Are California Rolls Healthy?

California rolls were made by a sushi chef in California in the 1970s. Leftover avocado, cucumber and fish cake were used to make a new sushi. Since not many people were fans of the seaweed, it was hidden in the inner side of rice layer. This is now known as inside out roll. The recipe has evolved with years and now imitation crab meat (crab stick) is used instead of fish cake. The traditional Japanese sushi is healthy, but Americanized sushi contains cream cheese, making you wonder are California rolls healthy?

Nutrition Facts of California Rolls

California rolls are actually not healthy. The typical contents of California rolls are imitation crab, cucumber, avocado along with some sesame seeds. The healthy components of this roll are cucumber, avocado and seaweed, but white rice and imitation crab are not so healthy. This is because they contain fast digesting carbs and no proteins.

Depending on the ingredients, the nutritional content varies. On an average, a California roll of 210 grams contains around 450 calories. It is equivalent to 6 pieces of sushi, which is its normal serving size. More than a third of the daily recommended intake of sodium is obtained from a single roll. If you have it with soy sauce, the sodium intake would increase.

Are California Rolls Healthy?

As mentioned above, it's not healthy and here's why:

1. Little Fish

People believe that eating sushi will get them the recommended 2 servings of fish. One single serving of fish should be 140 grams, however, a typical California roll will contain only about 5 grams of fish. It is better to opt for Sashimi which contains slice of raw or seared salmon or tuna fish.

2. Processed Carb

Sushi has almost 75% of carbs in the form of white rice. There are no vitamins or minerals left in the rice and it also has sugar and sugary rice vinegar added to the water while cooking, which is not healthy.

3. Little Nutrition Value

Although the California roll contains the healthy seaweed, the quantity is very little. It hardly contributes to the daily requirement of fiber, iron, calcium or potassium. There is around 1 gram of seaweed in one sushi roll and hardly any amount of cucumber and avocado as well.

4. Too Much Salt

The sushi is very salty and can contain up to 4.5 grams of salt. Pickled vegetables and fish are used, which contain high level of salt. Having high salt on a regular basis can increase risk of high blood pressure

5. High in Calorie

Some California rolls contain almost 755 calories, which is more than what a Big Mac from McDonalds gives. It also contains high fat ingredients like cream cheese and mayonnaise which make it high in calories. So, are California rolls healthy? Not these ones.

Tips to Eat Sushi Healthily

As we have seen, California rolls are not healthy, but there are other sushi varieties which can be opted for. Check the tips below.

1. Limit Soy Sauce

Soy sauce can also be called as liquid sodium with its high quantity of salt. One tablespoon contains 920 mg of sodium, which is more than half of the DRI. Opt for low sodium sauce when possible.

2. Say No to Imitation Meat

California rolls contain imitation crab meat which is high in sodium too. Choose sushi which is made from fresh fish like tuna, salmon or crab.

3. Choose Brown Rice

Brown rice is rich in antioxidants and fiber. Sushi is available with brown rice and is healthier than the one with white rice.

4. Avoid Anything Crunchy or Creamy

Tempura additives are deep fried which contains high saturated fats. Also some rolls are creamy with cream cheese or mayonnaise. They are rich in calories and have high fats. Fresh vegetables and raw fish should be opted for.

5. Eat Sushi in Moderation

Rolls should not be considered as a full meal, even if they have calories equal to that of a full meal. It is better to have one roll along with a seaweed salad. 

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