish is one of the few foods to naturally contain vitamin D.


White rice is rich in certain B vitamins such as niacin and thiamin. B vitamins are important for cell metabolism and red blood cell synthesis. Cooked white rice is high in resistant starch, and research links it to reducing blood sugar spikes after a meal and improving the gut microbiome. Rice contains several vitamins and minerals important for the functioning of the body, such as phosphorus, potassium and folate.

Seaweed (nori)

Nori is a type of seaweed that wraps around the outside of sushi in the traditional “maki” or roll shape. Seaweed contains a variety of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, thiamin, vitamins A, C and E, phosphorus, iron, sodium and iodine. Additionally, seaweed is a protein-rich food, with nearly half of its dry weight being protein. This rate is comparable to that of protein-rich plant foods, such as chickpeas.

Potential Downsides of Eating Sushi

Like most foods, sushi can have drawbacks depending on the ingredients, preparation, and amount consumed.


Fish may contain traces of mercury from ocean pollution, which can be dangerous if accidentally consumed. Other types of toxins in fish can lead to ciguatera or scombroid poisoning. Sushi containing raw fish may pose a risk of infection from various bacteria and parasites. Among the species commonly found in sushi are Salmonella and Vibrio bacteria, as well as parasites such as Anisakis and Diphyllobothrium.


Because rice is a source of refined carbohydrates, it can, if eaten in large amounts, raise blood sugar levels, promote inflammation, and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Also, sushi rice is usually prepared with sugar. The extra sugar and low fiber content of sushi means the body’s digestive system breaks it down quickly.

The sauces

Sushi usually contains a lot of salt. This comes from soy sauce, pickled vegetables and fish, which can be cooked or prepared with salt. The high salt content can contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of stomach cancer.

The healthiest type of sushi

Sushi comes in many forms:

Maki: rolls of rice, seaweed and different fillings, usually vegetables or seafood.
Nigri: rice topped with raw fish
Temaki: rolls filled with rice and fish and/or vegetables and wrapped in nori.
Sashimi: raw fish cut into thin slices and served with soy sauce.

The healthiest sushi is one that contains simple, nutritious ingredients, with minimal additives. These include the following sushi:

salmon or tuna rolls
avocado rolls
rainbow rolls
vegetarian rolls
california rolls

Fried ingredients and additional sauces that may be calorie-dense, high in fat, or high in sugar, such as wasabi, are all things that can make sushi less healthy.

The following questions are frequently asked about sushi

Is sushi suitable for people with diabetes?

Sushi can pose problems for diabetics due to added sugar and refined carbohydrates. It is best to avoid both of these if one is diabetic.

Are California Sushi Rolls Healthy?

California rolls are generally healthy, provided you avoid high-calorie sauces, such as mayonnaise, or eat them in moderation.

In short

Sushi is a nutritious dish that has many health benefits thanks to its ingredients. It contains carbohydrates, lean proteins and fats. The low calorie content of sushi makes it an ideal dish for weight loss. There are many types of sushi, some of which contain more additives that can be unhealthy, such as fried ingredients. Also, it can be dangerous to eat raw fish if the producers have not prepared it correctly.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.