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Updated: November 30, 2015

Sushi Is Actually Not As Healthy As You Thought! Here's Why

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It’s true that Japanese cuisine is among the world’s healthiest, and its most popular delicacy, sushi, has been described many times as a great health food. But, because of its immense popularity, sushi has been “westernized” to fit the palate and preferences of people in the western world. It has been added with delicious, but unhealthy, ingredients like cream cheese.

Not to mention, sushi is now being mass produced and sold in supermarkets everywhere. As you can expect, most of these no longer contain the health benefits of high-standard (and expensive) sushi that you can buy in first-class Japanese restaurants.

Sushi loads up on calories and carbs

If you think that you’re speeding up your weight loss efforts with this favorite Japanese food, think again. One sushi roll has 300 to 350 calories. And it’s not as if you’re going to eat only one. A typical sushi pack contains two to three rolls. That’s a total of 1,050 calories. Obviously, it’s not as low-calorie as you expect.

Consuming the right amount of calories is one of the keys to a healthy diet. That’s why you can’t afford to be misinformed when it comes to this matter. You have to know exactly how many calories you’re packing in, or else you might be gaining weight without realizing it.

Sushi has very little protein

It’s a common misconception that sushi is a good source of protein. Most people believe that they’re getting their week’s worth of protein portions from eating two or more sushi servings a day. The truth is, there is very little protein in sushi.

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According to Seafish.org, nutrition experts recommend eating two portions of fish a week. A portion would typically be around 140 grams. The fish that you’ll find in a sushi roll is only five grams. This means that you’d have to consume 56 rolls to get the recommended fish intake. So, unless you’re eating this much sushi, which you’re likely not, then you’re not getting enough protein from it.

Sushi may contain traces of mercury

A scary thing about sushi is that its fish ingredients may contain traces of mercury. Mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin that negatively affects the nervous system and endocrine system.

Tuna, which has a high concentration of mercury, is the most common type of fish used in making sushi. Mercury poisoning can cause vision impairment, body tingling, lack of body coordination, speech difficulty, and muscle weakness.

Sushi is too salty

Another thing to worry about is sushi’s high sodium content. A pack of sushi typically contains four and a half grams of salt. That’s almost the daily maximum intake of six grams! The rice is usually cooked with salt and soy sauce. The same is true for the fish and pickled vegetables right in the middle.

And if you’re going to dip your sushi in soy sauce, which is the traditional way of eating it, you’re definitely going overboard. Do remember that a tablespoon of soy sauce contains 1,006 milligrams of sodium.

Sushi may contain parasites

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discourages people from eating raw seafood as this means exposure to various types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Sushi that’s not been cooked according to set standards has been found to contain parasites. Unpleasant results include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. In some cases, parasites can also destroy the lining of the digestive tract and stomach.

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You’ve loved sushi for most of your life. And these facts certainly put it in bad light. But do remember that sushi—the high quality kind—is not all bad. You just have to be careful in your choices. It is like all healthy food — when the trend starts, unhealthy versions pop up and ruin it for everyone else.

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Featured photo credit: Kimishowota via flickr.com

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