Lots of folks wonder if sushi is a smart food choice if they have diabetes. The quick answer is yes, sushi can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. You just have to be choosey about what kinds of sushi you eat.
Here are some tips:
- Sushi made with brown rice is better than white rice since it has more fiber and less carbs. This helps control blood sugar.
- Skip the tempura or anything fried. Stick to sashimi, which is only raw fish and has zero carbs.
- Say no to sweet sauces and mayo – they are high in carbs.
- Eat small portions to keep carb counts in check.
The right sushi picks can give you protein, healthy fats, and vitamins without spiking your blood sugar. With smart choices, you can enjoy sushi as part of your diabetes diet!
Read on to learn more details about how to choose the best sushi options when you have diabetes.
Pick The Right Sushi
Not all sushi is created equal when you have diabetes. Here are some tips on the best options:
Sashimi is raw fish without rice, so it contains zero carbs. Load up on fresh slices of sashimi made from salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and other fish. This is a great way to get lean protein into your diet without affecting blood sugar.
Opt for sushi made with brown rice.
If you want traditional sushi rolls, choose ones made with brown rice rather than white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain that contains more fiber and nutrients than refined white rice. It has a lower glycemic index, meaning it does not spike blood sugar as rapidly.
Avoid tempura fried items.
Tempura-fried sushi rolls or shrimp contain heavy carbs and oils, so these are not smart picks for diabetics. Stick to sushi items that are steamed or raw.
Say no to sauces.
Many sushi sauces like eel sauce, spicy mayo, or tempura dipping sauce are high in carbohydrates and added sugars. Opt for sushi rolls drizzled with a small amount of low-carb soy sauce if you need a flavor boost.
Watch the fillings.
Some sushi fillings like cream cheese and avocado are fine in moderation, while others like masago and tobiko (fish roe) are high in carbs. Limit fatty fillings like tempura or bacon. Load up on veggie-based rolls for more fiber.
Pick Your Plate Wisely
Along with choosing the right sushi, be mindful of your whole meal:
- Start with a broth-based soup like miso which offers protein without carbs. Avoid noodle-heavy soups.
- Get a side salad with ginger dressing rather than rice-heavy noodle salads.
- Drink unsweetened tea, water, or diet soda – skip sugary cocktails.
- Use chopsticks to eat slowly. Don’t overload your plate with piles of sushi rolls.
- Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not overly stuffed. Make leftovers your lunch for tomorrow.
Practice Portion Control
As with any food, portion control is key for diabetes management. Here are some tips:
- Stick to only one sushi roll as your main course rather than multiple rolls.
- Make sushi the protein part of your meal, not the largest component. Pair it with veggie sides.
- Slice sushi rolls in half or thirds, placing extras in a to-go box immediately.
- At restaurants, ask for skinny rolls made with less rice on the inside.
- At home, wrap nori around salmon or tuna with a thin layer of rice rather than overstuffed rolls.
- Measure out a 1/4 or 1/2 cup of brown rice rather than eyeballing.
- Use the plate method – make sushi only 1/4 of your plate, fill rest with non-starchy veggies.
The Bottom Line
Having diabetes does not mean you have to avoid sushi entirely. You can incorporate it into your diet with attention to ingredients, carb counts, and portions. Consider sashimi, brown rice rolls, and veggie-focused options over tempura, creamy sauces, or carb-heavy rolls. With smart choices and portion control, sushi can be a delicious diabetes-friendly food.