We all know that pizza tastes great, but we also know that it’s not the healthiest choice for dinner. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite food though!
We wrote this blog to help you make healthier choices when ordering a slice or two of pizza.
- 1 Is Pizza Healthy?
- 2 Why do we crave pizza so much?
- 3 7 Reasons Why Pizza Is Good For You
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
Is Pizza Healthy?
Is Pizza a Healthy Choice?
“In one study, 1,838 adults were asked to fill out a questionnaire asking about their eating habits over the past year. Participants reporting eating pizza during that time weighed an average of six pounds more than those who abstained from this popular food.
Some nutritionists believe that because there are so many varieties of pizza, it is hard to tell whether it is healthy or not. A slice of cheese pizza has about 350 calories, most of them from simple carbohydrates.
Toppings can change the number of carbs, fat grams and calories significantly. A slice of pepperoni pizza has 250 more calories than a slice with green peppers and mushrooms.” – Psychology Today
The average American eats 46 slices of pizza each year, according to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.
One medium cheese pizza contains about 1,000 calories and 25 grams of fat – 60 percent of it saturated – before any toppings are added. Eating too much saturated fat has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes.
A study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute found that people who eat pizza once a week gained less weight than those who ate it four times weekly. Researchers suggested the reason was because of pizza’s high water and fiber content – or lack of fat.”
The most unhealthy pizza topping is pepperoni, says Rachel Berman, a registered dietician and nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Pepperoni has about 50 calories in one slice (14 grams), but has 19 grams of fat – 70 percent of it saturated. Sausage contains 27 calories per slice (7 grams) with 12 grams of fat, 80 percent of which is saturated.” – WebMD
If you are eating pizza, then try to select thin crust or whole wheat. Also, eat your pizza with a salad instead of garlic bread. Pairing vegetables with the meal will help balance the meal’s nutritional value.” – Psychology Today
Tips for eating healthier and still enjoying your favorite food (pizza) too!
How to make a pizza with healthy ingredients([use the following instructions for an example of how to add healthier ingredients to a pizza, if you need).
Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour when making the dough. This will reduce carbs while increasing fiber and nutrients. You can also use a thin crust or par baked style crust to reduce the fat.
Top your pizza with veggies like green pepper or red onion. Increase micro-nutrients while reducing the calorie count of the dish.
Swap high calorie meats for lean ones like chicken, turkey, ham, and shrimp (or omit meat completely). You can also use vegetarian sources of protein if you don’t eat meat.
Swap high fat dairy products for reduced fat/fat free ones like reduced fat cheese, skim milk, and yogurt (Greek or regular). You can also use a different type of cheese altogether if possible.
Reduced fat cheeses generally have fewer calories and less saturated fats than full fat or whole milk cheeses. Also, reduced fat cheese is not the same as low fat cheese.
Be careful with the types of “reduced fat” products you buy because some people mistake reduced fat for meaning healthy when it actually means they just took out some of the fat and replaced it with sugar!
Use olive oil to lightly coat your pizza pan instead of adding more oil to the dough. Olive oil has essential fatty acids and is known to protect against heart disease.
Make homemade sauce by using fresh tomatoes (or use 1/2 the amount of canned crushed tomatoes). You can also reduce fat by using no-salt added crushed tomatoes. Stir in some basil, oregano, and garlic to season the sauce instead of adding salt too!
Don’t use fatty toppings like fatty meats or extra oils (olive oil or otherwise).
Bake your pizza instead of frying it so you can cut back on extra calories from excess oil.
Add fresh (not canned) pineapple to your pizza for a healthy fruit serving that adds sweetness while providing other nutrients like manganese.
There are many ways to reduce the fat, calories, and cholesterol in pizza without sacrificing taste! Go ahead and enjoy this beloved food while still staying true to your diet (just don’t eat it every day because it is still high in calories).
Adding more fruits and vegetables to pizza will reduce the calorie count too! Just remember that you cannot eat unlimited amounts of these healthy foods in order to stay within your daily caloric allotment.
Why do we crave pizza so much?
Researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and BC Cancer Agency (Canada) published their findings online on Dec. 12 in PLOS ONE. The study revealed that consuming probiotics – bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods – may contribute to an increased craving for junk food.
Bacteria-laden foods, such as yogurt and fermented vegetables, might alter the mix of bacteria in our gut – called our microbiome – and trigger chemical messages to the brain that amp up our cravings for high fat or sweet foods.
With the help of mice, U-M researchers pinpointed a chain of events that begins with gut microbes calling the shots – sending messages to certain brain cells that increase desire for junk food.
The signals rev up when mice eat probiotic foods and engage a fee-based messaging system within gut cells called type17 5HT receptors.
7 Reasons Why Pizza Is Good For You
It’s Kind of Healthy
If you’re really watching your weight, pizza can be a good choice for some healthy ingredients. Sauces tend to be low cal (just make sure to ask for less cheese and use sauce instead of oil), bell peppers and mushrooms are great veggies and chicken is lean.
Lots of people will say that the crust is also loaded with carbohydrates that will give you energy.
Lots of Choices
You can put practically anything on a pizza to suit your taste, which is why there are so many possibilities when it comes to how it could end up tasting. Want onions? How about ham or pineapple? Maybe even some bacon. You got it – the list goes on and on and your options are endless.
You can eat pizza with friends at a restaurant or bring it home for dinner. You can even choose to buy the ingredients and make it yourself, but either way, this food is easy to take wherever you’re going as long as you keep it in an airtight container.
It’s a Snack
If you’re craving something that will fill you up just a little bit, pizza is a good option because it’s not greasy and can be eaten slowly.
Don’t eat it too quickly because this could lead to eating more than you need or giving yourself heartburn.
You can always brush your teeth after dinner to feel like you’ve saved room for something sweet.
It’s Not Just For Dinner
Pizza is a perfect treat at any time of the day, especially if it’s fresh out of the oven and served with hot sauce or marinara. You can eat it in the morning before school and no one will judge you (except maybe if you have bad breath).
Doesn’t Need a Lot of Cleanup Time
Pizza boxes are often recyclable and most people eat with their hands when it comes to this dish, so cleanup is usually quick and easy. You can use napkins or just run the slices under water before putting them in the sink. It’s perfect for those days when you just want to relax at home.
It Tastes Great With Other Foods
A lot of people like to mix it up with their pizza and eat it with salad, spaghetti or French fries. This is a good way to limit the amount of carbs you take in because you’ll be dividing what you eat over more than one meal.
Is pizza healthy or unhealthy?
Pizza is a dish that consists of a usually round, flattened bread-like base covered with tomato sauce, cheese , and other toppings. It is commonly deep-dish pizza but can also be thin-crust or hand-tossed.
There are many health benefits in eating pizza; in some cases it is more healthy for you than a balanced meal. The only downside of eating pizza is that it is high in sodium and sometimes cholesterol.
Sodium has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, induce high blood pressure , heart failure, osteoporosis , stomach cancer, kidney stones , kidney disease, stroke, swelling , water retention, and edema.
However, only about 10% of dietary sodium comes from natural sources like salty foods. The remaining 90% of sodium is added during processing or packaging of foods including pizza.
Although eating too much salt can have adverse effects on your health, it has actually been reported that low-sodium diets increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and kidney disease. To compensate for the lack of sodium you would have to take supplements .
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating pizza is usually best if it has been freshly baked from scratch or made with fresh ingredients at home. This will greatly decrease the amount of salt added.
Pizza nutrition is often underestimated. Just a slice of cheese pizza has many health benefits as it contains vitamin A, essential B vitamins, and calcium. In addition, it also contains antioxidants from tomato sauce which have been found to protect cells from cancer-causing agents.
Why should we not eat pizza?
Pizza makes us fat. All pizzas have too much cheese and grease on them to make sense as healthy foods for humans to consume on a regular basis. Eating too much pizza may cause us to become overweight and lead to many other health problems.
Pizza is made with one or more types of cheese, which are high in fat and calories for their volume. Fatty meats like pepperoni and sausage can be added as well, further increasing the fat and calorie content of a single slice.
The final argument against pizza is that it’s not the healthiest food to eat on a regular basis because most pizzas contain high amounts of salt.
Eating too much salt can cause dehydration, bloating, and other negative effects on our bodies. We may think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty; drinking water instead of eating pizza may lead us to eat less and weigh less over time.
Why is pizza healthy?
Pizzas are made of different ingredients, such as tomatoes or cheese that can contain many healthy ingredients for our bodies.
The main ingredient in pizza is the tomato sauce; this contains lycopene and phytochemicals which help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. Tomatoes also provide dietary fiber, vitamins C and A, niacin, and magnesium .
Many different types of cheese go into pizzas, such as mozzarella and cheddar. These cheeses provide calcium to help strengthen bones and teeth.
They also contain protein for building muscle, phosphorus to support the nervous system, zinc to support the immune system, and vitamin A to support healthy eyesight.
Pizza is a very popular dish that many people enjoy today, but they need to remember the importance of eating it in moderation because it can be unhealthy if eaten too much.
Pizza can be a healthy choice for some people and an unhealthy one for others depending on the toppings, crust type and whether or not you choose to include any additional ingredients like cheese or vegetables.
If your goal is to eat healthier while still enjoying pizza from time-to-time, we recommend making your own at home with whole wheat dough (or cornmeal), low fat mozzarella cheese, fresh produce such as spinach and tomatoes, and small amounts of other toppings like pepperoni if desired. You’ll feel better knowing exactly what went into each bite!