Is Sushi Actually Good For Your Diet?

Sushi can be a fantastic source of protein and great for your diet if you order and consume the correct combinations. Fish is great source of protein and can help your body lose weight quickly especially if you skip the carbohydrates. Sauce, wasabi, and other add-ons also make a huge difference in determining whether or not your sushi meal is healthy. So let’s dive into the good and the bad parts of different types of sushi.


Sashimi is generally raw, sliced pieces of fish that is served without rice. It’s sushi in its purest form packed with protein and the absence of carbohydrates is great for weight loss. Because the portions are small, each piece can range from 30 to 40 calories, depending on the fish.


Nigiri is similar to sashimi but includes a small portion of sticky rice under the fish. Nigiri is still a very healthy way to consume sushi as it is general unsauced, or lightly sauced without a whole lot of extras. Because it includes sushi rice, you will get a decent portion of carbohydrates which may not be desirable if you’re trying to lose weight. Each portion of nigiri can range from 45 – 65 calories depending on the fish. You can expect about 40 calories from squid and scallops, 50 from salmon and yellowtail and about 65 calories from eel and sea urchin.

Maki (rolls)

Maki or rolls are generally sushi rice with seaweed and other fillings. Because of the sushi rice, rolls are often packed with carbohydrates which you should be weary of if you’re trying to lose weight. Other add-ons will also determine how healthy a role really is. Vegetables are great, but any sauces like soy sauce, oyster sauce, or Japanese mayonnaise make a roll really fattening and unhealthy. Anything fried or breaded like a tempura roll is also unhealthy and full of cholesterol. Save these types of sauced and fried rolls for a cheat day or cheat meal, skip them if you’re trying to lose weight.


Wasabi, although strong and unbearable by many is a healthy, low calorie add-on for your sushi meal. It’s full of antioxidants and is proven to help prevent cancer, clear sinuses, fight off bacterial infection and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Sauce in any meal, especially in sushi can be the undoing of any and all health benefits. If you’re having soy sauce with your sushi dip with moderation and opt for the low sodium version. If you’re trying to lose weight stay away from any other oyster or Japanese mayonnaise type sauces. If you’re going to have some understand that portion control is the key to enjoying will keeping the health benefits of high protein sushi.


Because most sushi includes raw fish it is often associated with mercury. It’s generally very safe to have sushi regularly, however, if you’re pregnant or nursing avoid fish with high levels of mercury such as swordfish, tuna, king mackerel, and tilefish. Studies show that too much mercury can damage a baby’s developing brand and nervous system.

Bottom Line

Sushi can be a delicious and healthy meal. If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, the carbohydrates from rice can be great, however, if you’re looking to lose weight you can portion control the rice by having a few pieces of nigiri and a few pieces of sashimi. To keep the meal healthy, stay away from or sauces in small portions and stay away from fried rolls and rolls (maki) in general. Last tip – go for the ginger served with the sushi. It’s a low calorie treat that’s great for your immune system. Happy Eating!

Personalized Plans

Get a personalized workout and nutrition plan from one of our trainers.

Get Started