Pizza is the most loved food in the world as people are addicted to its crispy crust and delicious toppings. However, there has been a heated debate where people have asked,” is pizza bad for you?” The answer is yes and no! Of course, taking regular pizza can be harmful to your health since pizza is high in calories. However, other healthy pizza options have healthy toppings.
Most health specialists have argued that pizza is unhealthy due to its gluten content, greasy nature, and frequent consumption. In addition, pizza is high in calories, sodium, and carbs, which may cause health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
However, health-conscious pizza lovers are turning the debate around by preparing homemade pizza with healthy toppings. So, let’s get into the question.
Is Pizza Bad For You?
If you wonder whether pizza is healthy, here is the answer. Regular pizza you get in fast food restaurants is considered junk food since it is topped with high amounts of saturated fat, processed meats, and sodium.
Image Credits: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
The pizza crust is also made from refined flour that lacks fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Frequently consuming fast food pizzas leads to weight gain, which puts you at risk of type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The extra cheese is also high in saturated fat, which puts you at risk of developing heart disease. In addition, these fast-food restaurants use processed foods which can be addictive, leading to poor eating habits.
While the toppings can be healthy, the other ingredients used in pizza making could pose a health risk since they are high in sodium, saturated fats, and processed meats.
However, occasionally eating a slice of frozen or fresh pizza can be harmless as anything is good when taken moderately. However, if you eat pizza regularly, you may gain weight and put your body at risk of heart problems. Luckily most pizza lovers are now practicing healthy eating by making homemade pizzas using wholesome ingredients.
How Many Calories Does a Pizza Slice Have?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a slice of pizza from fast food restaurant contain 285 calories. The figure varies depending on the type of pizza and the toppings you want on it.
Image Credits: popsugar.com
So now you know that pizza is high in calories and can cause heart disease. If you were to eat 8 pizza slices, that would be enough calorie intake for a day. Eating pizza can also lead to obesity; thus, it is best to manage our eating to avoid overeating.
However, you can practice a healthy diet while you eat pizza by trying to reduce the calorie content and reducing the number of times you eat it.
Nutritional Breakdown of a Pizza Slice
The nutritional benefits of pizzas vary depending on the mode of preparation, the ingredients, and the type of pizza. Some pizzas are considered healthy, while some are unhealthy due to the ingredients they use. Let’s look at the nutritional value of some of these pizzas.
1. Freshly Made Pizza From a Pizzeria
Pizzeria pizzas are different in terms of preparation and the ingredients used. Some pizzerias offer customization whereby a customer can request a healthier option. Though most pizzerias do not list the nutritional content of their pizzas, some make the nutritional content available.
Image Credits: archanaskitchen.com
It is best to buy freshly made pizzas instead of store-bought ones or those sold in fast food restaurants. Pizzerias make their dough from scratch using fresh ingredients; some also use homemade sauces that do not have added sugar or salt.
Even when you eat freshly made pizza, ensure you only add a few toppings that may make it healthy.
2. Frozen Pizza
Frozen pizza works for busy people who lack the time for dough preparations. It is the best solution for people who want to prepare homemade pizza and stay healthy. There are healthier options, but most have high sugar, salt, and calorie content.
Image Credits: bonappetit.com
Since they are processed, they have artificial preservatives, unhealthy fats, and sugars. For instance, a slice e of frozen pepperoni pizza has :
- Calories: 380
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbs: 39 grams
- Sugar: 8 grams
- Sodium: 810 mg
The calorie content of a pizza slice varies whether you are going for a thin crust or deep dish pizza. Also, toppings like sausages, extra cheese, or processed meats can increase the calorie content.
3. Fast-Food Pizza
Most people consume fast food pizzas without knowing the health risks they expose themselves to.
Image Credits: huffpost.com
Fast food pizzas are the unhealthiest choice of pizzas since they are high in calories, saturated fats, sodium, and carbs. For instance, a slice of pizza hut pepperoni pizza contains:
- Calories: 460
- Fat: 26 grams
- Carbs: 37 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
- Sodium: 900 mg
In addition, fast-food pizzas have more ingredients than freshly made pizzas. These ingredients could be harmful, including monosodium glutamate, artificial colorings, and high fructose corn syrup. They also have high salt content, which may affect salt-sensitive people.
How Does Eating Pizza Affect Your Body
As discussed earlier, eating fast food pizza regularly can have adverse effects on your body, thus making pizza bad for you. So, let us look at some of your body’s reactions to excessive pizza consumption.
1. Pizza Unlocks Cravings
Fast food pizza is high in saturated fats and sodium. A recent case study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine found that young adults and adolescents consumed more food with high sodium and saturated content on the day they ate pizza.
Image Credits: pizzaevino.com
According to research, saturated fats and sodium are highly addictive, so the more saturated fats you eat, the more you will want to eat. In addition, saturated fats weaken our bodies by weakening the dopamine functions that control our brains’ reward and motivation areas.
It explains why people crave pizza even by seeing pizza images or videos. Adults find it rewarding to eat a slice of pizza, even once a week.
2. You Pose a Risk of Getting Heart Problems
If you eat pizza with a lot of meat toppings like pepperoni and sausages or gooey cheese, you are on the verge of getting heart disease. Processed meats cause weight gain, leading to obesity, breast cancer, and heart disease.
Image Credits: npr.org
If you eat processed meats excessively, it can harm your health. When you combine the meats with the high levels of saturated fat you get from the cheese or butter, it leads to the formation of visceral abdominal fat in your body, which can lead to the constriction of veins, thus causing heart attacks.
3. Eating Pizza Slows Down Your Metabolism
When you consume food, your metabolism gets high to digest the food, which burns energy. When you have a high protein intake, your body will work harder than it would when metabolizing fats and sugars. Eating lots of fats and sugars leads to slow metabolism as your body slows down to digest the fats.
Image Credits: uamshealth.com
Furthermore, when you eat foods like pizza that are high in fats and sugars, your body needs to work slower in digestion as it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which leads to difficulty in calorie burning. So it can be difficult for people who want to lose weight.
4. You Get Less Energetic
It is difficult to stick to eating one slice of pizza since the high content of sodium, and saturated fats makes you crave more. And since there is slow metabolism, you will feel dull and sluggish. Plus, the high sugar content is responsible for low energy levels.
Also, just one slice of pizza can make you feel unmotivated since it has a low nutrient density. When you consume foods rich in nutrients, your body gets active in digestion to use the nutrients to boost your energy levels.
So when you eat pizza, digestion is slower since the body wants to break down the processed foods. The result has less energy, and if you had tasks to perform, you might not perform them to your best.
5. Your Body Breaks Down Carbs As Simple Sugars
When you eat pizza, the important aspect is the calorie intake. Fast food pizza is made from processed ingredients, so when you eat it, the glucose( refined carbohydrates) is absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Image Credits: express.co.uk
Processed sugars are stored in the pizza’s crust, so when you consume them, your body releases insulin to help digestion. The insulin levels can remain constant after a long period making your body absorb processed chemicals more quickly than healthier ingredients.
According to research, regular fats and sugars increase the amount of insulin released to our bodies, producing advanced glycation end products in our body issues. When this continues over time, it can lead to chronic health conditions such as blood regulation.
How To Make Healthy Pizza
As discussed earlier, there are two types of pizzas, homemade pizza and fast-food pizza. Fast food pizzas are unhealthy, while homemade pizzas are healthy, so why not make your own? In addition, pizza at home can become a bonding activity with your friends and family.
It is fun to include everyone in the process by allowing them to help you prepare dough or choose healthy toppings. It is a healthy diet since you control what goes into your pizza.
Image Credits: superhealthykids.com
Instead of using processed foods, you can use fresh vegetables and add nutrient-filled ingredients while limiting the sugar and salt content. Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid cooking, you can have your way around by purchasing pre-made pizza bases and frozen pizza crusts made from whole wheat flour.
It is advisable to stick to a whole foods diet since they are fiber-rich. From there on, making your pizza will be simple since you have to add your healthy toppings and put them in the oven.
Also, if you lack pizza-making equipment or are in a hurry and want pizza, you can hop onto restaurants that make fresh pizza using whole food ingredients. Some restaurants also allow you to customize your pizza to get a balanced diet.
If you start eating homemade pizza, you will never go back to fast food pizza as you will realize that pizza is the ultimate comfort food; you make it in minutes and enjoy it.
1. Pizza Base
Image Credits: tasteofhome.com
If you are practicing healthy eating, avoid using refined flour when preparing your pizza dough; instead, use whole wheat flour as it contains healthy fiber.
2. Pizza Sauce
Image Credits: seriouseats.com
You can make your healthy pizza sauce from readily available ingredients, such as using fresh tomato sauce or garlic. Here is a list of the 5 best garlic butter sauces that are healthy for any pizza recipes. Doing so will control the amount of salt and sugar you consume on your pizza.
3. Pizza Toppings
Toppings are crucial for most pizza lovers as they define the taste of your pizza. However, if you are practicing healthy eating, you can use the best vegan pizza toppings. For example, most meat lovers will go for fatty meats with high cholesterol and cardiovascular issues. However, you can add nutritious toppings and avoid unhealthy ingredients.
Image Credits: unicornsinthekitchen.com
If you have to eat meat, ensure it is fresh, as processed meats are unhealthy. You can also use fresh vegetable toppings and whole grains, which are rich in vitamins and minerals. You can cook the vegetables before adding them as toppings or add them raw since most vegetables cook fast in the oven.
4. Have Side Dishes
Image Credits: bacinos.com
Pizza is a balanced diet since it combines carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and minerals. However, you should still serve it with healthy dishes such as salads that help you complement its high-calorie content.
Featured Image Credits: dentaldost.com