Sushi has become one of the most popular foods in our society. To a large extent, sushi is seen as a healthy food. Have you asked yourself how healthy sushi really is? I’ll bet you haven’t because you’re like most people who assume that sushi is healthy because it’s fish and rice along with some vegetables.
A sushi roll has about a cup of white rice which has been mixed with vinegar. The rice alone is about 240 calories so that it is possible to have a roll with 500 calories by the time you finish preparing it. Most people will consume more than one roll. You can see how it would be easy to have a caloric intake of 800-1000 calories in a single meal. It makes sense to limit your sushi roll intake or to eat the sashimi (fish without the rice). How healthy the sushi roll is will ultimately depend on the ingredients used, like mayonnaise, and how much of it you eat. There is also the issue of tempura which is just a fancy way of saying that the sushi roll is fried. As we know, fried foods are not necessarily the healthiest. On the bright side, the raw fish contains plenty of protein and omega 3 fatty acids which are good for heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
You need a 3500 calorie deficit to lose a pound of weight. So a sushi roll is not necessarily what you want to eat all the time. You can, however, eat a vegetable roll which does not have any carbohydrates or sugar, but still has one gram of healthy protein. You can also opt to eat sushi (a portion of fish with rice) which has fewer calories than the roll. There are 37 calories in one piece of sushi. You can check the internet for a more complete list of calories in sushi, sushi roll, and sashimi.
Whether it’s white or brown rice, the rice has quite a bit of sodium in it so that you will have consumed half of your daily intake of sodium by the time you finish your meal. And this is not taking into account the sodium that is present in the soy sauce.
We have all heard about the potential dangers of getting sick from eating under cooked or raw food. Raw fish is no exception. There is a condition known as gnathostomiasis which you can acquire from a protein source like raw fish. Other potentially contaminated foods are chicken, pigs, snails and frogs. This condition consists of tiny worms that burrow under the skin and, in rare cases, can get into the eye and brain. The skin becomes swollen, itchy and painful with the migratory worms. The worms move about a centimeter an hour.
The good news is that gnathostomiasis is a rare disease. The bad news is that the condition can be fatal. The worms can invade any body part besides the skin, eye and brain. Most causes of death come from invasion of the brain. The condition can last for as long as 10-12 years.
Treatment consists of surgically removing the worms if they are easily accessible. Medical treatment consists of using albendazole or ivermectin. Usually, a combination of surgery and medicine will be used.
Another parasite that can be present in freshwater raw fish is the fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum. The tapeworm will attach itself to the small intestine, and create a vitamin B12 deficiency which will lead to a certain type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia. An oral medication known as praziquantel is used to treat the condition. Unlike gnathostomiasis, the one time treatment with prazinquantel is enough to take care of the infestation.
All in all, sushi is a healthy food. The major drawbacks to the healthy designation revolve around the additives like mayonnaise and the fact that some of the food is fried. Also, there is the rare issue of parasites.
I eat sushi on a regular basis, and am quite fond of all of it. I just know that I can’t eat it all the time. Everything in moderation as the saying goes.
Remember to eat wisely and exercise regularly. Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and maintenance, Pablo.