It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is sushi a low salt food?

I am on a low salt program and managing quite well. Is Sushi acceptable on a low salt diet?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

A salmon and avocado sushi roll

Most all sushi will be lower in sodium. You should take some care with your choices because some of the sauces used are high in salt so eating the dishes that don't use a lot of sauce is a good choice.

For instance, the sauce used on barbecued eel can be high in sodium and you might want to ask for just a little bit.

Most good sushi chefs will not heavily salt their rice and the general ratio is a teaspoon of salt in three cups of uncooked rice. Since that three cups makes about 12 cups of rice and you might get about a cup of cooked rice in a typical sushi meal that would be only about 200 (milligram) mg and should be safe for a low sodium diet.

I always ask for the low-sodium soy sauce and almost every sushi restaurant has this now. If you are careful and limit yourself to less than about a tablespoon your whole meal should come in at under 750 mg which is reasonable for dinner even on a 2000 mg sodium diet.

Thanks for writing.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet