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Most healthy sushi?

I am a huge sushi fan, but I have always wondered if it's actually good for you. Does anyone know the nutrition of sushi rolls and fish? I like hamachi, sake, unagi, and butterfish. What is the most healthful?

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  1. Sushi is certainly better for you than many foods. My nutritionist, google, found this for me:


    1. Anything that is breaded and deep fried, like tempura is not good for you. If you stick to other rolls it is fairly healthy. Also using brown rice instead of the traditional sushi rice adds a lot of fiber and is more healthful, although it doesn't taste nearly as good.

      Seaweed, salmon, and avocado all have health benefits.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lisaf

        Why isn't anything "breaded and deep fried, like tempura" good for you?

        1. re: JMF

          Good Question.
          You should check out the post on Japanese pork belly and whether or not it's good for you.: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/351100
          Some good questions are asked, like is fried food bad for you because it's unhealthy or by eating it you are not consuming a healthier alternative.
          There is also the issue of correlation vs. causality, i.e. when eating pork fat does all the saturated fat harm you or the cholesterol. Both are in the food, but only one may be harmful.
          Da Cook

      2. "good for you" is one of the most useless terms out there when talking about food.

        be more specific - are you curious what is high in fat, what fish will contain mercury or other heavy metals, what is likely to harbor parasites or bacteria, etc.

        sushi in general can be seen as a pretty healthy food - little fat, high nutrition, etc. if your questions is just one of whether is is a bad dietary choice, the answer is probably not. stay away from the fried stuff, eat some seaweed salad, edamame, boiled spinach, etc, along with your fish and you have a great meal.

        5 Replies
        1. re: andytee

          but low in the fiber and nutrients found in whole grains. Sushi rice is normally white rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar. As you say, 'good for you' is a vague term.


          1. re: paulj

            Yes, I understand "good for you" is a vague term. I was looking more for a comparison of the different fish that are offered at sushi restaurants. My favorite is hamachi, but I wasn't sure how that stacked up to a fish like salmon or tuna nutritionally. What fish is the best overall in terms of calories, fat, and other factors?

            1. re: bwillia

              The fat in fish contains good things like Omega-3 fatty acids, so fish with less fat may not be "best". Are you trying to lose weight, do you want more nutritional potency? In what way do you define "best"?

              1. re: Humbucker

                No, I am not trying to lose weight, but yes, I would like to know which fish has more nutritional potency. I actually just looked at the google link that was posted above, which has a good comparison of the different fish used.

          2. re: andytee

            Remember all things in moderation!


            All mushrooms are edible, some only once.
            If you like a food item, be moderate in it, enjoy, because life is just too long to eat what you don't enjoy. and too short not to eat what you do enjoy.

          3. Sashimi will probably be your best bet in terms of healthy and not hidden fat. Often the rolls that taste so good have some type of fried stuff in them, special sauce (read: mayo -based or sugary concotion). Seaweed salad, miso soup, edamame and a green salad are all a good choices. However, if salt or sugar is a major issue for you, be aware there's a lot of salt in the soup and on the edamame shell and there's sugar added to the seaweed salad and ginger-carrot dressing on the salad.

            1. Sushi, generally, is a pretty healthy way to eat.
              As has already been mentioned in this post, the less mayo and fried stuff you consume, the better. The same would apply to how much sake or beer you quaff along with it.
              Far more serious is the the Top-Of-Foodchain issues that apply to certain species of fish. Mackerel and Tuna have high concentrations of mercury and other toxic pollutants in them to to their place on the food chain. Health Canada just published recommendations that suggest that pregnant or nursing woman refrain from these species altogether and that the rest of us eat only 150 grams per week.
              Salmon, on the other hand, is low in this kind of risk, but high in beneficial fatty acids, anti-oxidants and other good stuff.
              Unfortunately, if I don't get no Albacore Toro, I'm not going out for no sushi.
              Maybe I can be re-harvested for thermometer production once I meet my end.
              Da Cook

              7 Replies
              1. re: Da_Cook

                King Mackerel is often listed as high mercury fish, but I've never seen it served as sushi. The mackerel which are served are much smaller fish (especially Aji / Spanish Mackerel which is tiny) and probably don't contain much mercury. In general, bigger fish are higher on the food chain. (Bluefin tuna, being enourmous, are higher in mercury than smaller tunas, which may or may not have "tuna" in their name.)

                In general, fish names are inconsistently and somewhat capriciously used, and proclamations about "Tuna" or "Mackerel" (or, sadly, even "Dover Sole") are more confusing than useful.

                1. re: Da_Cook

                  Ha, Da_Cook - do they still use mercury in thermometers? On a serious note, I know someone who got mercury poisoning from a daily sushi consumption. Salmon is my least favorite type of fish, and besides only wild Pacific kind is safe to eat on regular basis. And white rice is very fattening!

                  1. re: welle

                    Mercury accumulates in fish high up the food chain in waters with high mercury contents. Such fish in the Amazon basin are to be avoided: slash-and-burn farming exposes soils to rains that leach Hg into the rivers (no, gold mining is not the culprit, although it was once thught to be). There are fish in North American rivers and lakes that also accumulte high levels of Hg (also from natural sources) and should not be consumed on a regular basis. I'm not certain how purely ocean fish could accumulate Hg.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Environmental Defense has a list of Best/Worst fish for humans and ocean:


                      The same list interpreted by the NY Times, I had saved and also posted a printout on my fridge:

                      A Guide to Guilt-Free Fish

                      These fish can be eaten once a week by adults, according to an assessment of contaminant levels by Environmental Defense. Those marked with an asterisk can be eaten more than once a week.


                      ARCTIC CHAR, color added
                      *ATLANTIC BUTTERFISH
                      *BLACK COD (Sable, Butterfish on West Coast)
                      *BLACK SEA BASS Younger children no more than four times a month
                      *HAKE (white, silver and red
                      )HAKE (Chilean, Cape and Argentine)
                      *HALIBUT (Pacific only) Older children 3 times a month, younger children twice
                      *MACKEREL (Atlantic or Boston only)
                      MAHI-MAHI Younger children 3 times a month
                      *PACIFIC COD
                      *PACIFIC SAND DAB (yellowtail flounder)
                      *PACIFIC WHITING
                      *SALMON (Pacific)
                      *SOLE (gray, petrale, rex, yellowfin)
                      SOLE (Dover; English or lemon, older children 3 times a month, younger children twice)


                      CATFISH (domestic)
                      STRIPED BASS (rockfish)
                      *TROUT (rainbow); TROUT (steelhead)


                      *CLAMS (northern quahogs)
                      CLAMS (Atlantic surf, butter, Manila, ocean quahog, Pacific geoduck, Pacific littleneck and soft-shell)
                      *CRAB (Dungeness, snow) Dungeness: younger children once a week
                      CRAB (Florida stone, Jonah, king)
                      *CRAYFISH (United States)
                      *LOBSTER (American) Children 2 to 4 times a month
                      *MUSSELS (farmed blue; wild blue, children 2 to 3 times a month)
                      MUSSELS (New Zealand green, Mediterranean)
                      OYSTERS (farmed Eastern and Pacific)
                      *SCALLOPS (bay; Northeast, Canadian sea)
                      *SHRIMP (wild American pink, white, brown)
                      SHRIMP (spot prawns and northern shrimp)
                      *SPINY LOBSTER (Caribbean, United States, and Australia)

                    2. re: welle

                      White rice is very fattening? Surely you jest or are misinformed. 1/2 cup of rice is under 120 calories and about .3 grams of fat. http://www.ricegourmet.com/About_Rice.... It is a plant, so not even harmful fat, in that small amount.

                      The daily intake of sushi causing mercury poisoning sounds like an urban myth, sorry.

                      1. re: Quine

                        have you ever seen a half/cup of cooked rice? very little - probably just 2-3 nigiri will make up half a cup of rice. Westerners always believe that rice somehow is low in calories, because all asian diets are rich in it and asians are prevalently skinny. If you just order a bowl of rice in a restaurant it's at least 2 cups! And not everything that comes from plants is healthy/good for you. And I don't villify fats - fats are essential nutrients, building blocks of our cell walls.

                        The sushi-induced mercury poisoning is not an urban myth. Of course it took more than a year of daily sushi consumption, which is unrealistic for most of us. The saddest thing is the person was a healthnut and ate sushi for perceived healt benefits.

                        1. re: welle

                          Sorry welle, as a cook, (grew up in the business as well) er, yes, I have seen a half cup of rice and of a few other things. :)

                          And today, being Monday, my fave lunch is fresh sushi. So while the chef was preparing my order and I watched, I asked him to look at the rice portion he was putting in the rolls I ordered. I wanted to be factual in my post here and dang! You are right he did not use 1/2 of rice. He used a 1/4 cup, for each roll, so since I ordered 2 rolls, I ate that very small 1/2 cup of rice.

                          I am sorry, No way can I see rice as very fattening! And that has nothing to do with being a "westerner" or what asian diets do, but just plain old calorie and nutritional content information.

                          As I said before, all things in moderation.

                  2. To save calories, I do rolls w/o rice... I order soy paper w/ tuna and cucumbers, and the rolls turn out a bit smaller, but just as manageable. Sometimes I get soy paper w/ crab, shrimp and spicy scallop, no rice, which is a little higher cal but so tasty. Then I generally go w/ an order of albacore sashimi w/o the fried onion or garnishes, with a side of ponzu sauce. As pointed out, the fried stuff is dangerous. The fattier fishes include Atlantic herring, bluefish, butterfish, mackerel, sablefish, some salmon, shad, smelt, sturgeon, and yellowtail. The leaner are tuna (not fatty of course), halibut, snapper... Eel is okay but not when you start adding all the sauces. Same goes for things w/ spicy mayo. My trick is to order sashimi and/or riceless rolls plus an order of steamed vegetables as a side to supply some fullness factor and fiber. Hope that helps.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Emme

                      Riceless rolls, that's genius! I've never heard of anyone doing that before. Thanks for that tip!

                      1. re: operagirl

                        Seriously, I prefer them to rice-packed rolls. It focuses the flavor on the fish. And, most sushi chefs have no problem accommodating the request... They may look at you sideways first, but it always works.

                    2. I was going to try to conribute something, but now I just don't know: sushi with fried things, mayo in sushi, talking about miso shiru when I thought we are talking about sushi, tuna and mackeral with high levels of Hg (there are problems in Canada for lake fish high on the food chain and where there are high concentrations of Hg leached into the water--but tuna??), and sushi without rice! You've all lost me. Your "sushi" and the sushi I've eaten for 57 years apparently have nothing to do with one another. Would some of you like to explain?

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        There's a restaurant in my town that does some particularly creative combinations. Here's a link to their menu -- check out the maki (they offer rolls with fish, vegetarian rolls, and vegan rolls) to get an idea of the crazier side of Americanized sushi!


                        1. re: operagirl

                          Wow! operagirl, thank you. Fascinating and horrifying. There must not be any Japanese in your town! Deviations! Mobo Maki Maki! The "Corruptor"! I would try any of and all of their offerings if I were to have a chance. And, yes, that explains it all.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Well, I've never seen anything like that here in the Bay Area. BTW, I wanted to thank you, S.F., for your sushi-making advice last week. I made some new-to-me varieties, though nothing like some of the sushi on that menu. Mayo???

                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                              My favorite sushi restaurant is staffed by Japanese, but I have a hard time getting a roll w/out cream cheese in it (gag). I supposed they are just giving people what they want. I must admit, the rolls w/ mayo (generally in the form of some type of seafood salad) are tasty.

                              Do you consider rolls w/ a fried soft shell crab included to be an abomination? That's very common here, as well.

                              The healthiest "roll" I order, IMO, is a cucumber roll. Not truly sushi, either, because the rice is replaced w/ very thin ribbons of cucumber which encircle salmon,tuna, a white fish, and asparagus. I define healthy as low fat, high protein, and including veggies.

                              1. re: danna

                                Rolls with fried softshell crab sounds great! That cucumber roll sounds good too. I'll make some (I can just see them in my mind) albeit they are not "sushi" (which implies vinigared rice).

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  spicy softshell crab handrolls is the only exception I make when I go to my favorite sushi place. all is is sashimi or nigiri, no rolls and nothing else fried. my guy cuts up and adds rooster sauce, roe and a bit of mayo, plus of course, rice, cucumber, sprouts, avocado and sometimes gobo.

                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Yes, Santa Cruz is quite the unique culinary community -- open to all kinds of food, but without diverse demographics to match our appetites. Also, vegetarian/vegan/hippie culture abouds in our restaurants and grocery stores.

                                We've come up with some pretty weird permutations of traditional cuisines, but some of it's pretty good! The Guido roll must sound disgusting to you (garlic, basil, chopped macadamia nuts, and cream cheese), but it's actually delicious. I've even made my own version at home!

                          2. Rural japanese women, according to my sources, live the longest. So, there you go. They eat much less red meat and more fish. But, traditionally, they even eat less fish and more purely vegetarian dishes than you'd think. But this is changing and as they adopt typical Western diets they are suffering the health results.

                            Of course, if the restaurant gives you the choice of brown rice, and you like it, choose that. You say you're not trying to lose weight, so choose fatty fish = sake - salmon. If you also care about endangered species, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, avoid the tuna. Personally, you won't miss it, sake maki is my all time favorite.

                            As for the veg. commonly used: shitaki mushrooms are very nutritious, as are avocado, carrots, spinach and seaweed. I avoid the oshinko - the bright yellow dyed pickle. I don't like eating artficial dyes if I don't have too. And I think they dye the pickled ginger too - someplaces have it undyed, a sort of beige color, but that is rare.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: niki rothman

                              I'm not certain if the yellow dye is artificial. We've been making that yellow diakon for centuries.

                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                I thought the same thing - I believe the dye in ginger is natural, as long as you get high quality stuff.

                                1. re: welle

                                  On the jar in my fridge the label says the ginger dye is artificial.

                                2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  Sam, are you going to let it slide that people out there are eating mushrooms, avocados, carrots, and spinach in sushi?

                                  1. re: Silverjay

                                    Thanks, SJ. Our traditional sushi included thin strips of cooked carrot and shitake mushrooms, possibly even cooked spinach. Avocado sounds bad, but it must be good for the hakujins. Did you check out that menu that operagirl provided? Extreme sushi!

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      I think the menu speaks to the lowest common denominator of people who simply just don't give a shit what they put into their mouth....I lived in Japan many years and dined out several thousand times and probably saw avocado on a menu less than a dozen times, and those were usually at Western influenced restaurants... Never saw kinoko or carrots on sushi. Colloquially, although the true meaning is obviously broader as you've mentioned many times, I found sushi in Japan refers to seafood nigiri style.

                                3. re: niki rothman

                                  >Rural japanese women, according to my sources, live the longest. So, there you go.

                                  Actually people in Okinawa have had the longest lifespans within Japan, and their diet has traditionally included pork and goat meat as well as fish and vegetables. Rural mountain dwellers have historically had a significantly shorter lifespan (by about ten years or so).