Sushi Nigiri with fresh salmon and Maki roll

Is Sushi Good for Weight Loss?

Determining whether sushi is a weight loss friendly meal is not straightforward. It varies based on the type, ingredients and quantity of sushi consumed. Sushi offers health advantages as it provides protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However it's important to note that sushi can also have downsides due to its calorie content and levels of sodium, sugar and fat.

The Pros of Sushi for Weight Loss

Futomaki sushi

If you're looking to lose weight, sushi can be a choice long as you select the appropriate type and consume it in moderation. Let's explore some of the advantages of sushi, for weight loss;

  • Sushi is a choice for those watching their calorie intake. Typically a single piece of sushi contains around 20 to 40 calories depending on the size and ingredients used. This allows you to enjoy pieces of sushi while still sticking to your calorie goals. You can easily keep track of your caloric goals by using Simply's calorie calculator.
  • Sushi contains a good amount of protein, which's an important nutrient, for building and preserving muscle mass, increasing metabolism and keeping you feeling satisfied for longer periods of time. Fish, in particular, is an high quality protein source that offers all the amino acids your body requires. On average a single piece of sushi contains around 2 to 6 grams of protein.
  • Sushi is renowned for its incorporation of fats. It includes omega 3 fatty acids which are a type of fat known for their inflammatory blood thinning and brain boosting properties. Fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are sources of omega 3 fatty acids. A typical serving of sushi usually contains about 0.5 to 2 grams of fat primarily consisting of omega 3s.

  • Sushi is a good food choice because it offers a range of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for our overall health. The ingredients used in sushi are rich in nutrients that support our well being. For instance fish provides nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, iodine, selenium and phosphorus. Seaweed is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine, well, as vitamins A, C and E. Moreover rice brings its own set of advantages by providing carbohydrates, fiber  niacin (vitamin B3)  thiamine (vitamin B1)  and folate (vitamin B9).

  • Sushi is known for its properties, which play a role in protecting our cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Oxidative stress is often linked to aging, inflammation and chronic diseases. The ingredients used in sushi offer a variety of antioxidants that can effectively combat and minimize stress. For instance fish provides astaxanthin seaweed contains phlorotannins ginger offers gingerol wasabi contains isothiocyanates and soy sauce includes polyphenols.

The Cons of Sushi for Weight Loss

Sushi can also have some drawbacks for weight loss if you eat too much or choose the wrong kind of sushi. Here are some of the cons of sushi for weight loss:

  • Sushi can have a calorie count. While each individual piece may be low, in calories it's important to be mindful of the quantity consumed as the type of sushi chosen. As an illustration a standard California roll contains 250 calories for every six pieces whereas a shrimp tempura roll has around 500 calories for the portion. Additionally certain sushi rolls incorporate ingredients, like mayonnaise, cream cheese or fried components that contribute to their calorie content.
  • Sushi sometimes contains an amount of sodium. Sodium is a mineral that plays a role in maintaining balanced blood pressure and nerve function. However excessive sodium consumption can lead to water retention bloating, high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues. Sushi is known for being a source of sodium due to ingredients like salted rice soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi. One tablespoon of soy sauce contains 900 mg of sodium which is nearly 40% of the recommended daily intake. Additionally certain sushi rolls may include sauces or dressings that are rich in sodium content.
  • Sushi has the potential to be quite sugary. Sugar, which is a type of carbohydrate, serves as a source of energy, for both your body and brain. However, excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance and even diabetes. It's worth noting that sushi sometimes contains added sugar for enhancing the taste of the rice, vinegar and certain sauces. In fact 4 grams of sugar can be found in a tablespoon of sushi rice while 9 grams of sugar are present in a tablespoon of eel sauce.

  • Sushi has the potential to be high in content. Fat is a macronutrient that plays a role in absorbing vitamins, safeguarding organs and regulating hormones. However, excessive fat intake can lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease. Sushi can sometimes contain fats like saturated and trans fats that may increase the risk of developing these conditions. Sushi rolls that are fried or have ingredients, like mayonnaise, cream cheese or butter tend to have amounts of trans fats. For instance a piece of shrimp tempura contains 3 grams of fat while a piece of Philadelphia roll has around 5 grams of fat.

How to Enjoy Sushi in a Healthy Way

If you want to savor sushi in a manner there are some suggestions to keep in mind. Here are some tips, for relishing sushi while maintaining an approach;

  • Selecting the type of sushi is important. It's best to go for options that have calories, less sodium, sugar and fat while being rich in protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some examples include sashimi ( slices of fish) nigiri (fish on top of rice) and maki (rice and fish wrapped in seaweed). It's advisable to steer clear of sushi or those that include ingredients, like mayonnaise, cream cheese or sweet sauces.
  • Be mindful of your portion sizes when enjoying sushi. Eating it slowly and being present, in the moment can make it a filling and satisfying meal. However it's important to be cautious as it can be tempting to overindulge. To maintain an approach, aim for around six to eight pieces of sushi, per meal. Using chopsticks can assist in eating at a pace allowing you to fully savor each bite.
  • Include some vegetables. Vegetables are an addition to your sushi meal as they provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nor do they contribute to a feeling of fullness. They also help reduce calorie intake. Consider ordering vegetable based sushi rolls like the cucumber roll or avocado roll. Alternatively you can request vegetables on your plate. Additionally you may want to complement your meal with a side dish such as salad or miso soup.
  • Be mindful of the extras when enjoying sushi. Sushi often comes with ingredients that can enhance its flavor and texture. It's important to be aware that these extras can also increase the calorie, sodium, sugar and fat content of your meal. It's best to enjoy these extras in moderation and avoid going. Here are some tips;
  •  Opt for soy sauce or choose low sodium soy sauce to reduce your sodium intake.
  •  Use an amount of wasabi or ginger if you prefer milder flavors and want to avoid any potential irritation.
  •  Consider using less rice or opt for brown rice instead to cut down on your carbohydrate and sugar intake.
  •  If you're concerned about sugar and fat content try using less eel sauce or teriyaki sauce.
  • Remember it's about finding a balance that allows you to enjoy sushi without compromising your health goals.


Sushi is a nutritious meal that can be incorporated into a balanced diet. It offers advantages for those aiming to lose weight, including protein, omega 3s, essential vitamins and minerals well as antioxidants. However it's important to be mindful of factors that could hinder weight loss efforts when consuming sushi, such as calories, sodium content, sugar levels and fat content. Therefore it's advisable to consume sushi, in moderation and make choices regarding the type of sushi and extras. By following these suggestions you can savor sushi in a healthy manner while successfully working towards your weight loss objectives.

Kayla Thomas


Kayla Thomas, a 34-year-old sports and fitness coach living in Connecticut, USA. With seven years of hands-on experience, she's all about helping folks get fit and strong. Kayla's fitness journey began when she was a sports-loving kid, and she followed her passion to college, where she earned a degree in Exercise Science and picked up personal training and sports coaching certifications. But what really lights her up is empowering women through fitness, breaking barriers and making fitness feel welcoming for everyone. Her clients see her as not just a coach but a motivating friend. In her downtime, you'll find her swimming and cycling, always on the move. And you can follow her fitness journey on Instagram – she's all about sharing that empowerment vibe.