How To Track Macros And Calories In Sushi
Posted by Michael Vacanti
In This Post:
- Calories and Macros in Sushi
- Sushi vs Sashmi vs Rolls
- Sneaky Calories
- Is Sushi Healthy?
He says to me:
You eat this much sushi AND have abs! You’re so lucky!!!
I glare up from my sashimi platter to see our whiney antagonist chowing down his 5th California roll.
Not his 5th piece, his 5th roll.
Battling the urge to punch him in the esophagus, I dig deep in my soul for enough compassion to deliver yet another “nutrition is contextual, I can explain if you’d like” speech.
Most people don’t listen; but for the one in ten who want to hear it, it can be life-changing.
I set my chop sticks down beside my meticulously constructed plate – 4 octopus, 4 salmon, 2 yellowtail, 2 uni, 3 eel, and one caterpillar roll – take a deep breath, and say:
“Look Johnny, here’s the thing….
Having your nutrition dialed in is important; just like training hard, managing stress, and drinking water are important.
And we can make sushi orders that fit our nutrition plan.
Or… if we aren’t careful, we can blow our calories out of the water while still missing protein.
For example, that shit you’re eating right now.
[Johnny looks down at his California Roll]
That’s barely sushi my man.
And I’m not a snob nor a hater – you know that.
You can eat whatever you like.
But once you understand that your avocado-mayo-rice concoction isn’t even playing the same game as my raw tuna, you will be on your way to success.
You with me?
[Johnny nods, sadly, as if he may never enjoy imitation crab again]
There are three categories of sushi.
3 Categories Of Sushi
- Sushi: A piece of (usually) raw fish on top of rice
- Sashimi: A piece of (usually) raw fish by itself
- Sushi Roll: Raw fish and other ingredients wrapped in seaweed and rice
Now, here is where you were semi-correct:
I could not have got lean eating sushi rolls. Rolls are generally the poorest choice of the three; they yield the most fats/carbs per calorie.
- Sushi = P+C or P+C+F (moderate calories)
- Sashimi = P or P+F (lowest calories)
- Sushi Rolls = P+C+F (most calories)
Sushi Venn Diagram
1. This isn’t comprehensive. I may have missed a roll or type of fish. If that’s the case, check out: How To Count Macros When Eating At A Restaurant
2. If you have spent any time in Japan, you might shake your head at this post. Remember, I and most of my readers live in western countries. So, our view of “sushi” isn’t exactly traditional. But I’m not writing this post to pay homage to the great (late) chef Hanaya Yohei; rather, I’m trying to get us all lean, healthy, and attractive while mass eating uncooked fish. So chill.
Note: Sashimi macros are for 1 ounce of raw fish. Your piece of fish might be slightly larger or smaller. That’s life, my friend.
Note: Sushi macros are for 0.5 ounces of raw fish and 8g carbs worth of rice. You may have slightly more or slightly less, but this is the standard size.
As it turns out, reliable macros for sushi rolls do not exist on the internet.
For example, our favorite $475 million dollar tracking app claims there are zero grams of fat in a roll with tempura. Ahem, that’s just not how nutrition works guys.
So I took this on myself.
The chart below contains my estimates for the sum of the individual ingredients in each sushi roll.
I estimated portion sizes of each ingredient in a standard roll (6 pieces). Then used the nutrition facts for that ingredient. Use the information if you like, I’m going to, but know that it isn’t 100% accurate.
Isn’t The Fat In Sushi “Good Fat”
You will notice in the sashimi section that some of the fish are almost exclusively protein, while others have quite a bit of fat.
The fats in many of these fish such as tuna, salmon, and sardines are omega 3 fatty acids which serve us many health benefits.
Just remember that even though it is a “healthy” fat, keeping our calories and macros on point is far more important for the purpose of weight gain and weight loss.
Should I Bring A Food Scale To The Restaurant?
You are correct to assume every piece of fish won’t be cut exactly how we expect. But that’s life.
If you are a couple hundred calories high or low for the day once in a while, that isn’t going to derail progress.
Leave the food scale at home.
Why Is Sushi RICE So Tasty?
Before researching this post, I assumed sushi rice contained butter or oil.
I mean, how else can it taste so good?
Turns out that there is no butter or oil added to sushi rice. There are a few extra carbs (via rice vinegar and sugar) that make it taste so good. But no fats, which is excellent news if you like sushi and prefer higher-carb / low-fat training days.
Do I HAVE To Count Macros?
No, of course not. In fact, if you’d rather follow a general guideline, here it is:
Eat lots of sashimi, some sushi, and infrequent rolls.
But I think counting/estimating and fitting what you truly enjoy into your day makes a lot more sense.
I’m going to sleep.