Fish, seaweed, rice…sounds pretty good for you, right? It depends on who you ask, according the New York Times. When the paper surveyed both nutritionists and regular Americans, 75 percent of nutritionists agreed sushi was healthy. Only 49 percent of the public thought so. Of course, the actual answer depends on what’s in the sushi and how much of it you’re consuming — which perhaps gives some insight into the root of the disagreement. Either nutritionists are optimistic or they’ve just never seen someone single-handedly finish off a sushi platter the size of a turntable. Whatever the case, if you’ve looked at a sushi menu recently, you know that there are plenty of opportunities to turn simple raw fish into the kind of meal that requires unbuttoning your pants at the table. After all, just as a salad heavier on the croutons than on the leafy greens leans more toward junk food than a healthy meal, a sushi order mostly made up of unhealthy ingredients is, well, mostly unhealthy. Here’s what you should consider before you order your next roll. Lean protein helps with weight loss, which is a good start.
But is sushi healthy? But experts warn not to expect your weekly spicy tuna order to slim your waistline. One of the biggest problems with sushi is portion control. While it may look compact, sushi can have a lot of calories: a single sushi roll cut into six to nine pieces can contain as many as calories, says Isabel Maples, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A spicy shrimp roll with condiments has about calories, according to the USDA. Most of those calories come from the sticky white rice that holds your roll together. Sushi rice is typically made by adding in vinegar and sugar, and the sugar gives it more calories than steamed rice, Zeratsky says. This sweetened sticky sushi rice also gets patted and packed down considerably during the cooking and assembly process, so you could be consuming half a cup to an entire cup of white rice in just one roll, says Nancy Farrell, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Fredericksburg, Va. The ingredients tucked inside and piled on top of your roll are the biggest deciding factors in whether or not your sushi is healthy. Fish is usually low in calories, high in protein and packed with powerful nutrients like omega-3s. Include steamed and fresh vegetables, which are rich in fiber, and avocados, a heart-healthy fat, says Farrell, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Keep it simple, and your sushi roll will usually be healthier for you.
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