Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Casey's Pizza Bad For You?

Also Known As: Casey's General Store Pizza



Short answer

Casey's pizza, like many fast-food pizzas, can be high in calories, saturated fats, and sodium, which may pose health risks if consumed excessively. However, when enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, it can be a satisfying meal. The presence of protein and calcium adds nutritional value, and choices like opting for vegetable toppings or a thin crust can improve its profile. Overall, the occasional indulgence in Casey's pizza is not bad for you, providing you make mindful choices and practice portion control.



Long answer

Nutritional Content of Casey's Pizza

Understanding the nutritional content of any food is crucial for making informed dietary choices. Pizza, as a popular item, can vary widely in its nutritional profile depending on the ingredients used, the portion size, and the preparation methods. Casey's General Store offers a variety of pizzas, which include classic toppings and crust options. Let's dive into the nutritional content of a typical Casey's pizza.

Calories: Starting with calories, an important measure of energy intake, a single slice of Casey's cheese pizza from a medium-sized pie has approximately 210-250 calories. When additional toppings are added, like meats or extra cheese, this number can rise significantly, possibly even doubling depending on the selection.

Macronutrients: Casey's pizzas provide all three macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrates: The crust, which is a significant source of carbs, provides the body with glucose, a primary energy source. A slice typically contains 25-30 grams of carbohydrates, predominantly from refined white flour unless a whole grain option is available.
  • Proteins: Cheese and meat toppings contribute to the protein content, essential for muscle repair and growth. You can expect about 10-15 grams of protein per slice.
  • Fats: The total fat content can range from 9-18 grams depending on the pizza’s toppings, with a notable amount of this coming from saturated fats due to cheese and certain meats.

Fiber: Fiber is a key component for digestive health. Generally, pizza is not a high-fiber food, and a slice of Casey’s pizza is likely to have less than a gram of fiber unless topped with vegetables or made with a whole grain crust.

Sodium: One of the areas where pizza often raises health concerns is its high sodium content. A single slice of Casey’s pizza can contain between 400-800 milligrams of sodium, largely from cheese, pizza sauce, and cured meat toppings. For reference, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, with an ideal limit of 1,500 milligrams for most adults.

Vitamins and Minerals: The cheese on Casey's pizza is a source of calcium, which is beneficial for bone health. However, pizza is not typically a significant source of vitamins unless it includes vegetable toppings, which can provide vitamin C, various B-vitamins, and other nutrients.

It’s also important to consider that variations such as a deep-dish or pan-style pizza will have different caloric and nutrient densities due to increased amounts of dough, cheese, and oil. On the other hand, opting for a thin crust and vegetable toppings could make for a lighter, more nutrient-rich meal.

In conclusion, while Casey's pizza features the appealing trio of carbs, protein, and fat that make it deliciously satisfying, it can also contribute a substantial amount of calories, saturated fat, and sodium to one's daily intake. Considering these factors is essential, especially for those monitoring their calorie or sodium consumption.

When examining the health implications of eating Casey's Pizza, it's the balance and frequency of consumption that ultimately determines its place in a diet. Moderation is key, and complementing pizza with nutrient-dense foods throughout the day can help maintain a balanced diet.

Trans Fats and Saturated Fats in Casey's Pizza

Understanding the fat content in convenience foods like Casey's Pizza is crucial for maintaining a balanced diet. Fats are a necessary component of nutrition, providing energy and supporting cell growth, but not all fats have the same impact on our health. Let's break down the differences between trans fats and saturated fats, and evaluate how they relate to Casey's Pizza.

Trans Fats:

Trans fats are created through the industrial process of hydrogenation, which solidifies liquid oils. They increase shelf life and flavor stability of foods. However, research has consistently shown that trans fats can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. The adverse health impacts of trans fats are so significant that the FDA has taken steps to remove partially hydrogenated oils (the primary source of trans fats) from processed foods.

Upon investigating the ingredient lists of Casey's Pizza, it's reassuring to note that partially hydrogenated oils are not listed. This suggests that Casey's pizzas are likely free from artificial trans fats, a positive sign for consumers looking to avoid these harmful fats.

Saturated Fats:

Saturated fats are another type of fat found commonly in pizza, originating from cheese, meat toppings, and certain oils. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to less than 6% of total daily calories, as excessive consumption can raise LDL cholesterol levels and potentially lead to heart disease.

When it comes to Casey's Pizza, the saturated fat content can vary widely depending on the choice of pizza. For instance, a slice of cheese pizza contains a moderate amount of saturated fat. However, choosing a meat-heavy option like the Pepperoni Pizza significantly increases the saturated fat content. Consumers should be mindful of the saturated fat in each serving and aim to enjoy these options in moderation within the context of a balanced diet.

For those concerned about fat intake, consider the following tips when ordering Casey's Pizza:

  • Opt for vegetable toppings which are lower in saturated fats.
  • Choose a thinner crust which can reduce the overall fat content.
  • Limit or avoid extra cheese to minimize saturated fat intake.
  • Be conscious of portion size; stick to one or two slices and pair with a salad to promote satiety and nutrient balance.

In conclusion, while Casey's Pizza may not contain trans fats, the saturated fat content does warrant consideration. Personal choices regarding toppings and portions play a critical role in how these pizzas fit into a health-conscious diet. Monitoring saturated fat intake and adhering to dietary guidelines is a responsible way to enjoy such convenience foods without compromising heart health.

Sodium Levels in Pizza: Risks of High Consumption

For many, pizza is an irresistible comfort food, but like many processed foods, it can be high in sodium. The cheese, cured meats, and often the crust itself contain significant salt quantities that contribute to the pizza's overall sodium levels. Understanding the potential risks of high sodium consumption is essential for making informed dietary choices.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium, moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. One slice of Casey's regular pepperoni pizza can contain around 800 mg of sodium—or more, depending on size and toppings—which is over a third of the maximum recommended daily intake.

Excessive sodium intake is associated with several health risks, such as:

  • Hypertension: High levels of sodium can lead to increased blood pressure, a principal risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Heart Failure: Consistently high sodium intake might contribute to heart failure over time by increasing the heart's workload.
  • Osteoporosis: There's evidence to suggest that high sodium can leach calcium from the bones, potentially leading to osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.
  • Kidney Damage: The kidneys play a crucial role in sodium balance. Overworking them with high sodium levels can lead to kidney disease and stones.
  • Stomach Cancer: Some studies indicate a correlation between high sodium diets and the risk of stomach cancer, though more research is needed.
  • Obesity: High-sodium diets can lead to overeating and obesity because salt can enhance the taste of food, leading to increased consumption.

Given these potential health risks, it's wise to be mindful of the sodium content when indulging in pizza from Casey's or any other establishment. Checking nutritional information and opting for lower-sodium toppings like vegetables instead of high-salt meats can help keep your sodium intake in check.

For those particularly sensitive to sodium—such as individuals with hypertension or prehypertension—paying close attention to the sodium intake from foods like pizza is crucial. It's often the case that the convenience of a quick meal can carry hidden health costs that manifest over time with consistent consumption.

Balancing out a pizza meal with low-sodium sides like a fresh salad, and drinking plenty of water, can assist in mitigating some of the immediate effects of a high-sodium meal. Being conscientious about overall daily sodium intake and not just the amount in a single pizza meal is a crucial step in maintaining a heart-healthy diet.

Remember, enjoying pizza as part of a well-rounded diet is possible, but moderation and awareness of its sodium content are key for long-term health sustainability.

Additives and Preservatives in Fast Food Pizzas

Fast food pizzas, such as those from Casey's and similar establishments, often contain various additives and preservatives to ensure the longevity of the product, enhance flavor, and improve texture. While these ingredients serve practical purposes in the food industry, consumers should be aware of their potential health implications. Here we explore commonly used additives and preservatives in fast food pizza and discuss their safety profiles based on current scientific understanding.

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite: Often found in processed meats that top many pizzas, these compounds can help prevent bacterial growth and maintain the pinkish color of the meats. However, excessive consumption may be linked with an increased risk of certain cancers, as reported by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): HFCS is frequently used as a sweetener in pizza sauce. While HFCS is akin to sugar in terms of calories, research, including a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that high intake can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease due to its effects on metabolism and appetite control.

Trans Fats (Partially Hydrogenated Oils): Some pizza doughs may contain trans fats to improve texture and extend shelf life. The American Heart Association warns that trans fats can increase harmful LDL cholesterol levels and decrease beneficial HDL cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is a flavor enhancer that can be found in some pizza seasonings. While the FDA considers MSG generally safe, some individuals may experience short-term reactions, such as headaches or nausea, known as MSG symptom complex. However, studies such as those published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology have not found conclusive evidence of MSG causing chronic harmful effects when consumed at typical dietary levels.

Artificial Colors: Although less common in pizzas, artificial colors may be present in some toppings or sauces. Concerns have been raised about their potential association with hyperactivity in children and cancer risk. The European Food Safety Authority regularly evaluates and provides updated assessments on the safety of various food colorings.

BHA and BHT: These synthetic antioxidants are sometimes used to preserve the freshness of foods with fats, such as pizza dough and cheese. While these additives prevent oxidative rancidity, there is debate over their safety. Some animal studies, like those referenced by the National Toxicology Program, have shown possible carcinogenic effects, leading to cautionary use guidelines.

Consumers with specific health concerns or dietary restrictions are encouraged to review ingredient lists and nutrition information provided by pizza manufacturers and consult with healthcare professionals as needed. Understanding the role and potential health effects of these additives serves as a stepping stone to making informed dietary choices.

Balancing Casey's Pizza in a Healthy Diet

When indulging in a slice or two of Casey's Pizza, it's essential to consider how it fits into a balanced diet. Moderation is key, and understanding the nutritional content can help you make informed decisions. Casey's offers a variety of pizza options, so it's worth taking a look at the nutritional profiles to ensure you can enjoy your meal without compromising your dietary goals.

Portion Control

One of the most effective strategies for including pizza in a healthy diet is to practice portion control. It's easy to overeat pizza, given its appealing taste and the convenience of ordering in larger quantities. Pay attention to serving sizes, and try to limit yourself to one or two slices, filling out the rest of your meal with healthier sides like a garden salad or steamed vegetables.

Nutritional Balance

A balanced meal includes a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and a generous helping of vegetables for fiber and micronutrients. Casey's Pizza, like many other pizzas, is typically high in carbs and fats. To create balance, consider the following adjustments:

  • Opt for pizzas with more vegetables to increase the fiber content and add essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Choose lean meat toppings or even better, go meatless to reduce saturated fat intake.
  • Consider thin crust options to lower the overall calorie and carbohydrate count.

Strategize Your Eating Schedule

If you're planning on having pizza, adjust your meals earlier in the day to accommodate the increase in calories. This might mean having a lighter breakfast or lunch or ensuring that snacks are nutrient-dense and lower in calories.

Special Dietary Considerations

For those with specific dietary needs or health concerns, customize your order to be more in line with your requirements. Choose a gluten-free crust if you're sensitive or allergic to gluten, or go for a cheese-less pizza if you're lactose intolerant or dairy-free. Always check for the option of a healthier whole-grain crust to increase your intake of whole grains.

Post-Pizza Meal Planning

If you've had more pizza than planned, balance your diet in the days following by focusing on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. This can help compensate for the temporary imbalance and ensure you're getting the nutrients your body needs.

Remember, enjoying pizza occasionally does not have to derail your health goals. With thoughtful choices and strategic planning, Casey's Pizza can be a tasty and satisfying part of a balanced diet.

Comparison with Other Fast Food Pizza Options

When evaluating the health impact of Casey's Pizza, it's important to put it in perspective by comparing it with other fast-food pizza options. Here, we'll examine various aspects such as calorie content, ingredients quality, and nutritional value in comparison to other popular pizza chains.

Calorie Content Comparison:

Pizza from fast-food chains is famously calorific. Casey's Pizza, like many of its competitors, offers a range of options from thin crust to loaded deep-dish, each carrying a different calorie count. A typical slice of Casey’s Pizza ranges from approximately 220 to 550 calories. Below is a comparison table showing average calorie counts for a basic cheese pizza slice from several popular pizza chains:

Pizza Chain Calories per Slice (Cheese Pizza)
Casey's ~300 kcal
Domino’s ~200 kcal
Pizza Hut ~240 kcal
Little Caesars ~250 kcal
Papa John’s ~290 kcal

Ingredient Quality:

Assessing ingredient quality involves looking at the sources of the components, such as the type of flour used for the crust, the origins of the cheese and meat toppings, and the use of artificial additives. Casey's Pizza prides itself on using real cheese and locally sourced ingredients when possible. However, similar to other chains, it may also use processed meats and additional preservatives to ensure the longevity of their products.

Nutritional Value:

Nutrition-wise, pizza is seldom regarded as a health food. However, it can contain several important nutrients. Casey's Pizza provides a decent amount of protein and calcium, primarily from cheese. Comparing the nutritional profiles, Casey's generally aligns with other chains, although the exact values can vary based on the types of toppings chosen. Consider the nutritional elements such as fats, carbohydrates, and sodium:

  • Fats: Casey's pizzas may be high in saturated fats, similarly to competitors, especially in meat-lover varieties.
  • Carbohydrates: Pizzas are a high-carb meal, with Casey's offering a typical range of 25-45 grams per slice, depending on size and crust type.
  • Sodium: Fast-food pizzas are high in sodium, and Casey's is no exception, with sodium content often exceeding 500 mg per slice.

It's crucial to keep in mind that individual dietary needs and concerns can influence how "bad" any pizza option might be for a person. Noting serving sizes and toppings choices can help mitigate some health concerns associated with consuming fast-food pizzas.

Frequently asked questions

Casey's pizza can be a moderate source of protein, particularly if it has cheese and meat toppings. On average, you can expect about 10-15 grams of protein per slice. However, be conscious of the saturated fat and sodium that often come alongside protein-rich toppings like meats and extra cheese.

To make a healthier order at Casey's, you can opt for a thin crust to decrease carb and calorie intake, choose vegetable toppings to add fiber and nutrients without excessive calories, and limit the amount of cheese to reduce saturated fat and sodium content. Pairing your pizza with a side salad can also improve the overall nutritional balance of your meal.

People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should avoid standard Casey's pizza due to its crust which typically contains gluten. It is important for such individuals to verify if Casey's offers a gluten-free crust option and to ensure that cross-contamination is minimized during the pizza's preparation.

Pizza from Casey's and most other fast food chains is typically low in fiber, as it is made with refined white flour and has few vegetables. Choosing a whole grain crust if available, and topping your pizza with a variety of vegetables, can help increase your fiber intake.

Ask a question about Casey's Pizza and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • elevated blood pressure
  • dehydration
  • headache
  • nausea

Possible long-term side effects

  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • kidney disease
  • stomach cancer

Ingredients to be aware of


  • source of protein
  • source of calcium
  • provides energy

Healthier alternatives

  • vegetable toppings
  • thin crust
  • whole grain crust
  • reduced cheese
  • homemade pizza
  • pizza with lower sodium content

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-23-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 03-23-2024

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