Sushi: is it a good dietary idea?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

22% of French people eat sushi at least once a month.

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.

They are increasingly consumed in France for their taste but also for their supposed nutritional benefits.

What is sushi made from?

A priori, when we hear “sushi” we think “healthy”, raw fish, natural rice, raw vegetables… in short, something good for your health.

But let’s take a closer look at what sushi is made of:

-Vinegared rice…

To prepare 100g of vinegared cooked rice there is the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar but also 1 tablespoon of sugar, the equivalent of 2 sugar cubes for a platter of 6 sushi.

Knowing that a sushi contains on average 7g of carbohydrates, for a typical menu we will therefore have a total of 80g of carbohydrates, the equivalent of 3/4 of a baguette.

But you will tell me “yes, but rice is better than bread”… But if we take the notion of speed of penetration of sugars into your body, what about it?

Well, classic white rice already has a high rate of sugar penetration, which, in excess, promotes weight gain.

But if you cook it longer to make it gooey like here, this speed increases even more. penetration of sugars, just like white bread!

sushi, take away, food-1858696.jpg

-Fish and shellfish provide proteins and fatty fish such as salmon and bluefin tuna also provide us with “good fats” and in particular omega 3. However, we must pay particular attention to bluefin tuna which generally contains traces of mercury, be careful.

-The famous marinated ginger : humm this little sweet taste…ah again this sweet! Ginger is apparently dietary, with proven health benefits, so what about the ingredients?

Ingredients: ginger, water, salt, acetic acid, citric acid, monosodium glutamate, potassium sorbate, acesulfame K, saccharin sodium, sucralose, anthocyanis red.

I say bon appetit of course! Full of additives and sweeteners! And yes, it’s all very natural! Unless our Japanese chef actually marinates his ginger himself….. Ask him next time…

It remains,

-Wasabi which is a fermented Japanese horseradish cream, apparently nothing to report on this side.

-Soy sauce: lots of salt; 1g for 1 tablespoon. I remind you that the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends not exceeding 5g per day for your health.

Be careful with those who are gluten intolerant because some soy sauces may contain wheat or barley.

And the sweet soy sauce: it’s not better: soy sauce, sugar, starch syrup, glucose! That’s the equivalent of a cube of sugar for a tablespoon!

What if we also have a bowl of rice and miso soup…?

There are two tablespoons of added sugar in the rice so when you order a platter of sushi, there is no need to add that extra bowl of rice.

And with miso soup, we end up with water, miso, tofu, mushrooms, seaweed and a lot of salt, be careful!

Furthermore, I would like to point out that miso is a paste of fermented seeds such as soy, barley, rice or wheat and therefore contains gluten.

Are there some Japanese of better quality than others?

It’s true that I must especially insist on fleeing the “bad Japanese”.

The story of rice is unmistakable. Real Japanese rice is emptied of its excess starch (several times soaked/washed) and it does not become “gooey” like the glue that was used to build the Great Wall…

The speed of penetration of sugars from rice is slower because it is well vinegared and certainly not cooked in white sugar! Just like salad, there is no sugar to hide a poorly prepared cabbage!

On the other hand, I draw attention to the fact that ANSES recommends not eating this type of fish more than twice a week because of the risk of heavy metal poisoning.

And I remind you that pregnant women should not eat raw fish.

Any consumption recommendations to give us?

To stay in shape, it is therefore recommended not to exceed 8 to 10 sushis for a main course (rather 3 to 5 for a simple starter), favoring low-calorie sushi as much as possible…

When you pay attention to your figure, it is recommended to favor sushi made from lean fish such as sea bream or shrimp. Sushi containing fatty fish such as salmon can still be eaten for its interesting content of good fats, but in smaller quantities. Also think about vegetarian sushi like vegetable makis (carrot, avocado, cucumber)…

On the other hand, you really have to avoid “westernized” sushi containing mayonnaise or even fried sushi.

To note : sashimi (simple slices of raw fish) are even lower in calories than sushi. Think about it during your next meal at a Japanese restaurant.

And what to accompany them with to stay in shape?

When you want to stay in shape, you can skip the accompanying sauce or opt for a soy sauce with a low sugar and salt content. It is certain that the composition of the sauce is easier to check when you make homemade sushi… (Homemade, remember to freeze your fish in order to destroy a parasite often present in fish)

A small mixed salad will complete the menu very well, but you can also opt for a 100% Japanese meal, accompanying the sushi with a little miso soup and/or a little coleslaw.

On the other hand, it is better not to add rice to the menu: the one present in the sushi is already more than enough.

Drink side: water or better yet green tea unsweetened.

Trick : There is nothing particularly wrong with eating sushi with your fingers, especially when you have difficulty using chopsticks… On the other hand, you tend to eat much faster when you use your fingers: a bad point, which prevents you from feeling in time the feeling of satiety. Result: we consume more calories than necessary…

When you’re watching your figure, it’s best to take the time to use chopsticks and chew each mouthful carefully!


-Sushi is high in salt and sugar but contains good fats

-Be careful of sauce that is too salty or too sweet!

-Beware of the risk of heavy metal poisoning

– Drinking recommendation: 8 to 10 for the main course

– Not recommended for pregnant women