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With so many different types and fillings for sushi, it’s hard to tell if low carb sushi is on the table. Is sushi keto friendly, or worth avoiding altogether? Let’s talk about carbs in sushi, how to eat sushi on keto, and keto friendly sushi options to enjoy at home or when dining out.
Is Sushi Keto Friendly?
Most traditional types of sushi are not keto, as most of them are made with rice (and rice on keto is too high in carbs and starch). The fish and seafood have high nutrition value and a great source of omega 3s, but the rice is an issue. Fortunately, there are still plenty of keto sushi options available that avoid rice altogether.
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Is sushi rice keto friendly?
Sorry, sushi rice isn’t keto. It contains too many carbs for keto diet macros.
How Many Carbs In Sushi?
Does sushi have carbs? It depends on the variety you order, but these varieties of sushi contain a high number of carbs because they have rice:
- Nigiri sushi – Toppings, including raw fish, served over sushi rice
- Maki – Rice and other fillings wrapped in a nori sheet
- Uramaki – Fillings wrapped in a nori sheet and then wrapped in a layer of rice
- Temaki – Fillings and rice hand rolled into a seaweed cone
The only types of sushi that are naturally keto friendly are:
- Sashimi – Contains plain sliced fish (which is 0 grams of carbohydrate, both net and total).
- Naruto – Uses thin, rolled cucumber instead of rice. They are also naturally low in calories and high in fiber.
Find carb counts for select popular sushi items below.
How many carbs in a sushi roll?
Carbs in sushi rolls vary slightly depending on their fillings. A 6-piece tuna roll with rice and raw tuna, for example, contains 27.5 grams total carbs and 26.2 grams net carbs [*].
How many carbs in one piece of sushi?
Carbs in a single piece of sushi will be lower, but still quite high in carbs to be very keto friendly. One piece of a tuna roll contains 4.6 grams total carbs and 4.4 grams net carbs [*].
How many carbs in California roll sushi?
California rolls are highly popular, but sadly not keto. A 6-piece California roll contains 33.1 grams total carbs and 31.3 grams net carbs. A single piece contains 5.5 grams total carbs and 5.2 grams net carbs [*].
How many carbs in sushi rice?
Most sushi uses this kind of rice (usually seasoned with rice vinegar and sugar), but you’ll want to avoid it on keto, or if carb intake is a concern. One cup of plain sushi rice contains 36.5 grams total carbs and 34.8 grams net carbs [*].
The chart below summarizes the amount of carbs in sushi and sushi rice:
|Serving Size||Total Carbs||Net Carbs|
|Sushi roll, 6 pieces||27.5g||26.2g|
|Sushi roll, 1 piece||33.4.61g||4.4g|
|California roll, 6 pieces||33.1g||31.3g|
|California roll, 1 piece||5.5g||5.2g|
|Sushi rice, 1 cup||36.5g||34.8g|
How To Order Sushi On Keto
Given the high carbs in rice, it may seem difficult to find low carb sushi options. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid all rice – That includes brown rice and white rice. You can sometimes order regular sushi rolls and ask the restaurant to omit the rice. Some locations also offer rice-free rolls such as naruto maki, which is a type of cucumber roll. Other rolls, such as the Philadelphia roll, are naturally keto if rice is omitted.
- Avoid tempura breaded foods – These will be fried and contain added carbs. You may find tempura in sushi rolls (such as a shrimp tempura roll), used to fry vegetables, and even sprinkled in flakes as a garnish on sushi.
- Pay attention to soy – If you are sensitive to soy or try to avoid it on keto, keep in mind that sushi restaurants offer many soy-based products even though it is naturally low in carbs (edamame, miso soup, tofu, soy sauce).
- Check ingredients and carbohydrates ahead of time – I do this for fast food on keto, too! If you have an idea of what you want to order, look at ingredients and macros before you go to the restaurant.
- Beware of added sugar or starch – Some menu items may appear healthy (such as seaweed salad, imitation crab, tamago, wasabi, or pickled ginger), but may contain added sugar or starches. Look for plain fish and veggies to avoid these added carbs.
Best Low Carb Sushi Options
If you’re wondering what to order at a sushi restaurant on keto (or you’re making it at home), here are the best keto sushi options for rolls and for other popular sushi restaurant dishes.
- All unbreaded seafood and shellfish except imitation crab: Salmon, shrimp, eel, tuna, etc.
- Beef or chicken, grilled only
- Cream cheese
- Edamame (avoid if sensitive to soy)
- Bean sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Green onion
Toppings & Garnishes
- Fish roe
- Seaweed (nori)
- Sesame seeds
Sauces & Condiments
- Plain mayonnaise
- Soy sauce
When I’m ordering at a sushi restaurant, I look for naruto first, because I can usually order it without requesting any modifications. If that’s not available, ask for sashimi or nigiri with no rice and vegetables on the side. Another moderately safe option at sushi restaurants is a stir fry with garlic, oil, salt, and pepper; sauces usually contain sugar, flour, cornstarch, or some combination of these.
Keto Sushi Recipes
If you want to enjoy sushi while on keto, you can get delicious flavor without the starchy carbs using these recipes!
Keto Sushi Rolls
The easiest way for anyone on low carb diets to avoid sushi! Enjoy the flavor of all your favorite fillings, rice-free.
Keto Poke Bowl
With a bed of cauliflower rice and fresh marinated fish, this is a keto sushi bowl that will satisfy all your cravings.
Makes the perfect keto sushi rice! Add a little cream cheese to make it perfectly sticky for low-carb sushi rolls.
If you like smoked salmon in your sushi, make a cured version at home with this easy method!
Keto Spicy Mayo
Combine all the healthy fats of real mayo with a spicy kick. Perfect for drizzling on pieces of sushi!
Conclusion: Can You Eat Sushi On Keto?
Most sushi contains rice, which is too high in carbs to be keto friendly. However, you can find plenty of keto friendly sushi options dining out, or when making it at home.
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