Is The Sushi You're Eating Really As Good For You As You Think It Is?

by Leigh Weingus

No matter how "good" you've been all week, there's always a little bit of guilt attached to going out to dinner and ordering a burger and fries.

Sushi, on the other hand, is just about the best you can do when it comes to healthy restaurant options.

It's so fresh and every healthy person eats fish, right? Plus, avocado is a superfood! You can't go wrong with sushi.

However... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that shrimp tempura roll you just ate is fried. It's not good for you.

Don't give up hope, though. Sushi can be a healthy meal if you do it right.

You just need to get your facts down first, so read on.

Order wisely.

Here's the thing: There's a lot of sushi that actually is really good for you. Fresh salmon and tuna are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to fight heart disease, promote brain health and ward off Alzheimer's and Dementia.

Plus, it's pretty low calorie if you order sashimi, which is just fish and no rice.

If you get a roll or nigiri sushi (fish placed on top of the rice), you do tack on carbs and calories. But if you order brown rice,  you'll get more nutrients out of the deal.

As for that wasabi and ginger hanging out on the side of your plate, don't ignore it! Wasabi is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, and ginger is an anti-inflammatory and has antioxidants as well.

Watch out for soy sauce, other sauces and anything fried.

About everything I just said: All those benefits go straight out the window when creamy sauces get involved.

Tons of calories, fat, sugar and salt are suddenly added to your dinner and -- voila! -- a perfectly healthy dinner turns into a super unhealthy one.

Tempura rolls and mayo-drenched California rolls are not good for you, so steer clear of them.

And as delicious as soy sauce is, it's packed with sodium. So try to use very little or ask for low sodium soy sauce, most restaurants carry it.

Know your calorie counts.

It's good to enter any situation armed with information, and sushi restaurants are no exception. So here's a calorie breakdown of popular sushi rolls calculated by MyFitnessPal (note this is by roll, not piece):

  • Avocado roll: 140 calories
  • California roll: 270 calories
  • Cucumber roll: 110 calories
  • Spicy tuna roll: 290 calories
  • Shrimp tempura roll: 564 calories
  • Salmon and avocado roll: 304 calories
  • Eel and avocado roll: 372 calories

So, yeah. Probably don't order a shrimp tempura roll the next time you go out.

Don't fall for the "all you can eat" trap.

It sounds great, doesn't it? Sushi everywhere. And it's healthy! You can eat mountains of it and not gain weight.

Well, no. That's not exactly the case. The thing about sushi is it comes in small pieces that add up quickly and before you know it, you'll have consumed a day's worth of calories in a single sitting.

And you thought you were having a light dinner. Joke's on you!

Sushi is as healthy as you want it to be, so make smart choices and go to town with those chopsticks.