Not so healthy: A typical sushi roll contains 290 to 350 calories and has the carbohydrate equivalent of two-and-a-half to four slices of bread.
Sushi is no longer the sole preserve of the adventurous diner. These days, grabbing a pack for lunch is almost as common as picking up a cheese and pickle sandwich.
The Japanese dish can be bought from every major supermarket (where sales have risen a staggering 88 percent in the past two years).
Indeed, the British sushi industry — of which Tesco has a 60 percent market share — is worth more than ￡56?million annually.
The main reason for its surge in popularity is its reputation as a healthy meal. Japanese women are among the healthiest in the world, while slender celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Keira Knightley are all fans of the raw fish dish.
But do sushi’s nutrition credentials — especially the Western version — stack up? Not always, according to dietitian Rachel Beller. In her book Eat To Lose, Eat To Win, she says a ‘light lunch’ of sushi may mean you overdose on calories and carbohydrates.
‘A typical sushi roll contains 290 to 350 calories and has the carbohydrate equivalent of two-and-a-half to four slices of bread,’ says Ms Beller.
‘So a California roll (round rolled sushi, containing a small piece of fish and avocado plus fatty mayonnaise) equals two sandwiches filled with crab sticks (processed fish that is flavoured and coloured to look and taste like crab), a sliver of avocado and a tiny bit of veg.’
Bear in mind a sushi lunch contains two or three of these rolls, a total of up to 1,050 calories, and it’s easy to see how we’re conning ourselves that we’re enjoying a low-calorie, healthy lunch.
Many of us believe eating sushi isa good way to get the Government’s recommended two portions of fish each week, but here’s the problem: most sushi contains very little protein, despite its expense.
Health experts say a portion of fish should weigh 140g, but on average, the fish in a California roll or piece of nigiri (rice with fish balanced on the top) weighs just 5g.
You’d need to eat 28 pieces of sushi to reach your 140g portion — or more, if you choose a mixed sushi box containing vegetarian varieties.
Even ‘fish’ sushi boxes don’t contain much. Marks & Spencer Fish Sushi Selection (191g, ￡4.68) has just 36g of fish, meaning you would have to eat four boxes and consume 1,184 calories to get one of your recommended fish portions.