Is Sushi Keto or Not? (How to stay Keto When Eating Out)

is sushi keto or not

If you’re looking for a way to eat healthier, you may have thought about switching to a keto diet. At the same time, you do not want to sacrifice fun times with your family members and friends. If you are going out to a sushi restaurant, how can you stick to your diet while also enjoying some delicious food? Is sushi keto-friendly? What are a few important points you should keep in mind? Learn more about how you can enjoy sushi without ruining ketosis. 

Is Sushi Keto-Friendly?

If you are wondering, “is sushi keto-friendly,” the answer is that it depends. Sushi comes in many shapes and forms, and it uses a variety of ingredients depending on the roll you get. Even though there are some items at a sushi restaurant that are keto-friendly, a lot of them or not, such as rice. Therefore, you need to learn how to tell the difference. 

What Is Sushi?

First, it is important to discuss what sushi is. In general, sushi is a seaweed roll that is filled with fish, cooked rice, and vegetables. Sometimes, the fish is served raw. In other cases, the fish is cooked before it is wrapped. Then, when sushi is served, it is usually accompanied by pickled ginger, Wasabi, and soy sauce

Sushi was first developed in ancient Japan because this was a great way to preserve fish, ensuring it would not spoil before it was eaten. The cleaned fish was actually pressed between salt and rice. Then, it was allowed to ferment for a few weeks until it was eaten. As time went on, fresh fish became more readily available. Therefore, the fermentation process was dropped. That gave rise to the sushi that everyone knows and loves today. 

is sushi low carb or not
Is sushi low carb or not?

Are the Ingredients in Sushi Healthy?

Next, you might be wondering if Sushi is actually healthy for you. In general, Sushi is seen as healthy because it has several ingredients that are rich in a variety of nutrients. A few examples include:

  • Fish: Fish is a healthy food that contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, iodine, and protein. Furthermore, fish contains a lot of vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These are important for giving your brain and body the resources they need. 
  • Wasabi: Wasabi is usually served as a light green paste. It has a very strong flavor, so you do not need a lot to get a kick out of it. Wasabi is a healthy ingredient because it contains beta-carotene, isothiocyanates, and a variety of anti-inflammatory molecules
  • Seaweed: Seaweed does another popular ingredient used to make sushi. Usually, this is referred to as Nori, which is a specific type of seaweed that is used to roll sushi. Seaweed contains a lot of healthy ingredients including phosphorus, iron, calcium, and magnesium. 
  • Pickled Ginger: Pickled ginger is usually served alongside see weed as well. Often, this is referred to as Gari. It is meant to be used as a way to help you cleanse your palate between different types of sushi. Ginger is a strong source of potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Ginger might also be able to help you lower certain cholesterol levels. 

Because there are many types of sushi, there are also many types of ingredients. It is important for you to take a close look at the ingredients list if you are trying to stick to the keto diet while eating sushi. 

What Is the Biggest Issue with Sushi for the Keto Diet?

Sushi comes in many shapes and forms; however, there is one common ingredient that brings lots of types of sushi together. That ingredient happens to be rice. Unfortunately, rice is usually not keto-friendly. Rice is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates. Therefore, if you eat even a relatively small amount of rice, you can knock your body out of ketosis, ruining your diet. Therefore, it is important to think about how you can make substitutions and what you can do to make your next trip to a keto restaurant better for your diet. 

Does Sushi Contain a Lot of Carbs?

Because Sushi is traditionally made with rice, it is considered to be high in carbs. Even individual pieces of sushi can contain a significant number of carbohydrates. In addition, sushi is seasoned with a lot of other sugars. Therefore, its carbohydrate content comes from other ingredients as well. Even though it can be difficult for you to find ingredient lists for individual rolls, it is important to remember that traditional sushi does contain a lot of carbohydrates. Wild recipes can vary from restaurant to restaurant, it is not unusual for two pieces of nigiri to have more than 15 grams of carbohydrates.

There are lots of people who enjoy eating Asian food; however, they might be looking for a way to make it healthier. One of the common substitutions is to swap out white rice for brown rice. Even though brown rice is generally healthier than white rice, brown rice is still not keto-friendly. That is because brown rice is a whole grain. Because grains are carbohydrates, they are not going to work well for the keto diet either. What else do you need to know about ordering sushi at a restaurant on the keto diet? 

What Happens If You Remove the Rice from Sushi?

It is also true that the bulk of the carbohydrate content in sushi comes from rice. Therefore, if you remove the rice from your sushi roll, Trace carbohydrates only come from some of the other ingredients. For example, vegetables and seaweed do not contain High numbers of carbohydrates. 

At the same time, it is important for you to think carefully about the sauce you might be using on your sushi roll. There are several common sauces that are used to top sushi rolls. In addition to soy sauce, which is a dipping sauce, spicy mayonnaise and rice vinegar are also used on sushi rolls. There might even be other spices, such as Sriracha, that are added. Even if you remove the rice from your sushi roll, you will probably still pick up a few grams of carbohydrates here and there. 

Is Nigiri Keto-Friendly?

As you take a look at the menu, you will see different types of sushi start. You might be wondering what the difference is between sushi and nigiri. Sushi is usually served as a roll. Before it reaches the table, it is usually cut up into multiple pieces. This is different from nigiri, which is usually served as raw fish placed on top of individual balls of rice. 

It is true that nigiri is typically smaller than a sushi roll; however, nigiri is still made with a significant amount of rice. Therefore, nigiri is not considered keto-friendly either. Even if you decide to replace the white rice with brown rice, you are still going to be consuming a significant number of carbohydrates. If you are trying to stick to your ketosis, it is a good idea to steer clear of nigiri as well. 

Is There a Rice Substitute I Can Use?

If you really want to make sushi and nigiri keto-friendly, one option is to replace the rice with something else. Even though you cannot swap white rice or brown rice, you may be able to swap it for cauliflower rice. 

Cauliflower has become a popular substitute for a number of ingredients in the keto diet. For example, a lot of people like to use cauliflower to make pizza crusts. Even though cauliflower is not necessarily going to be as sticky as sushi rice, you may still be able to make sushi rolls out of it. It may be difficult for you to find a restaurant that offers cauliflower rice as a substitute for traditional sushi rice; however, you might be able to use cauliflower rice if you are trying to make your own sushi at home. 

What About Sashimi and the Keto Diet?

When you go to a sushi restaurant, there is probably one thing you can order on the menu without breaking your keto diet. That is called sashimi. Sashimi is simply the raw fish served without any accompanying rice. It usually comes in long rectangular slices. 

There are several common types of fish that are served as sashimi. A few examples include shrimp, salmon, tuna, Yellow Tail, and even scallops. Typically, there are several pieces served next to Wasabi and ginger, which are usually keto-friendly; however, you do need to make sure the ginger is not served in a sugar solution. There might even be something called grated daikon on the side, which is a type of radish. This is usually keto-friendly as well. 

Can I Order Any Appetizers?

If you are trying to stick to a keto diet when you go to a sushi restaurant, your best bet is usually going to be sashimi. At the same time, you might be looking at appetizers, wondering if there is anything you can order. Remember that different restaurants can you different recipes to prepare the same thing. Therefore, you should always ask to take a look at the ingredient list before you decide to order something. 

In general, there are several appetizers you should be able to order. These include: 

  • Seafood appetizers such as mussels and oysters
  • Skewers of chicken and beef
  • Shishito peppers
  • Miso soup
  • Squid, usually called Tako

A lot of these dishes are served with a variety of dipping sauces. You need to make sure you understand exactly what is going into the dipping sauces before you decide to consume them. A lot of dipping sauces at Japanese restaurants use sugar as a base. This is a quick way for you to break your keto diet. 

Can You Order Sushi Without Rice?

It is possible for you to order sushi without rice; however, this is usually sashimi. Even though you can order sushi without rice, you also need to think about the other ingredients in the roll. For example, you should make sure the dipping sauces that come with the meal do not contain sugar. 

low carb sushi
Japanese Food, Plate of Sashimi, Sliced Raw Fish, Tuna, Salmon, Mackeral,,

Even though there are some restaurants that will bring out everything else in the roll without rice, the roll could fall apart.

Another option is to see if the sushi chef can make a sushi protein roll. These sushi protein rolls typically have nori (seaweed) paper and/or lettuce wrap around the outside of the roll with the inner part of the roll containing the sushi without rice. Some sushi protein rolls will add sliced cucumbers or other vegetables along with the seafood.

Protein sushi hand rolls (temaki rolls) are a cone-shaped nori wraps stuffed with sushi and can also be a low-carb sushi option.

low carb sushi hand roll