[Article updated on 19/09/2023]
Are you more Makis? California? Salmon sushi, or tuna perhaps? Ready-made platter or do you prefer to choose à la carte? The sushi trend is not losing momentum, we eat it everywhere, at any time and there is something for everyone!
Before reading on
I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.
The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.
When you bite into a mouthful of rice you invite yourself on a journey to Asia, with its “healthy” and long-lived culture. Perhaps you too have had this (received?) idea that it is better to indulge in sushi rather than a pizza or a burger?
So is this really true? Is sushi lower in calories than other fast foods? Do they make you gain weight less?
Through this article I lend you my Nutritionist glasses and together we will investigate: are sushi good for your health?
Where does sushi come from?
They are of Japanese origin and appeared around the 5th century BC. They are therefore very old among our friends from the land of the rising sun. Initially sushi was a method of preserving fish in fermented rice! And yes !
The forms and varieties of sushi are numerous, at present all cities in France have sushi restaurants: fast food, on-site catering, at will, etc. The formulas are multiplying and are very far from the traditional way in which they could be consumed over time.
Nowadays we order sushi just like a burger, take away please. We eat them “quickly”, so we find here a fast food version which does not invite you to taste or eat mindfully, but is that only the problem?
Let’s break down this sushi!
- Rice (vinegared): is a starchy food rich in slow sugars. It will give your body the necessary energy to carry out your efforts of the day (physical or intellectual). Consuming starchy foods will prevent you from cravings in the afternoon or evening because they are satiating, they fill you up! Rice also helps combat transit problems.
- Seaweed: called “nori” (those that surround the rice of Makis) have a taste similar to mushrooms. Rich in plant proteins, fibers and vitamins, they have recognized nutritional and health benefits: they help fight cardiovascular diseases, improve intestinal transit and increase our immune defenses. Wakame seaweed is also rich in vitamins, iodine, proteins and has a high calcium content. Their virtues in improving intestinal transit and their anti-oxidant effects are similar to those of nori algae.
- Raw fish: rich in animal proteins (as much as meat) and renowned for its richness in fatty acids good for the heart: omega 3! Fish is also rich in minerals, trace elements and vitamins! Fish would be recommended in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, would help reduce bad cholesterol in order to preserve good cholesterol.
Attention ! Raw fish is not recommended for pregnant women (due to the methylmercury it may contain, which is harmful to the development of the fetus).
Ladies who are waiting for your little one, opt for sushi made with well-cooked products and pasteurized cheese!
- Miso: mainly consumed in soups and sauces in Europe, is a thick paste composed of soy, cereals (wheat, barley or rice), salt and ferments. Used in broths, it is a source of vegetable proteins, vitamins and promotes the good balance of our intestinal flora.
- Soy sauces: rich in vegetable proteins, they facilitate digestion and improve the intestinal flora. The downside is that these sauces are very high in calories, very salty or very sweet! They should therefore be consumed in moderation! Plus, they completely inhibit the taste of sushi if you use too much… What a shame!
You will have understood that sushi has many nutritional benefits. But be careful, this does not mean that they are low in calories!
Sushi calories: low in vegetables, very sweet, list of ingredients sometimes (too) long, addition of creams (sea urchin coral, mayonnaise, crispy onions, etc.),… In short, sushi is as high in calories as a good burger!
Nothing to worry about but it’s important to know, right?
How to adapt sushi to you and not the other way around?
Taste: whether with the fast food version, on site or sitting in your dining room, you have to taste! Take the time to chew, to savor, to be mindful during your meal. This will allow you to realize when you are no longer hungry and not consume more than your appetite. Take the time to swallow a piece of sushi, observe all its flavors before having another and of course, using chopsticks will be of great help in slowing down the pace.
Being hungry: it’s essential! How to enjoy a meal without hunger? If you eat without hunger you will be prevented from enjoying these small bites. It will be impossible for you to manage the quantities you need and feel full! Wait until you feel this eating sensation before starting your meal (hollowness in the stomach, real desire to eat, slightly tight throat).
Reminder: what makes you gain weight is eating without hunger because your body does not (or no longer) needs energy.
Make your own sushi: this way you will control the composition of what you eat, the quality of the products without forgetting the fun that there is around these original preparations, very far from our culinary habits!
Sushi is therefore a food that is good for your health and nutritionally interesting. However, excessive consumption of rice (vinegared), fatty fish and sauce(s) can lead to weight gain, like any form of excess food, especially if they are eaten without hunger and at full speed.
So sushi? Yes ! But in quantities adapted to your hunger and as part of a varied and balanced diet!