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Healthy pizza & nutrition facts

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How This Helps

Who
does not love pizza? Pizza is a favorite food for many of us, and the delicious
wafting smell of a piping hot cheese pizza is enough to break the resolve of
many dieters and healthy eaters. Many people are even addicted to pizza, and
the myriad offerings of toppings for a pizza can please even the pickiest of
eaters amongst us. The problem is that pizzas are usually labeled as being
unhealthy since it is high in sodium, carbohydrates, and sodium. The fact is,
though, that the nutrition and ingredients of your pizza can vary depending on
what you want as your toppings. 

Pizza nutrition facts

Here
are some pizza nutrition facts to ponder over.

Pizza Nutrition Facts

According to the nutritional data from the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA), here is the nutritional information for one
slice of cheese pizza, approximately 127 grams of cheese pizza.[1]

· Total calories: 310

· Sodium: 740mg

· Fat: 13g

· Carbohydrates: 33g

· Protein: 13g

· Fiber: 2g

· Sugars: 4g

As mentioned above, the total calories, and pizza nutrition
vary significantly depending on the cooking method, the toppings, the size of
the pizza slice, and also the crust. Imagine this, a very small slice of cheese
pizza has only 168 calories, but a regular-sized slice of cheese pizza provides
250 calories or sometimes even higher. 

If you add toppings of pepperoni to your cheese pizza,
then the calorie count can cross over 600 calories easily.[2]

Pizza ingredients nutrition impact

Pizzas can contain many unhealthy ingredients

It is common knowledge that processed foods such as
pizzas usually contain more unhealthy ingredients than foods that are made from
scratch. Fast-food and frozen pizzas, especially, are more likely to contain
harmful ingredients like artificial food colorings, preservatives, and
unhealthy fats.[3, 4]

Most pizzas, regardless of how they are prepared, are
also made from refined wheat flour, which is low in fiber and considered to be
less filling than whole-grain flours. Eating too much food products made from a
refined grain, such as pizza, has been associated with weight gain.[5, 6]
 
For example, a study with 1,352 participants found that
those who had an intake of over 70 grams of ready-made food products such as
pizza every day were much more likely to have higher belly fat as compared to
those who consumed less than 70 grams every day.[7]

Cutting Calories in a Pizza

Pizza with a healthy twist:

If you want to reduce the calories in a slice of pizza and also ensure that the pizza nutrition is maintained, then there are many ways to achieve this. 

Simply halving the amount of cheese in your pizza, will decrease the intake of saturated fat by a third and also cut down over 50 calories. It is an excellent idea to reduce your consumption of cheese in a pizza because many studies have highlighted that there is a clear association between high cheese consumption and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.[8] Too much consumption of cheese is also linked with an increase in the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood.[9]

A healthy pizza with healthy cheese

Turn to healthier cheese options

Another way to ensure pizza nutrition is to request your pizza to be made with skim cheese instead of using whole fat cheese. Some pizza parlors also provide the option of substituting regular cheese with Feta cheese as a healthy option. Feta cheese is not only lower in calories, but it is also known for its health benefits.[10]

Feta cheese is a healthy choice as one ounce of feta cheese (around 28 grams) provides only 74 total calories. At the same time, Feta cheese is rich in vitamins B6, A, and K, magnesium, iron, pantothenic acid, zinc, phosphorus, selenium.[11]

Feta cheese is also a great source of phosphorus, protein, and calcium, all of which are essential for promoting bone health.[12]

Another super benefit of adding Feta to increase your pizza nutrition is that this type of cheese is known to contain the bacteria Lactobacillus Plantarum. The advantage of this bacteria is that it is known to boost your immune system and gut health. It protects your intestinal tract from other disease-causing harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli.[13, 14, 15]

Making a healthy pizza

Even though most types of pizza are very high in calories, carbs, sodium, and unhealthy fats, you can choose to prepare a pizza at home from scratch. You can further boost your pizza nutrition by adding nutrient-rich toppings and making the pizza from whole grains. 

Making your own pizza crust from healthy and wholesome ingredients such as whole grain and gluten-free flours will not only increase the fiber content of your pizza but also help in weight loss.[16] Many people even go the extra mile and make a completely grain-free pizza crust by choosing nut flour or cauliflower. 

Here are some more easy tips to increase pizza nutrition:

Choose fresh or cooked vegetables as toppings on your pizza that will significantly increase the vitamin, mineral, fiber, and even the antioxidant content of your pizza.[17]

• Try using out-of-the-box items such as cauliflower, quinoa, and mushrooms for making highly nutritious crusts for your pizza.

• Cut yourself a smaller slice. If at all you are having a ready-made pizza, then practice cutting yourself a smaller slice of pizza. Avoid having overly huge servings and practice portion control, especially if you are watching your weight.[18] 

• Instead of using processed meats such as bacon and pepperoni, choose healthier meats such as grilled or roasted chicken and turkey.

Summary

Most of us love to have a pizza now and then. Some people are, in fact, so addicted to pizza that they have one every day. There is no doubt that pizza is delicious food to have, but most people know that what they are having is unhealthy for them. But it is very much possible to increase the pizza nutrition content by making certain healthy choices and putting in some thought to make a pizza from scratch at home. There are several ways to increase the nutrition value of your pizza, especially by choosing to make it yourself at home. Opt for adding vegetables and healthy meats as toppings, and having a crust made from gluten-free flour or a whole grain crust. Such small steps can make a massive difference to the overall nutritional value of your pizza. This can easily transform an unhealthy food into a healthy meal option in no time.