Can I Eat Sushi And Rolls On a Diet?

The traditional Japanese diet looks like the ideal of a healthy diet:

small portions

very fresh food

lots of fish

no risk of iodine deficiency

Sushi combine all the favorable sides of the island cooking and therefore give the impression of proper food that must lead to weight loss. Is it so? Can sushi and rolls become part of a weight loss diet?


The main illustration of the effectiveness of the Japanese approach to food remains consistently taut appearance of the inhabitants of the island nation. Before the discovery of the joys of American fast food chains, the Japanese did not know that excess weight may appear from nowhere.

However, even now the descendants of samurai show excellent results in opposing the burger-mania, demonstrating the lowest in the world (less than 3% of the population) obesity index among the inhabitants of civilized countries.

Life expectancy in Japan, despite the legendary workaholism of its inhabitants, is well above the average – the Japanese live more than 80 years.

Sushi And Rolls

For a very long time, the Japanese were not acquainted with gluten grains at all. Only rice grew in the island zone of risky agriculture. At that, polished white rise was available only to the elite and rich military, while as common people only had crude brown rice, which, as is well known now, is much more useful, despite its roughness.

  • Since ancient times, Japanese people were getting fats from marine sources, rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids. They tried butter for the first time only in the XX century, and vegetable oil crops used very sparingly.

Algae and seasonal vegetables always managed to provide the inhabitants with the necessary:




And their special talents in processing and presentation of food products made Japanese cuisine one of the most distinctive in the world.

Are sushi the most beautiful and stylish way to lose weight?

Sushi (the correct reading of the combination of these characters – susi, but the distorted pronunciation stuck internationally) are known in Japan, roughly from the VIII century. Initially, it was a way to store fresh fish. It was placed in rice, previously fermented with koji, which are molds, common in Japan.

Koji are still used for the manufacture of various exotic Japanese products, including:


miso soup

soy sauce

Fish, covered with a “coat” of fermented rice, was put under pressure to avoid air entrapment. Ready “preserves” or Narezushi were good to eat for several months, and the itself, which played the role of a preserving environment, was simply discarded.

The invention of sushi as a gourmet snack is credited to Tokyo cook, Hanaya Yohei. In the XIX century, he first served nigiri-sushi (sliced raw seafood on rice, cooked with sugar and vinegar, adding which imitated processing with koji) as fast food, which was appropriate for eating even in theaters. This time, the were eaten entirely, together with rice. 

Sushi soon become a popular offer of street vendors and turned into a kind of gastronomic symbol of Japan, though, in fact, they were something new for the country.


There is an amazing scientific fact.

The small intestine of the Japanese is on average two meters longer than in other ethnic groups. This genetic feature revealed in the residents of the island region namely due to the limited nutrition and abundance of rice in it.

  • To let the body assimilate all of the nutrients to the maximum extent, food requires a longer way inside the body. In addition, part of the microflora in the digestive tract of the Japanese are specific bacteria, responsible for productive processing of algae and sea food.

Today, rice became the subject of discussions among the nutritionists. For example, Queen Margaret considers it a mandatory part of a healthy menu, while as many others are sure that everyone who wants to lose weight, should completely abandon white rice.

  • However, even more healthy brown rice should not become something you eat every day. Frequent consumption of rich in starch stool-firming rice can be a real challenge, especially in people prone to stool retention.

Therefore, the transition of a European to Japanese diet is in essence not a question of preferences, habits and education. Even if you like the unusual Asian food, eating it in large quantities can cause metabolic displeasure from the body, devoid of Japanese genes.

Rice promotes water retention, as well as salted additives that often accompany sushi and rolls. 

For those who are on a diet, this effect may result in undesirable excess weight, which, in fact, will be made up of excess fluid.


Carol Ann Rinzler, author of the bestseller “Weight Loss for Dummies”, is convinced that sushi is a good example of well satiating foods, low in fat. However, if you select them improperly, you risk to reduce the usefulness to zero.

  • “To maximize the usefulness of sushi for weight loss, choose the types that contain minimally processed chunks of salmon and tuna – says Rinzler. Omega-3 fatty acids found in them, support heart and brain health, as well as provide you with protein and a large dose of D vitamin. A 30-gram portion of salmon contains 40 kcal, and the same amount of tuna – 42 kcal”.

American nutritionist Margaux J Rathbun offers her own approach to the choice of Japanese snacks that don’t harm your shape. She is certain that

  • the fewer ingredients are in your sushi or roll and the less bizarre it looks, the more useful it is for your shape.

From the entire range of sushi and rolls, Rathbun herself chooses sashimi – sliced raw fish.

  • However, it is important to be a hundred percent sure of its freshness and adequate origin, since untreated saltwater fish can accumulate heavy metals and contain parasites.

Nutritionists agree that you should not turn sushi and rolls into the main food of your diet, if you want to lose weight. Yet, you can please yourself with a neat and beautiful serving of this interesting food once or twice a week, without prejudice to your waist.


Before you dive into the sushi ocean, have a serving of miso soup.

It is made from:

  • fermented soybeans,
  • seaweed,
  • tofu.

It warms you up and dampens first “ravenous hunger”, and fills the stomach, allowing you to eat less without the frustration and struggle with yourself. One serving of miso soup has about 75 kcal.

Sushi And Rolls

Some sushi restaurants offer replacing beautiful white rice with the healthy brown rice variety. If your goal is to eat sushi and do not harm the figure, choose the latter.

Non-polished rice preserves the shells that contain valuable:

  • rice oil,
  • magnesium,
  • selenium.

Sushi without rice are perfect for an efficient weight loss!

  • Ask the waiter to bring you naturally fermented soy sauce without wheat.

Remember, low-sodium sauce has 25% less salt than usual. However, it still remains quite salty, and should be consumed in moderation. If the restaurant can not offer you a better sauce, you may want to opt out of the idea of dipping your sushi in it.

Those who like to order Japanese food home delivery should consider stocking up on a bottle of high-quality soy sauce.

  • You remembered about the weight loss properties of ginger and eat lots of gari, ginger “bonus” to sushi?

Well, you shouldn’t. Gari is marinated in a large amount of vinegar with sugar. This solution not only destroys all substances that provide ginger’s glory of the first assistant in the fight for a thin waist, but also irritates the esophagus walls.

  • Using chopsticks shows your respect to the Asian culture, will allow to show the elegance of your movements and naturally slow down the process of food consumption.
  • Fillings with curd cheese and mayonnaise (even if the menu and the staff ensure you that this mayonnaise is exclusively Japanese) are not among the traditional ones, and automatically add unnecessary calories and hydrogenated fats to your useful snack.
  • Avoid tempura!

It is a true dead drop of calories! Vegetables and seafood in a crispy breading are incredibly appetizing.

This makes it so easy, to eat a whole portion and order next one without even noticing it.

  • You should know that such a large serving of tempura treats will give you the same amount of energy value, which is comparable to a large fast food lunch. The same applies to hot rolls and rolls in breadcrumbs.

Do not be deceived into believing that it is a healthy food. By their composition and usefulness, they are closer to deep-fried burger than to sushi.

  • Sushi with vegetable fillings are not as good as they may seem.

Due to rice, this dish is predominantly carbohydrate, and hence saturates only slightly and provokes a rapid return of hunger. A more useful option are vegetable temaki (cones of algae or soy paper) without rice.

  • Green tea not only reduces thirst, caused by the consumption of fish and salty sauce, but also charges you with anti-oxidants. And don’t forget about the stylistic perfection of your meal: Japanese and tea are inseparable!