Last Updated on by San San

Diabetic Living: Can Diabetics Eat Sushi?

A sushi dish screams healthy from miles away. It is made up of ingredients that many consider healthy, and you would know by how much the Japanese love to live a healthy lifestyle. This is why many people love to learn and keep sushi in their diets when possible. However, is it healthy for a diabetic who is finding it hard to stay healthy?

Sushi is a Japanese dish that often combines fish (both raw and cooked, it depends on the preference), sticky rice, and seaweed. Sushi generally contains a lot of carbs because rice is used as one of the major ingredients. It may be a source of concern for diabetic people who are trying to stay away from so many carbs.

Sushi is served with the famous soy sauce which has high sodium content so beware if you have heart issues. It may also be served alongside wasabi and pickled ginger, whatever you would prefer for a little bit of spice.

Sushi is made by wrapping the short-grain rice and the cooked or raw fish with a seaweed called nori. Anything that has white rice can pose a threat due to its high carb content. So, does this mean it’s off the list for diabetics to eat?

Can a diabetic eat sushi? Yes! Here’s a complete guide on how to include sushi in your diabetic meal plan.

Does sushi spike blood sugar?

does sushi spike blood sugar

It is generally hard to state the specific carb content of sushi, mainly because they are various types of sushi rice, rice vinegar, and seaweed used. Therefore, one sushi roll may contain higher carbs compared to the other. But the question remains, does sushi spike blood sugar? Well, yes! Any dish made with white rice can cause a spike in blood sugar.

Rice forms the basic ingredient of sushi. The rice used in sushi is white short-grain rice that becomes sticky when cooked. The rice is often sweetened with a special vinegar called Su. Su may be sweet but it does not add carbs to the rice, and it doesn’t spike a diabetic’s blood sugar if that’s what you’re wondering.

Here is the carbohydrate count in basic sushi:

  • Sushi rice: 35 grams in ¼ cup
  • nori: 5-10grams/sheet
  • Fish: 0grams
  • Su (rice vinegar):0grams
  • Pickled ginger:4grams/ounce

One sushi serving can have up to 500 calories, depending on the number of rolls taken and the size of the rolls. Sushi that uses short-grain sticky rice has higher carbs when compared to sushi made with long-grain rice – so, that’s one healthy version we’re all looking for. If sushi has fewer carbs when using long-grain rice instead of short-grain, does that mean you can customise the ingredients of sushi to your liking? Perhaps brown or red rice instead of the usual white rice?

How to eat sushi as a diabetic

how to eat sushi as a diabetic

As a diabetic, you have to watch your carb intake. Let us look at several suggestions on how to eat sushi as a diabetic to avoid upsetting your diabetic self, yes?

For starters, rice is the main ingredient that adds carbs to sushi. This specific rice is refined and has lost almost all its fibre, vitamins, and minerals. A high intake of processed carbs is harmful to a type 2 diabetic because it causes blood sugar spikes. Refined carbs have also been associated with inflammation and increasing your chances of getting diabetes and heart disease.

Sushi rice has a high glycemic index, meaning it is broken down very fast in your digestive system. Sometimes, sugar is added to the sushi rice causing it to have high levels of carbs with low fibre content.

You can consider replacing white rice with quinoa or brown rice. This switch makes all the difference, for instance, a California roll has 200 calories, 43g carb, and 1g fibre. When quinoa replaces the rice in the California roll, the carbs drop to 38g, and fibre increases by 3g.

On the brighter side, The vinegar used in preparing the white rice may help stabilize blood sugar, blood pressure and reduce body fat.

You can use less rice and add more vegetables in your serving to increase nutritional value and reduce its effect on blood sugar levels.

Avoid crispy and tempura rolls to avoid fat intake.

Avoid soy sauce or other dipping sauces that increase the salt and sugar content of your meal. If one sushi serving isn’t enough for you, you can add other meals to fill your stomach up. Guacamole would make an excellent choice; opt for a meal that is high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

You can make avocado rolls or cucumber rolls if you don’t want raw fish. An avocado roll is high in healthy fats and fiber.

Home-Made Sushi for a Diabetic

It is advisable to prepare your own homemade sushi because restaurants are less likely to consider your condition. This way you get to control the portions and skip unhealthy ingredients. The main ingredients for sushi are sheets of dried seaweed, rice, wasabi paste, pickled ginger, and fish. These ingredients are available at local supermarkets.

If you cant make your sushi into a roll, you can instead mix all the ingredients in a bowl, the taste will pretty much be the same.

As a diabetic, you will want to use brown rice and other grains instead of white rice. These are high in fiber, therefore will go a long way to stabilize your blood sugar levels. If you still prefer using white rice, use a small amount of it.

Opt for grated fresh ginger instead of the prickled one. Add a little vinegar. Use low-salt soy sauce to reduce sodium intake.

Rice vinegar and nori are the main ingredients that defined the taste of sushi, so starting with these you can choose to add other ingredients of choice. Some people add fish, lean meat, omelet, vegetables, or lime juice.

Shape your rolls into cones, this way you get lesser rice on your sushi compared to the traditional rolls. Serve your sushi with healthy condiments such as wakame salad, miso soup, or edamame.

In conclusion, sushi is generally safe for a diabetic. Diabetics should take advantage of ways on increasing their health benefits while avoiding its negative results.

Sushi is considered a high-carb meal, however, you can change this by using alternative ingredients. When it comes to answering the question, can diabetics eat sushi, here are the key takeaways;

  • Avoid using white rice to make sushi, instead, opt for brown rice or quinoa
  • Reduce the rice content in your sushi to cut down on carbs
  • Use fresh ginger instead of pickled ginger
  • Use low-salt soy sauce
  • Substitute raw fish with avocado or cucumber. This adds fiber

Try making homemade sushi. It is easier and cheaper than trusting restaurants to help you with your healthy lifestyle. Make sure that sushi does not max out your carb intake for the day. Anybody can try out the healthy sushi recipe, choosing a healthy lifestyle is the best gift you can give to your body.


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