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Apr 1, 2007 11:24 AM

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.:
          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. 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.