Sushi ~ Nutrition News

The Best and Worst for Weight Loss

Here's the Raw Truth

The "traditional" Japanese cuisine is a dieter's dream.

Thanks to its heart-friendly, low-fat ingredients.

But leave it to North Americans to fatten it up.

What started out as truly lean cuisine now arrives on platters for one that could easily feed a family of four.

Japanese kitchens wouldn't think of using oil or mayo.

Yet, chances are your favorite Sashimi bar serves fried shrimp and spicy tuna plumped up with the bad stuff.

What's a calorie counting toro lover to do?

Don't tackle a 20-piece sushi boat yourself!

Start with Soup

Start with a miso soup before sushi.

It can actually help fill you up on the hot broth without a significant number of calories.

A cup of miso soup has less than 75 calories.

Go for the Ginger

You know that little pile of ginger that's always on your plate, it's not just a garnish!

Eat it!

Ginger helps to boost the immune system as an effective antimicrobial and antiviral agent.

It is also a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

Consider Wasabi

Wasabi radish is packed with antioxidants like isothiocyanates.

The sharp, smelly-when-heated compounds that give cruciferous veggies like broccoli their anti-cancer punch.

And you don't need much to reap the benefits.

"A little wasabi goes a long way."

And follow our lead: Get the skinny on the four fattest and leanest choices right here.

Meshi-agare (Japanese for bon appetit)!

The Chubby Choices

A roll equals 6 - 8 pieces.

1. Tempura Rolls: Any Tempura dish ~ can you say "deep-fried" ~ is a big-time diet buster.

Just one shrimp Tempura Roll, for example, can deliver 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Plus, breading and deep-frying jack the cholesterol, as well.

2. Spicy Tuna and other mayo-based rolls: Before you order, ask if the minced fish is mixed with mayonnaise.

If so, that delicate roll may hide as many as 450 calories and 11 grams of artery-clogging fat.

3. Philadelphia Rolls: Unheard of in Japan, this salmon and avocado wonder is smeared with something a purist wouldn't even consider, cream cheese.

Calories for a roll start at 300 and rise, depending on how much cheese is used.

A clue: Two tablespoons of cream cheese add 10 grams of fat (6 saturated), and some recipes use four times that amount.

4. Dragon Rolls and pretty much anything else made with Unagi (eel) and/or toro: Just 1 ounce of raw Unagi has 3 grams fat, and toro, sliced from the fatty belly of tuna, packs a shocking 7 grams per ounce.

Even though the fat is the heart-healthy omega-3 kind, all fat is still loaded with calories, and the trade-off here is too high.

The Skinniest Sushi

1. Assorted Sashimi: Sashimi is sliced fish a la carte, and by omitting the sticky rice, you save 30 calories per piece.

Order Salmon and Tuna

Sushi is the very definition of a low-fat meal (as are fresh oysters and clams).

But if you're not eating it the right way, it's not low-fat at all.

To maximize the benefits, choose pieces that are rich in omega-3s, the unsaturated fats that protect the heart and boost brain power.

Plus, eating an assortment of fish, (white, red, oily) creates delicious synergies: You get the flavors and benefits of each.

For example, delicate white fish has fewer calories, while richer mackerel and salmon have more omega-3s.

2. Veggie Rolls: Cucumber rolls and tangy pickled vegetable rolls are free of fat.

And provide a pleasantly crunchy contrast to the soft texture of fish rolls and at only about 150 calories per.

For a vegetarian entree that packs heart-friendly fat as well as some iron and protein, try a shiitake, avocado, and pickled ginger roll.

That little sheet of seaweed that holds it all together?

It gives you calcium, vitamins-C and K, and folate.

3. Edamame (soybeans): Okay, okay, they're not sushi.

But they're a staple at Maki bars and one of the healthiest menu choices you can make, brimming with fiber, folate, iron, and protein.

Half a cup of steamed edamame has 127 calories and a whopping 11 grams of protein, thus its nickname: "meat from the vegetable garden."

4. Tako (octopus) or Ika (squid): Though high in cholesterol, both are even higher in protein, B-vitamins, iron, selenium and taurine.

An amino acid that helps keep your arteries, heart and eyes healthy, for almost no fat and only 25 calories an ounce.

There you have it, sushi on a diet.

But, actually, it's just the way it ought to be: naturally healthy.

So don't hesitate to indulge based on these guidelines.

Eating at least one serving of fish per week is highly recommended.

Here are simple step-by-step instructions for a Japanese favorite at home.

Maki is the Japanese word for “sushi rolls.”

Maki lend themselves to endless variety, from vegetarian fillings to cooked meat to raw fish.

Whatever the filling, the real secret to great sushi is the perfect rice.

It’s a combination of careful cooling and handling along with a balance of sugar, vinegar and salt for seasoning.

Make Your Own Sushi Rolls

Place a nori (seaweed) sheet on a bamboo sushi-rolling mat, shiny side down, with a short end close to you and pat a thin layer of rice over the nori, leaving a 1-inch border at the top.

Place a thin strip of filling ingredients about 1 inch from the bottom of the rice.

Use the bamboo mat to help you roll the maki closed.

Gently press the closed mat over the roll to seal it, getting the mat out from inside the maki as it rolls up.

Trim any ragged edges and slice the roll into pieces with a wet sharp knife.

It's important to wet the knife, otherwise the roll will stick to it and you'll end up with a big mess.

There are special knives you can buy with holes in them but I would suggest saving that expenditure until you get good at making these and you're doing it often enough to warrant the expense.

Keep practicing and keep enjoying healthy, inexpensive and low fat sushi at home.

As you may know, it's a very good idea to start any meal with a healthy, low-fat soup and of all the popular cuisines of the Japanese, Miso soup is perhaps the easiest and the most versatile dish to make at home.

Miso Soup

Just a tablespoon provides about one sixth of the protein needed per day, it's also rich in vitamins and minerals, virtually fat free, and easily digested.

It's Super Natural.

But best of's low fat and it's delicious!


2 1/2 c. water

1 green onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1 Tbs. Miso dissolved in 1 Tbs. water

1/2 c. white bean sprouts

1/4 c. diced extra firm tofu

2 Tbs. grated carrot

1 Tbs. hijiki sea vegetables


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, most of the green onion (reserve 1 Tbs. for garnish), and ginger.

Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in dissolved mixture.

2. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into serving bowls.

(Soup will be cloudy at first, but will settle upon standing.)

Mound the sprouts, tofu, carrot, and if desired, hijiki sea vegetables, in center of each bowl and garnish with reserved green onion and serve piping hot.

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