How much protein is in a yellowtail roll?

Yellowtail rolls are a popular appetizer found in many sushi restaurants. They consist of yellowtail fish, avocado, cucumber, and rice wrapped together in a seaweed wrapper. Yellowtail rolls provide a good source of protein, especially from the yellowtail fish. When looking at nutrition information, it’s important to consider the protein content from all the ingredients in a yellowtail roll. In this article, we will look closely at the protein amounts in each ingredient and calculate the total protein in a typical yellowtail roll.

Protein in Yellowtail Fish

The primary source of protein in a yellowtail roll comes from the yellowtail fish itself. Yellowtail is the common name for several species of fish in the family Carangidae, including Japanese amberjack, yellowtail amberjack, and yellowtail scad. For sushi, the Japanese amberjack or hamachi is most commonly used.

A 100 gram serving of cooked yellowtail contains around 20-24 grams of protein (1, 2). This protein content can vary slightly depending on factors like the specific cut of fish used. Fattier parts like the belly may be slightly lower in protein. Nonetheless, yellowtail fish provides a significant protein amount.

To estimate how much yellowtail is in a typical roll, we need to consider the size of the pieces used. Sushi restaurants often cut sushi-grade fish into strips about 1 inch wide and 2-3 inches long. For a standard 8-piece roll, it likely contains around 2-3 ounces of yellowtail.

If we take the midpoint of 2.5 ounces or 70 grams of yellowtail per roll, that equates to about 17 grams of protein from just the fish portion.

Protein in Rice

In addition to the yellowtail, yellowtail rolls contain rice. Short-grain white rice is commonly used to make sushi.

Here are the protein amounts in 100 grams of cooked white rice (3):

– White short-grain rice: 2.7 grams
– White medium-grain rice: 2.7 grams
– White long-grain rice: 2.5 grams

The protein content is fairly consistent at around 2.5-2.7 grams per 100 grams.

An 8-piece roll likely contains about 1/2 cup of cooked rice. There are about 186 grams in 1 cup of cooked rice, so 1/2 cup would be 93 grams.

With 2.7 grams protein per 100 grams of rice, that means an 8-piece yellowtail roll contains approximately 2.5 grams protein from the rice.

Protein in Other Ingredients

In addition to fish and rice, yellowtail rolls contain smaller amounts of other ingredients like:

– Seaweed wrapper (nori)
– Cucumber
– Avocado

Here is the typical protein content per 100 grams of these ingredients (4, 5, 6):

– Nori: 13 grams protein
– Cucumber: 0.65 grams protein
– Avocado: 2 grams protein

A yellowtail roll may contain around 1 sheet of nori, a couple thin cucumber slices, and a few thin slices of avocado. When accounted for, these ingredients likely add another 1-2 grams of total protein to the roll.

Total Protein in Yellowtail Roll

Now let’s combine the protein amounts from each ingredient to estimate the total protein content:

– Yellowtail fish: 17 grams protein
– Rice: 2.5 grams protein
– Nori, cucumber, avocado: 1-2 grams protein

Total protein per 8-piece yellowtail roll: Approximately 21-22 grams

So in summary, a typical 8-piece yellowtail roll likely contains around 21-22 grams of protein, primarily coming from the yellowtail fish.

This shows yellowtail rolls can be a tasty way to add some high-quality protein to your diet from fish. The rice also contributes a small amount of plant-based protein.

Protein Needs

To put this protein amount into context, here are some guidelines on daily protein needs:

– The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for adults (7). This equates to:
– 56 grams per day for a 150 lb (70 kg) person
– 65 grams per day for a 180 lb (80 kg) person

– Many health and fitness experts recommend getting slightly more than the RDA, in the range of 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight (1.8-2.2 g/kg). This would equal:
– 120-150 grams for a 150 lb person
– 145-180 grams for a 180 lb person

So a yellowtail roll with 21-22 grams protein provides around 15-20% of the RDA for protein, or around 10-15% of the higher range recommended for active individuals and athletes.

Consuming a serving of yellowtail rolls can help contribute to meeting daily protein intake goals. Keep in mind that protein needs vary by individual based on body weight, activity level, age, health status, and goals.

Benefits of Protein from Yellowtail

The high-quality protein found in seafood like yellowtail offers several important benefits:

Muscle maintenance and growth: Protein provides the amino acid building blocks needed to maintain, repair, and build muscle tissue. Consuming protein helps counteract muscle breakdown during exercise.

Satiety: Protein is very satiating compared to fats and carbs, helping control hunger and appetite between meals. One study found protein to be the most filling macronutrient (8).

Weight management: Increased protein intake is linked to enhanced weight loss, less regain of weight, and protection of lean mass when losing weight (9).

Bone health: Some research shows higher protein diets protect bone mineral density with aging, reducing risk of osteoporosis (10).

Heart health: Replacing refined carbs with protein, including from fish, has been found to improve cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors (11).

The high concentration of essential amino acids in seafood protein like yellowtail makes it a high quality option. Consuming a serving as part of sushi can be an excellent way to increase daily protein intake.

Comparing Yellowtail Protein to Other Fish

How does the protein in yellowtail compare to other common types of fish?

Here is a look at the protein content in a 100 gram serving of cooked fish fillets for comparison (1):

Fish Protein (grams)
Yellowtail 20-24
Salmon 19-20
Tuna 23-25
Halibut 22-24
Cod 17-20

As you can see, the protein content is fairly comparable across common types of fish like salmon, tuna, halibut, and cod. The values range from around 17-25 grams per 100 gram serving.

So while tuna may be slightly higher in protein, and cod somewhat lower, the difference is fairly small in the context of total daily protein intake.

All types of fish provide a high-quality source of protein and have unique nutritional benefits. Mixing up seafood choices like enjoying yellowtail sushi one day and a salmon fillet another day can help ensure you get a variety of nutrients from different fish.

Protein Content of Vegetarian Sushi Rolls

While yellowtail sushi provides protein from fish, vegetarian sushi rolls get protein from plant-based ingredients. How much protein is in popular vegetable sushi rolls?

Here is the protein content of some common veggie roll fillings (12, 13, 14):

– 1/2 cup edamame: 14 grams protein
– 1 cup tofu: 20 grams protein
– 1 avocado: 4 grams protein
– 1 cucumber: 1 gram protein
– 1 cup mushrooms: 3 grams protein
– 1 cup spinach: 1 gram protein
– 1 cup carrots: 2 grams protein

Some typical protein totals in popular veggie sushi rolls are:

Avocado roll – 4 grams protein
Cucumber roll – 1 gram protein
Veggie roll (carrots, avocado, cucumber) – 7 grams protein
Mushroom roll – 5 grams protein
Edamame roll – 14 grams protein
Tofu roll – 20 grams protein

The ingredient combinations result in a wide protein range of 1-20 grams for veggie sushi rolls.

Incorporating higher protein ingredients like edamame, tofu, and mushrooms can help boost the protein content of vegetarian rolls.

Ways to Increase Protein from Yellowtail Rolls

Here are some simple ways to pack more protein into a yellowtail roll meal:

– Choose rolls made with brown rice instead of white. Brown rice contains nearly 2x as much protein as white rice.

– Add extra slices of yellowtail or other sashimi-grade fish like salmon or tuna.

– Pair rolls with a side of edamame. A 1/2 cup serving adds about 14 grams protein.

– Enjoy rolls with a tofu-based miso soup. A 1 cup serving of tofu provides 20 grams protein.

– Drink a glass of milk, dairy alternative like soy milk, or high-protein beverage with your sushi. An 8-ounce glass can provide 8-12 grams protein.

– Eat rolls as a protein-balanced meal with sides like steamed veggies and a carb source like quinoa or brown rice.

Taking these simple steps can help increase the total protein you get from a yellowtail roll meal. A balanced plate optimal for protein intake might include a yellowtail roll, edamame, seaweed salad, and brown rice.

Maximizing Protein Absorption

To get the full protein benefits from yellowtail rolls, it’s important to maximize protein absorption and utilization. Here are some tips:

– Chew rolls thoroughly to help break down protein.

– Avoid overcooking fish, which can damage proteins. Opt for sashimi or lightly seared or grilled fish.

– Eat a source of vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers, or broccoli to help metabolize proteins.

– Spread protein intake throughout the day in 20-30 gram servings rather than large single doses.

– Engage in regular physical activity and strength training to utilize absorbed protein for muscle building and maintenance.

– Stay well hydrated to support protein metabolism and transport of amino acids.

– Get enough rest. Sleep is crucial for recovery and muscle protein synthesis.

Optimizing protein absorption and utilization ensures your body makes full use of the amino acids from high-quality proteins like yellowtail fish.

Potential Downsides of Excessive Protein Intake

While protein is an essential part of any diet, eating very high amounts may have some downsides:

– Kidney stress: Protein metabolism places extra load on the kidneys. Those with kidney disease may benefit from reduced protein intake (15).

– Dehydration: Digesting protein requires extra water. High intakes can increase fluid requirements.

– Calorie surplus: Protein is not as satiating as complex carbs or fiber. Overeating foods high in protein can lead to unwanted weight gain.

– Reduced calcium absorption: High protein diets tend to be acidic, which can negatively impact calcium levels and bone health (16).

For healthy individuals, negative impacts are unlikely at amounts up to 2 grams protein per kg of body weight (twice the RDA) (17). But those with chronic kidney issues may require lower intakes around 0.8 g/kg under medical supervision.

Balance and moderation are key when it comes to protein intake. Consuming yellowtail rolls as part of an overall varied diet with adequate calories from carbs, fat, and fiber is optimal for health.


Yellowtail rolls contain approximately 21-22 grams of protein per 8-piece serving. This protein comes primarily from the yellowtail fish, with a small additional amount from rice and other ingredients.

The high-quality protein in yellowtail provides benefits related to muscle, weight management, bone health, and more. Pairing yellowtail rolls with sides like edamame or miso soup can further increase protein intake.

Enjoying yellowtail sushi in moderation as part of a balanced diet can be an excellent way to meet daily protein needs and promote overall health. Just be mindful of potential downsides if protein intake from all sources exceeds around twice the RDA consistently.

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