Not too long ago, a story about a woman who had to be rushed to the hospital because she ate too much sushi surprised the internet.
24-year-old Danielle Shapiro had gone to an all-you-can-eat buffet and loaded up on a whopping 32 sushi rolls which gave her gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Luckily in her case, it wasn’t particularly the sushi that caused the problem—it was just because she had eaten more than her body could handle.
However, given that sushi has now become one of the most popular foods in the world, Shapiro’s story has us thinking about whether or not there are real consequences of eating too much sushi.
How much sushi is too much?
In the past few years sushi has gone from being a cherished Japanese dish that uses only the freshest ingredients, to something that is readily available in most Asian buffets. And while it does seem like a relatively healthy food to eat when you’re going out, you should know that when it comes to sushi, moderation is key.
First of all, fish contain certain traces of mercury and mercury poisoning can cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and in worst case scenarios organ failure and brain damage.
This doesn’t mean that you’re going to get mercury poisoning from eating fish, it just means that you should be careful about how much you’re eating. Dietician Claire Martin tells Women’s Health that fish like tuna, sea bass, and swordfish have higher quantities of mercury and you should be eating them only twice a week. She said:
You should moderate your consumption of these types of fish in sashimi, nigiri or otherwise. I wouldn't eat these fish more than twice a week.
You can eat fish like salmon, crab, and shrimp more often since they have lower levels of mercury.
There have also been cases where eating too much sushi led to another condition—tapeworm infections.
In 2018, a man from California had a 5 ft tapeworm that came out of his body and it was linked back to his diet. He apparently used to eat salmon sushi every single day and he’s not the only one.
The Guardian reported that in 2017, a 32-year-old Portuguese man was taken to the hospital because of abdominal pain. Doctors found that it was caused by a worm that was ‘attached to his gut wall’ and they suspected that the parasite was inside the sushi that he had eaten.
But you should know that getting tapeworm infections from sushi are very rare as the process of flash-freezing fish usually kills parasites and tiny larvae. If you do end up getting infected, it is easily treatable with medication.