Unmasking the Facts: Is Sushi High in Cholesterol?

Unmasking the Facts: Is Sushi High in Cholesterol?

Is Sushi High in Cholesterol? Know What’s Best for You

Who doesn’t love a delicious sushi roll? There are so many different kinds loaded with varying flavors, a variety of ingredients, and so many awesome tastes that you simply cannot lump them all into the same category. Food enthusiasts agree that you can’t beat tasteful sushi. But what about the health elements? Many people assume that sushi is mostly healthy, but are they right?

Is sushi high in cholesterol? The truth is that it heavily depends on the type of sushi you have. For example, some sushi has a lot of fried content or includes toppings like mayonnaise that are not as healthy of a choice. Other sushi options use lean fish and natural ingredients that are great for your health. In this guide, we will take a closer look at sushi and whether it is high in cholesterol. Read on to learn more!


A roll of sushi on a wooden tray

Let’s Talk About Sushi

Sushi comes in a lot of different forms. There are also other terms like sashimi that are often just grouped into the same category without much thought for what the term really means. In many popular restaurants, sushi is really all about the presentation, but it also has nutritional value and a lot of great flavors too.

Technically speaking, sushi is described by the Japanese as vinegar rice that is topped with additional ingredients. This dish started as fermented fish and has been a staple in Japanese culture for centuries. It was at the end of the 19th century that sushi as we know it today was first created. If you go to Japan to experience sushi, you will likely have a far different experience than what we enjoy in the US. However, that doesn’t change the flavors and thoughts that go into creating sushi.

There are several different types of sushi. Here is a quick overview:

  • Nigiri - small mound of rice topped with a vegetable, tamago, or raw fish
  • Makizushi - cylinder shapes of sushi rice wrapped with seaweed and rolled with cucumbers or other ingredients
  • Inarizushi - tofu-based with brown rice, a vegetarian sushi
  • Chirashi - a bowl of primarily rice with other mixed ingredients
  • Temaki - A cone-shaped roll with rice and ingredients inside and nori on the outside
  • Oshizushi - block-shaped sushi with vinegared rice and other ingredients
  • Narezushi - fermented fish with brown rice and salt


Some of these you may never come across and others have been tailored into artistic masterpieces with tons of different flavors. Sushi is typically made with some sort of fish, but the type of fish can vary. Some varieties also include crab or shrimp and may even have a combination of different meats. The fish include things like tuna, salmon, prawn, yellowtail, and similar options.

Other ingredients are also often included in rolls and many of them have different toppings or sauces. Some of the most common ingredients include avocado, cucumber, nori, brown rice, and more. It simply depends on what the creator chooses to make or incorporate.

Sushi Vs. Cholesterol

When you consider things like brown rice, fish, fruit, or vegetables, none of this makes you think high in cholesterol. The good news is that if these are the basis of your favorite sushi, then you likely don’t have a problem, as these can support healthy cholesterol levels

That being said, there are some things often in sushi that can impact cholesterol. The problem is when sushi is deep fried, contains fried fish or ingredients, or has various sauces and toppings that may be high in cholesterol. We’re going to look at just a few major ingredients.

Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood varieties are one of the biggest parts of most sushi, although there are varieties that don’t include meat. The good news is that raw fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel are all low in cholesterol and a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered lean meats and likely won’t cause you any issues. Most fish have minimal cholesterol and can be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein.

In addition, sushi can contain scallops, shrimp, or crab a lot too. All of these are also generally ok. The challenge to fish that may raise your cholesterol is if it is fried. Most shrimp used in sushi is fried first and labeled as tempura in the ingredients. When that shrimp is fried, you could potentially be taking in a lot of cholesterol. The same is true of any other fried fish that may be put into sushi. Pay close attention to the ingredients and whether anything is fried to know for sure. A lot of sushi uses raw fish and those that do are not a concern.

Egg-Based Ingredients

A lot of sushi rolls have eggs in them. Tamago, which is a Japanese omelet, is a common contribution to popular sushi. Eggs are often high in cholesterol. When tamago is included in sushi, it’s generally a very small portion. While the egg is high in cholesterol, the small portion would help to regulate any cholesterol concerns you may have from consuming the food.

We want to draw your attention to toppings like mayonnaise. If your sushi roll is topped with spicy mayonnaise or has any similar topping or ingredient, this is where you may have high cholesterol contributions. Many of these creamy toppings do have high cholesterol levels. Again, they are often used in small amounts so as long as you have a reasonable portion, it shouldn’t be a huge issue.

Avocado, Veggies, and Fillers

The other part of sushi is the fillers that get placed into the rolls. These fillers vary, but some common ones include avocados, cucumbers, and carrots. Most of the fillers like this are from fresh vegetables so they typically are not a huge factor when it comes to cholesterol. In fact, these plant-based additives rarely have any cholesterol in them.


Do Preparation Methods Affect Cholesterol Content?

The way sushi is prepared can have an impact on cholesterol levels and a heart-healthy diet. Most sushi is made with fresh or raw ingredients. Some sushi uses cooked ingredients. Other sushi is deep fried and these are popular choices.

Here is what you need to know in terms of preparation and cholesterol. If the sushi is raw or uses raw ingredients, it likely has very low levels of cholesterol, if any. Those raw fish and natural ingredients have very little risk of raising cholesterol levels. When sushi contains cooked fish or cooked ingredients, the possibility of cholesterol goes up. This will depend on how the items are cooked. If it is just sauteed or grilled, then it probably isn’t a huge factor. But when ingredients are fried, cholesterol is much higher.

Different sauces and condiments play a significant role in cholesterol levels too. Soy sauce and mayonnaise are both higher in calories and cholesterol. Traditional sushi adds very little sauce or toppings, but our modern preferences for sushi sometimes include a wide variety of sauces and toppings. Be mindful of these.

As with anything, moderation and finding a balance is the best way to maintain overall health and not worry about significantly raised cholesterol levels from the sushi you enjoy. Understanding portion sizes and being mindful of how much you consume all contribute to your cholesterol levels and whether you may experience higher levels.

Tips to Make Healthy Choices with Sushi

You can make healthy choices with sushi in the same way you can make healthy choices with almost any other food out there. The key is knowing how different elements may play a role in overall health benefits and taking steps to manage those elements. If you eat sushi every single day with lots of fried ingredients or toppings, then you may very well experience elevated cholesterol levels from the sushi.

Even if you do eat sushi daily, there are steps you can take to help manage your cholesterol intake in doing so. Let’s go over a few tips.

  • Choose sushi that uses lean protein and avoids fried ingredients or fatty fish 
  • Load your sushi with vegetables and high-quality ingredients
  • Enjoy fried ingredients or high-fat ingredients in limited quantities
  • Limit toppings that may be high in cholesterol

When you are mindful about the things you consume, it makes a huge difference. You should be able to enjoy sushi and all that it has to offer, but you also should be aware and be careful not to overdo anything. Enjoy sushi as part of an overall balanced diet and be mindful of the little things that can make a big difference in health.

Understanding Cholesterol and Health

Cholesterol is an important element of our body’s functions. This waxy, fatlike substance enters our blood and provides healthy hormones and cell-building properties. We need cholesterol to survive, but there is such a thing as too much cholesterol.

There are different types of cholesterol, some are good and some are bad. With the bad cholesterol, we still need some of those, but we want to keep them much lower than the good cholesterol. If you’re looking at cholesterol types, HDL is the good one and LDL is the bad one. There is also triglyceride, which is good in moderation but the levels need to be kept low.

When cholesterol levels get too high, we are at risk for cardiovascular issues, including the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol levels have been tied to high blood pressure, risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other similar conditions. Understanding what causes bad cholesterol and what is healthy cholesterol is important.

The best way to maintain healthy heart benefits is through a well-balanced diet. You can also take supplements to support healthy cholesterol. If you do have high cholesterol, you should work with a healthcare professional for the best approach and determine the right solution to help you obtain a healthier level.


Is sushi high in cholesterol? It can be, but most sushi is not overly high when it comes to cholesterol. If you are constantly eating sushi with elements that are higher in cholesterol, then you may experience an issue with your levels. If you are enjoying sushi in moderation and being mindful of the ingredients that do put you at risk, then you likely won’t experience an issue.

It is important to understand the possibilities and be aware. Being informed and making overall healthy choices goes a long way to help you keep your cholesterol levels low and safe. Manage your cholesterol health with our high-quality products. We have many options that support healthy cholesterol!

The information being presented in this blog is intended to be used as educational or resource information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your healthcare provider. This content should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider. You should call 911 for all medical emergencies. Revive MD is not liable for any advice or information provided on this blog, which advice or information is provided on an “as-is” basis, and assumes no liability for diagnosis, treatment, decisions, or actions made in reliance upon any advice or information contained on this blog. No warranties, express or implied, are made on the information that is provided.

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