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May 19, 2008

Top 10 Unhealthy Things About Sushi

By Tara Fraser

Do you love sushi? Or, rather maki? Well, you’re not alone and that’s why sushi restaurants are popping up by the boatload. Unfortunately, there are some unhealthy things about sushi you may want to learn about before your next visit to a sushi bar.

Unhealthy things about sushi #10
Soy Sauce

Have you ever eaten sushi in the evening only to wake up the next morning feeling bloated and swollen? You can blame soy sauce for it.

We all know how bad salt and sodium can be for you. So when you drown your maki rolls into a pool of soy sauce, which is essentially liquid salt, you’re setting yourself up for water retention and a whole lot of morning after misery.

Why not enjoy the sushi for what it is? Appreciate it in all its glorified flavor without drowning out the real taste of it.

Unhealthy things about sushi #9
Pickled Ginger

Again, salt is the kicker here. I love ginger, and I love pickled ginger even more, but I know that too much of it is simply not good for me. Anyway, as I’m sure you know, the ginger on the plate is used to cleanse your palate when it comes time to try a different piece of sushi.

So don’t gobble up all the ginger in one fell swoop; rather, toss one into your mouth every time you’re ready to move on to a new flavor.

Unhealthy things about sushi #8

Boston rolls, Kamikaze maki and many others contain mayonnaise and I don’t think I really need to go into the many reasons why you probably shouldn’t be eating mayonnaise by the spoonful.

Granted, there isn’t enough to put on 10 pounds in one sitting, but if you think that sushi is a “diet” food of sorts, think again; especially if you’re ordering up the mayo-filled ones.

Unhealthy things about sushi #7
There has been much controversy regarding fish and mercury of late and with good reason. Whenever you leave it to man to produce food, you can bet he’s going to take as many short cuts as possible. And the last thing you want is to become victim of this plot.

So when ordering, do your best to steer clear of yellowfin tuna, swordfish, yellowtail, seabass, albacore tuna, and mackerel.

Unhealthy things about sushi #6
Crispy tempura
Crispy tempura consists of flour and oil, and is deep fried. I know; it tastes so damn good, but at the end of the day, it takes away from the health benefits of sushi. So when this is part of your maki order, you know it’s not going to bode well for your hips.

Unhealthy things about sushi #5
White rice

It is possible to find sushi restaurants that offer brown rice sushi but they are few and far between. Besides it sort of takes away from the original flavor we’re accustomed to. White rice is a “simple carb” and is quickly digested, and is does not come as highly recommended as brown or wild rice.

Nevertheless, because you’re consuming said rice with fish (protein) and vegetables, it’s not as bad as it would be if you had eaten it on its own.

Unhealthy things about sushi #4
Deep fried rolls
Although it is slowly becoming a popular trend (leave it to North America to make frying sushi popular), anything that is deep fried isn’t good for you and sushi is no exception.

Whether the entire roll is deep fried or simply the seafood or fish (spider roll or Godzilla roll, for example), at the end of the day, sushi is supposed to be a refreshing meal, not a heavy one.

Unhealthy things about sushi #3

Although the caviar placed in and on sushi is bright and colorful, it is usually quite laden with salt. And as I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, too much salt is simply not good for you. Of course, the amount of salt you’ll be consuming via caviar is minimal, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Unhealthy things about sushi #2
Sushi pizza
Although sushi pizza varies somewhat from one restaurant to the other, they all have a common enemy; the fried roll of rice on the bottom. Sushi pizza tastes phenomenal, what with the smoked salmon, caviar, avocado and friends all around, but my goodness, that fried rice cake is just dripping with problems.

So while I don’t suggest you cut it out of your life immediately, I do recommend that you go easy on it.

Unhealthy things about sushi #1
Listeria monocytogenes
This is less of an ingredient found in sushi and more of a bacterium that can cause major stomach problems. This is why pregnant women in North America are discouraged from eating sushi.

Luckily, this is where wasabi comes in. Did you know that that lump of green stuff on the plate is more than just a flavor that makes you feel like you got kicked in the face? That’s right, it’s there to help insure that, should there be any bacteria on the fish, the wasabi will effectively kill it and keep you from getting sick.

Sushi is unhealthy?

Sushi is one of the most healthful foods you can dig your teeth into, but once you add a North American twist to the food, it suddenly takes on some less desirable traits.

Simply stick to the fresh fish with plenty of veggies and you’ll maintain your waistline and feel plenty satisfied with your meal.

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