Pizza Nutrition Facts

Pizza Nutrition Facts

Pizza is tasty and convenient. You can make your own, pop a frozen pie in the oven, or even have it delivered piping hot to your front door. But as popular as it may be, pizza isn’t exactly known as a health food.

As with most foods, there are good things and bad things about pizza. Here are some nutrition facts to keep in mind next time you’re craving a slice.

The Good

The average pizza contains a healthy dose of all the major food groups. The crust is made of bread. The sauce contains tomatoes and often other vegetables, and veggies are frequently used as toppings as well. The cheese provides a serving of dairy, and pepperoni or some other type of meat is usually found on top. It all adds up to a full meal in a delicious, easy to eat form.

Pizza is loaded with protein. This vital nutrient provides us with energy and helps our bodies build and repair tissue. It also helps us feel full faster so that we do not overeat. Meat toppings are the most concentrated sources of protein on a pizza, but the cheese and sauce also provide significant amounts.

The cheese on a pizza is a great source of calcium. Since high quality natural cheeses melt better than their cheaper, less nutritious counterparts, they are more likely to be found on pizza. The average slice of pizza contains 18% of the recommended daily allowance of calcium.

Pizza also contains significant amounts of Vitamin A, riboflavin, selenium, iron and fiber.

The Bad

Pizza has a high carbohydrate content. We all need carbs in our diets, but an overabundance of them can cause weight gain and raise blood sugar levels. The biggest offenders are pizzas with thick crust and sweet sauce.

Most pizzas contain a great deal of fat. The average slice of cheese pizza has 10 grams of fat, and fatty toppings add even more. Depending on the ingredients, pizza may or may not contain high levels of trans and saturated fats.

Pizza is high in sodium, which may raise blood pressure and lead to heart disease. The sauce tends to be the worst offender, but many toppings also have high sodium content. A number of major pizza chains have been criticized for serving products containing high levels of sodium.

Making Healthier Pizza

It is possible to control the nutritional content of pizza to some degree. If you’re ordering from a pizzeria, ask if they offer options that meet your dietary needs. You can cut calories by avoiding fatty toppings such as pepperoni, sausage and bacon, and you can add nutritional value by adding vegetables such as peppers and onions.

When you’re making homemade pizza, you have even greater control over its nutritional value. You can make your own dough and sauce, cutting back on the salt and grease. You can choose meats that are low in fat to use as toppings, and you can add fresh veggies that are at their nutritional peak.

Eaten in moderation, pizza can easily fit into a healthy diet. There are few other dishes that constitute a balanced meal with great taste to boot!

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