All sushi/sashimi calories & nutrition courtesy of sushifaq.com
I’m no sushi expert- in fact, I don’t particularly love seafood.
However, I cannot deny how extremely popular both sushi & sashimi are throughout the world, so let’s explore ’em a bit.
What’s the difference between sushi and sashimi?
Sashimi is often described as a type of sushi, which is technically correct, but they are quite different!
To simplify it, sashimi is a thinly sliced raw fish. Sushi, on the other hand, does not exclusively contain raw fish. While it is the most common form of “traditional” sushi, you can find much more variety. And of course, a sushi roll will contain rice and other vegetables as well.
Directly translated, sashimi means “pierced body” while sushi means “sour-tasting,” likely referring to the slightly sour taste of the vinegar rice.
Is sushi healthy?
Depending on who you ask, you’re going to get different answers as to whether or not sushi is healthy.
It’s tough to argue against it: sushi is made of fresh seafood, rice, vegetables, and minimal sauces.
However, there will be those that claim that sushi is not healthy because it is high in carbs from the rice. Or, they may claim that they are “bad carbs” because they utilize white rice.
They’ll tell you that you shouldn’t eat sushi while dieting. Blasphemy!
Sushi is generally quite low in calories, and it is a food that can be eaten nice and slowly, which is great while dieting. Whereas you can eat a burger and devour it in about 2 minutes, sitting down and enjoying a sushi roll generally helps to pace you. It’s often a social experience, after all.
Which sushi is the healthiest?
Depending on the type of sushi roll you order, the calories will vary. This is due to the type of fish used, and the way it is prepared.
If your goal is to get lots of protein into your diet, a Tuna Roll or Rainbow Roll are going to be the healthiest sushi.
A Tuna Roll contains just 185 Calories, 2g fat, 27g carbs, and 24g of protein!
A Rainbow Roll (traditionally made with avocado, cucumber, and crab, then topped with salmon) is higher in calories at 475, but packs in 33g of protein!
Many people assume a California Roll will be the healthiest or lowest in calories because it does not contain fish, but that is not necessarily the case! The calories in a California roll are on par with other sushi rolls, but the protein is much lower at only 9g of total protein due to there being no fish inside the California roll.
Note that these sushi calories & nutrition can vary wildly depending on the restaurant, as every chef has his/her own techniques. So, use this guide as a rough estimate for sushi calories.
The variables of how much filling there is, and what sauces are used, will change things up a bit for you.
Sushi rolls are typically cut into 6-8 pieces, so if you want to figure out how much is in a single piece, divide it up.
How to save calories when eating Sushi
While you typically won’t be making substitutions when ordering sushi, there are a few words to look out for if calories are a concern…
Tempura: If you see a sushi roll with tempura, it means that the fish is deep-fried with a heavy coating. It’s absolutely delicious, but can pack in the calories.
Looking at our sushi nutrition guide above, we can use the Shrimp Tempura Roll as an example. With 21g of fat and 505 Calories, it has the highest amount of calories and fat of any of the sushi rolls compared.
Sauces/Mayo: You’ll find a lot of heavy sauces or mayo when you order sushi, and it’s important to keep in mind that these condiments can contain quite a large amount of calories. A spicy mayo topping can easily add 100 calories to any sushi!
If calories are a concern, stick with some of these lower calorie options: wasabi, soy sauce, or sriracha.
Is sashimi healthy?
If you’ve ever gone out for sushi, you’ve likely seen “sashimi” on the menu as well.
Sashimi is simply taking the fish that you’d normally find in sushi, and serving it on its own without the rice.
If you’re watching your carbs, sashimi is for you! It’s going to be lower in calories & carbs than traditional sushi, so you’ll likely find many more options that suit your diet.
Which sashimi is the healthiest?
Since sashimi is so low in calories and packed with protein, there are tons of healthy options for sashimi out there!
However, certain options are higher in fat, which may or may not be ideal for you depending on your dietary goals.
For example, Eel has roughly 4g of fat per ounce. While serving sizes will vary, it’s safe to assume that you’ll enjoy at least 4oz of sashimi at a time. In this case, the Eel would be 260 Calories & 16g of Fat. That’s still quite healthy in my mind, especially considering it also packs in 26g of protein, but that may be higher fat than you’d like!
Since sashimi is just plain raw fish, you’ll find that none of the options contain any carbs at all. If you follow a keto diet, all sashimi will be a great choice for you regardless of the calories!
A note on serving size: there is no hard-set rule for sashimi. Depending on the restaurant you go to, you’ll have slightly different sized portions. It is likely that one piece of sashimi will be close to one ounce, which is what is listed here, but it is certainly possible to have a very thin slice that is closer to 0.5oz.
Should you order sushi or sashimi when dieting?
I’m all for making your own decisions when it comes to diets. I always preach eating foods you enjoy, and I don’t believe that any foods should ever be called “bad.”
That being said, if you’re dieting, you’re going to be looking for lower-calorie options, and it’s not secret that sashimi is the winner here. Across the board, sashimi calories are going to be lower than sushi calories.
While sushi calories are going to be higher than sashimi, you may find sushi more filling than sashimi. Sure, sashimi will provide you with more protein and fewer calories, but sushi is going to provide you with a bit more volume between the rice and cucumbers.
Personally, I would choose sushi over sashimi, even when dieting. Sure, the sushi calories are a bit higher, but in my mind, that’s going to be more enjoyable as a meal.
And I don’t know about you, but I always want to enjoy my food!
Want more content like this?
Grab yourself a copy of my brand new e-book: The (Unofficial) Official Nutrition Guide! This e-book contains 150+ pages of everything you could possibly want to know about the basics of nutrition. We’re going to cut through all the nonsense and get right to the things that you actually WANT to know.