Sushi has a long history, dating back some 2,000 years. This artful form of food presentation, which developed in Japan, uses sushi rice to bind or support small pieces of food. Together with the rice, sushi often uses a range of vegetables and raw or cooked fish.
Types of Rice
The rice used for sushi is usually a form of short-grain rice. Of the two starches contained in rice -- amylopectin and amylose -- sushi rice usually has a higher amylopectin content. This makes the rice stickier and allows it to be used to hold the sushi form together. White sushi rice has had the bran removed, whereas brown or wholegrain sushi rice retains a natural bran content and light brown color.
The USDA nutrient database indicates that cooked, short-grain white rice -- as typically used in sushi preparation -- is over 68 percent water. One hundred grams of the cooked rice contains 130 calories, 2.4 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat and 28.7 grams of carbohydrate. The same weight of cooked brown rice contains 72 grams of water, 112 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 0.8 grams of fat, 23.5 grams of carbohydrate and 1.8 grams of dietary fiber.
Sushi rice is virtually fat-free, and a typical sushi meal is low in both overall fat content and calorific value. Sushi rice prepared without frying or the addition of mayonnaise is naturally a low-calorie option. Brown rice has the added benefit of providing a little dietary fiber, which is beneficial to your digestive health. The way sushi rice is usually served -- wrapped around individual sushi pieces -- aids portion control and can help you avoid overeating.
Both white and brown sushi rice contribute a relatively high amount of carbohydrates to your daily nutritional intake, without also contributing any significant amount of protein tor your diet. This may mean that you use up your daily calorie and carbohydrate limits without consuming sufficient protein. White sushi rice, in particular, is a high-starch refined carbohydrate -- this type of carbohydrate is typically considered to be less healthy for you overall than unrefined whole grains.