Watch Your Labels with Sushi

When I think of sushi, I think it should be a healthier option.  Wouldn’t you?  Sadly, that is not always the case.  This whole thing was sparked by a photo a reader sent me of her vegetarian sushi she bought at her local Sprouts.  This is what was in it.


The ginger contains Aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener that should be avoided.  Aspartame has been known to cause harmful side effects that include: headaches, dizziness, seizures, vertigo and heart palpitations.  The wasabi is even worse as it contains artificial dyes, FD&C, Yellow 5 and Blue 1.  Artificial dyes should also be avoided and Yellow 5 in particular, is a known carcinogen.

So I went to the store to do my own investigation.  The sushi I found at my local Sprouts had no ingredient list what so ever.  So I tried another local grocery chain here.  This is the sushi I found at my local Tom Thumb.  I had to take several photos since the label was wrapped around the box.

sushi 1

So here is the first part of the label.  As you can see, the Yellow 5 and Blue 1 were also used in this wasabi.

Sushi 3 rotate

In addition to the artificial dyes, I see sugar listed 3 times.  As sugar, fructose and there is sugar in the vinegar.  Sugar in sushi?   Let’s look at the final photo.

Sushi 2 rotate

I see even more sugar in the form of brown sugar!  Another surprising ingredient in the wasabi is corn flour.  Really?  Is that necessary?  This is just another example of why every label needs to be read.  If you are craving sushi, try to get it at a restaurant that you can trust.  Or you can try making it yourself.



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19 thoughts to “Watch Your Labels with Sushi”

  1. Were these sushi rolls made in store? I love sushi but I've always ordered at one of the sushi restaurants in my area not at the grocer because I was skeptical of how long they were sitting there.
  2. Are these ingredients in the wasabi and ginger only? Or could this be in some of the sauces on top? I love sushi even from restaurants. But now I'm thinking about the sauces on top. TIA
  3. The sugar in the rice is actually necessary- that is how sushi rice is made (which makes the rice sticky so it can form the roll) otherwise it would clump off. I am sure there may be more "natural" modifications one can make to make sushi rice, but sugar is part of the staple ingredients to make it!
      1. Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine. It is a kind of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content.- Wikipedia
    1. Yes, I agree there is sugar in mirin. :) I understand that part, but the need for brown sugar and fructose? That seemed a little over the top.
  4. True! I just wanted to make sure you understood the necessary components to make sushi rice sushi rice. A lot of mirin can have MSG or corn syrup and crap in it (just like anything else)- so that is even something else to check out labels for (if you can read them).
    1. I know. I wrote a post about mirin. I looked at one brand and was surprised to see corn syrup in it! I really like using Eden foods mirin.
  5. Yeah, it's a problem. I always new ginger has aspartame. And wasabi is full of cr@p. I think restaurant ones are the same.:( I don't know what's the way around it. I guess just eat sushi with soy sauce?!

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