Does sushi rice have sugar?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does sushi rice have sugar?”, can you make sushi rice without sugar, and whether the sushi is healthy or not.

Does sushi rice have sugar?

Yes, sushi rice has sugar. Most of the sushi rolls contain about 11-15 grams of added sugar which equates to 3-4 teaspoons or 1 tbsp. Not to mention the 920 mg of sodium that comes with every tablespoon of soy sauce. Topping the California rolls or shrimp tempura rolls adds another 150 mg of sodium.

Apart from the added sugar, the short-grain Japanese white rice used for making sushi is naturally rich in sugars. This eliminates the need for adding extra sugar. The purpose of adding sugar is to neutralize the taste of vinegar in sushi.

White sushi rice contains 0.1 grams of sugar per cup while brown rice has 0.7 grams per cup. Regardless of higher sugar content, brown sushi rice is healthier since they pack complex carbs and lots of fiber. 

The complex carbs take time and energy to metabolize, thus making you feel full for longer and preventing weight gain. Unlike white sushi rice, brown sushi rice does not result in blood sugar spikes.

Can you make sushi rice without sugar? 

Yes, you can make sushi rice without sugar. Sushi rice is naturally sweet so skipping the added sugar won’t ruin its taste. Add less amount of vinegar so you won’t need too much sugar to counteract the sourness. 

Is sushi healthy? 

Sushi is made by rolling cooked rice, raw or cooked fish, and veggies in seaweed sheets. Sushi originated in Japan in the 7th century as a means of preserving fish. Let us find out if modern-day sushi is healthy for us or not.

Nutrient-rich ingredients 


Fish is packed with protein, iodine, and multiple vitamins such as Vitamin D and minerals. Moreover, fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that improve brain functions and prevent heart disease and stroke.

Fish improves memory and vision. Studies have found a link between eating fish and a reduced risk of autoimmune diseases and depression.


Wasabi paste comes from crushing and grinding the stem of Eutrema japonicum. It is a rich source of beta carotene, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates. All of these compounds have excellent anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The availability of the wasabi plant is an issue so the restaurants use an alternative made with horseradish, mustard powder, and green dye.


Noir, a type of seaweed, is used to make sushi. Nori is a rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, iodine, thiamine, vitamins A, C, and E, and proteins. However, nori has a small share of nutrients in sushi due to its percentage in sushi composition.

Pickled ginger 

Gari or pickled ginger is used to cleanse your palate while eating sushi. Ginger has well-known antibacterial properties and offers minerals like potassium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

Moreover, ginger sharpens your memory, eases nausea, and reduces muscle pain, arthritic pain, menstrual pain, and LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Refined carbs and low fiber content 

Sushi uses white rice. In case you do not know, white rice goes through extensive processing which removes the bran, and husk of the rice kernel. With the bran gone, rice loses a significant portion of minerals, fiber, and vitamins.

Therefore, eating refined or white rice has been linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Low fiber content coupled with the high amount of added sugar in sushi causes blood sugar spikes.

You can make your sushi healthy by using brown rice instead of white and adding a greater portion of veggies.

Low protein and high-fat content 

The sauces and the fried tempura batter used in sushi are laden with fats. A single sushi roll has a very little portion of seaweed, fish, and veggie. This makes sushi a low protein and high fiber food.

High salt content 

The sushi rice, the smoked fish (mackerel or salmon), and the pickled veggies, all contain salt. Pairing the sushi with soy sauce or miso soup only adds to the already high salt content. High salt or high sodium diets are linked with high blood pressure.

Contamination with bacteria and parasites 

The fish used in sushi is commonly contaminated with Salmonella, various Vibrio bacteria, and Anisakis and Diphyllobothrium parasites. The sushi is not a hundred percent safe even if it is made with sushi-grade fish. 

Other FAQs about Sushi that you may be interested in.

Can you refrigerate sushi

Can dogs eat sushi?

Can you eat non-fish sushi when pregnant

How long will sushi keep in the fridge?


In this article, we answered the question “Does sushi rice have sugar?”, can you make sushi rice without sugar, and whether the sushi is healthy or not.