It really depends. Sushi is too broad a category to judge as a whole. Its like asking whether sandwhiches are a healthy or diet-friendly option - it entirely depends on what's in the sandwich.
Some places will make brown rice sushi (or so I've heard, I've never encountered it locally). If you're carb sensitive, sashimi can be a better option.
I love sushi, and I follow a lower carb exchange plan (two bread/starch servings per day). I use my Exchanges for All Occasions and online sources to find sushi exchange values (if I can't find exchange values, I can guesstimate from calorie counting websites).
The important thing to remember with sushi is to be very careful of the fatty, carby and calorie extras in the fillings and/or condiments - watch for mayonaise and sweet sauces, avocado, cream cheese, tempura fillings, cruncy add-ons like crispy panko or coconut.
You don't have to avoid any of it completely, but you do have to fit the extras into your budget.
My favorite sushi spot has a "Godzilla Roll" that is pretty decadent. The filling is tempura shrimp, cream cheese and avocado in the filling, sprinkled with fried coconut shavings, topped with different colors of caviar, and sitting on a bed of very spicy mayonaise based sauce and drizzled with a molasses style soy sauce.
It's absolutely amazing, in a way-too decadent way. Its definitely one of the the "Big Macs" of sushi. If I want the Godzilla roll (and sometimes I do) I have to budget all of my bread and most of my fat exchanges for the day for that one meal (I'll also get a side of seaweed salad or a bowl of miso soup).
Sadly it's not the highest calorie option, I've seen and eaten (once) much worse. When I was still new to sushi, I once ordered a "crunch roll" which had tempura shrimp in the filling and then the whole roll was then dipped in panko crumbs and deep fried. The frying made the rice almost creamy.
It was the only sushi that my husband liked (but as he says "if you have to deep fry it to make it edible, you might as well just face the fact that you just don't like it."
I didn't like it because even though it tasted kind of good, in the way deep fried stuff tends to, it wasn't at all like sushi any more. I like the taste and texture of the vinegared rice.
There are a lot of lighter options, of course - but just as with sandwiches you have to know enough about the filling choices to make the healthiest choices. And sometimes it's misleading. Just as someone might assume wrongly that an Arby's chicken salad sandwich is a better choice than their roast beef sandwhich (it's actually much worse because of the mayo and fruit in the chicken salad) - it's also possible to misjudge sushi contents.
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Super healthy! If you eat traditional sushi and favor sashimi, that is.
Tips: sashimi>nigiri>rolls>chirashi or bowls. Basically, the less rice the better. Try to minimize soy sauce. Edamame is a great, natural source of protein. Start with a cup of miso soup, a small salad (hold e dressing if possible), and some edamame to share. Then have some sashimi with maybe a few pieces of other sushi. Hold the sake and avoid the tempura.
Unfortunately, westernized sushi is much less healthy than traditional Japanese sushi. Lots of cream cheese and fried bits. Also, HUGE sizes. However, as wiith anything, you can still enjoy Western sushi as long as you eat in moderation and be careful what you order.
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Sushi is one of my favorite treats! I agree with what everyone else has said...traditional raw sushi and sashimi is really good for you, and the white rice is okay carb-wise as long as you are watching portion size. I am watching my sugar levels so feel a little more comfortable with the brown rice carb-wise. I try to stick to raw and won't eat the ones with cream cheese, but admit I splurge occasionally for spicy snapper or spicy shrimp where it has a creamy sauce which I suspect has a mayo or something similar base, but I consciously make that choice with the understanding that kind has extra fat in it. I get my brown rice sushi at a nice co-op market near work. They have boxes pre-made in the cooler and always have brown rice veggie rolls and california rolls. The coop sushi chef will make anything with brown instead of white rice... On the other hand, I don't think any of the traditional Japanese restaurants I've gone to advertise brown-rice option on the menu... (but it couldn't hurt to ask!)
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I went out for sushi last night and it was so yummy I thought I was eating something bad. I am doing low calories so I can still have some carbs. I got a ika salad (squid), a TNT roll (raw maki salmon/crab roll with avocado and asian hot sauce), and edamame. I couldn't even finish my roll and edamame!
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Health-wise there is always the remote possibility of ingesting a parasite. I actually know someone that this happened to. Because the treatment can be harsh, I avoided sushi while I was pregnant and TTC. (Some places make sushi from fish that has been frozen and re-thawed and I think those are safe, but I haven't really checked into it.)
Regarding nutrition, I opt for sashimi to avoid the rice. I can get a nice sashimi platter at H-Mart (take-out; it's an asian grocery store) that makes for two very generous meals (I wish someone else in my house ate sushi, but I'm the only one). Anyway, it's just fish -- a combo of white fish and fatty fishes, which are both good for me in my book.
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Sushi can definitely be not-so-good for you. They put all sorts of stuff in there to lower the health aspect... Cream cheese. Tempura. Rice (in my opinion). I prefer to get sashimi OR I get sushi wrapped in rice paper/seaweed/cucumber, without rice. Still yummy!
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I make sushi at home and you have no idea how little fish is actually in those rolls (unless you get the monster ones). Sushi is just fish, brown rice and vegetables, which is incredibly healthy. I suggest getting two small rolls and a salad with dressing on the side as a meal. Or, one roll and a bowl of soup.
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I love sushi! My favorite is the veggie futomaki roll--seaweed on the outside around rice and then a mix of veggies--avocado, cucumber, carrot, egg, that yellow citrus fruit and tobiko. GOSH it's so yummy I could eat two whole rolls...but the best part is that it doesn't have any meat in it so at least you don't get the calories from that! When I have it I assume that 1 roll (6 pieces) uses about a cup of rice, so 200 calories per roll. Eat two rolls and you have a super filling 400 calorie meal, which isn't too bad!
Don't eat anything that has FRIED meat, cream cheese or that spicy mayo sauce in it!