Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Is DiGiorno Pizza Bad For You?

Also Known As: Frozen pizza



Short answer

Regularly consuming DiGiorno pizzas, which are high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and may contain food additives, can be detrimental to health, especially if eaten in large portions exceeding standard serving sizes. An occasional slice within a balanced diet is less likely to have significant negative effects. However, frequent intake can contribute to cardiovascular problems, hypertension, and obesity-related conditions due to its nutritional profile.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Nutritional Content Analysis of DiGiorno Pizza

Understanding the nutritional content of DiGiorno Pizza requires dissecting the different elements that make up a typical frozen pizza from this popular brand. The nutritional value of DiGiorno Pizza can vary significantly depending on the specific product line and toppings chosen. However, we can examine a general overview by looking at a classic variety, such as the DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza. Nutritional components to consider include calorie content, macronutrients (such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), and micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals).

  • Caloric Content: A single serving (1/6 pizza) of DiGiorno Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza typically contains about 340 calories. Since it's common to consume more than one serving in a sitting, caloric intake can quickly add up, which might lead to weight gain if these calories are not balanced with physical activity.
  • Fats: This pizza provides 16 grams of total fat per serving, which includes 6 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat. Saturated fats are known to raise LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease when consumed in excess.
  • Carbohydrates: With approximately 34 grams of carbohydrates per serving, of which 2 grams are dietary fiber and 4 grams are sugars, DiGiorno Pizza is a high-carb food. Consuming too many refined carbohydrates can impact blood sugar levels and may contribute to insulin resistance over time.
  • Proteins: Each serving offers a decent protein content of about 16 grams. Adequate protein intake is essential for muscle repair and overall bodily functions.
  • Sodium: One of the major nutritional concerns with frozen pizzas is their high sodium content. A serving of DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza contains about 810 mg of sodium, which is about 35% of the recommended maximum daily intake. High sodium consumption is a risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Frozen pizzas like DiGiorno's are typically not significant sources of vitamins or minerals. Nevertheless, they do contain varying amounts of calcium and iron, which are important for bone health and blood function, respectively.

It's important to note that these figures are based on a specific product and serving size. Different varieties may have slightly different nutritional profiles. In addition to the basic nutritional analysis, it's also essential to consider the quality of ingredients, the presence of food additives, and other components such as artificial flavors or preservatives, which could impact overall health.

When interpreting these nutrition facts, it's crucial to contextualize them within an individual's entire diet and lifestyle. While an occasional slice may fit into a balanced diet, regular consumption of DiGiorno Pizza, particularly in larger portions, may not align with dietary guidelines that emphasize whole grains, lean proteins, and a diversity of fruits and vegetables.

Nutrient Amount Per Serving (1/6 Pizza) Percentage of Daily Value
Calories 340 -
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Trans Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 35mg 12%
Sodium 810mg 35%
Total Carbohydrates 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Sugars 4g -
Protein 16g -
Calcium 250mg 20%
Iron 1.8mg 10%

High Sodium Levels and Blood Pressure Concerns

When discussing pre-packaged meals like DiGiorno pizzas, a pressing health concern often arises due to their high sodium content. Sodium is a mineral that's essential for various bodily functions, including nerve transmission and muscle contractions. However, consuming it in excess is associated with several negative health impacts, particularly on cardiovascular health.

The dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, yet many of us far exceed this amount, primarily because of processed and packaged foods. A typical serving of a DiGiorno pizza can contain a substantial amount of your daily sodium allowance, making it crucial to understand and manage your intake if you decide to include it in your diet.

To put it into perspective, a single serving of DiGiorno's Original Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza contains approximately 760 milligrams of sodium, which is almost one-third of the maximum recommended daily intake. If one consumes multiple servings, or an entire pizza in one sitting, as can often be the case, the sodium intake can soar to well above the recommended limits.

High intake of sodium is a significant concern because it's implicated in raising blood pressure, a condition known as hypertension. The relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure is well-documented in scientific literature. The Framingham Heart Study, among others, has shown a direct correlation between excess sodium consumption and an increase in blood pressure. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States.

Reducing sodium intake, as part of a healthy diet, is recommended to lower blood pressure and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease. This is particularly important for those already predisposed to hypertension, including individuals with a family history of high blood pressure, those of African-American descent, and older adults.

It's not just blood pressure; excess sodium is also implicated in other health issues, such as kidney damage, calcium loss, and even headaches. The kidneys work to balance sodium levels in the body, and consuming too much can impair their function, potentially leading to kidney disease. High sodium diets can also promote calcium loss, which is detrimental to bone health, while some individuals may experience sodium-induced headaches.

For those concerned about their sodium intake, especially individuals with high blood pressure, substituting DiGiorno pizza with a homemade alternative using fresh ingredients and controlled sodium levels can be a healthier choice. Alternatively, those who choose to consume DiGiorno pizzas should balance their overall daily sodium intake by eating lower-sodium foods for their other meals and snacks throughout the day.

Always be mindful of nutrition labels, and consider not just the per-serving sodium content but also the realistic serving size you will consume. Balancing an occasional high-sodium indulgence like a DiGiorno pizza with a predominantly low-sodium diet can help mitigate the associated health risks.

Individuals with hypertension or preexisting cardiovascular concerns should consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to discuss dietary adjustments that prioritize low-sodium options for maintaining optimal health.

Saturated Fat and Cholesterol in DiGiorno Pizza

When examining DiGiorno Pizza through a nutritional lens, the content of saturated fat and cholesterol plays an essential role in determining its health impact. Consuming high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol can be linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Let's explore the specifics of these components in DiGiorno pizzas.

Most varieties of DiGiorno Pizza contain cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or a combination thereof, all of which contribute to the total saturated fat and cholesterol content.

  • Saturated Fat: A typical serving of DiGiorno Pizza can contain anywhere from 4 to 10 grams of saturated fat, which accounts for about 20% to 50% of the recommended daily limit. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest limiting saturated fat intake to less than 10% of calories per day. For a 2,000 calorie diet, that's 22 grams of saturated fat or less per day.
  • Cholesterol: Cholesterol levels in DiGiorno Pizza may range from 20 to 40 milligrams per serving. While the body requires some cholesterol to function properly, too much cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is recommended to consume no more than 300 milligrams for individuals with normal cholesterol levels.

Nutritional data for a specific DiGiorno pizza flavor:

Nutrient Amount per Serving % Daily Value
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%

It’s important to note that individual needs for saturated fat and cholesterol may vary based on personal health conditions, like hypercholesterolemia or familial lipid disorders. In such cases, the guidance of a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian is invaluable.

For consumers aiming for a heart-healthy diet, it's crucial to be aware of portion sizes and the cumulative effect of meals throughout the day. Choosing a DiGiorno pizza with a high amount of saturated fat may require adjustments in other meals to maintain a balanced intake.

Remember that occasional consumption of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol may fit into an overall balanced diet. However, regular indulgence without consideration of these nutritional factors can derail health goals and potentially lead to long-term health risks.

Presence of Additives and Preservatives in Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizzas, including DiGiorno brand, are convenient meal options for many households. However, it's crucial to understand the impact of additives and preservatives on our health, often used in these frozen products to enhance flavor, as well as maintain freshness and extend shelf life.

One commonly used preservative in frozen pizzas is sodium nitrate, which helps prevent bacterial growth. While effective in preserving food, excessive consumption of sodium nitrate has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer when it converts to nitrosamines in the body.

Another additive to be aware of is artificial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils. These have been recognized by the American Heart Association to increase the risk of heart disease by raising bad cholesterol levels and lowering good cholesterol levels. It's important to note that many frozen pizza brands have worked to reduce or eliminate these from their products.

Furthermore, monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer, is often used in processed foods like frozen pizzas. While the FDA has classified MSG as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), some people report sensitivity to it, experiencing symptoms like headache, flushing, and sweating.

To aid in dough's ability to rise and maintain stability, frozen pizzas may contain emulsifiers and dough conditioners, such as mono- and diglycerides. These can be synthetically derived and may be a concern for those looking for all-natural food options.

Here's a brief list of specific preservatives and additives to look for on frozen pizza labels:

  • Sodium nitrate
  • Partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fats)
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Various artificial dyes and flavors
  • Enriched flour (with additives)

While small amounts of these substances may not pose significant health risks, regular consumption of frozen pizzas and other processed foods with a high content of these additives and preservatives could lead to long-term health implications. Consumers are advised to carefully check labels and opt for pizza options with shorter, more recognizable ingredient lists when possible.

Dietitians and food safety experts often recommend moderation when it comes to consuming processed foods. Opting for fresh, homemade alternatives or frozen pizzas with organic, all-natural ingredients can be a healthier choice for those concerned about the effects of additives and preservatives.

Balancing Convenience with Healthy Eating Practices

When it comes to convenience, DiGiorno pizza is a top pick for a quick and easy meal. However, health-conscious individuals are often caught in a dilemma, trying to balance the need for quick meal solutions with their desire to maintain a healthy diet. To achieve this balance, it is essential to understand how DiGiorno pizza fits into a healthy eating plan and what steps can be taken to mitigate any potential nutritional drawbacks.

Firstly, let's consider the nutritional content of a typical DiGiorno pizza. It generally contains a fair amount of calories, saturated fats, sodium, and processed ingredients. For example, one serving of a DiGiorno Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza contains approximately 300 calories, 7g of saturated fat, and 700mg of sodium, which accounts for a significant portion of the daily recommended intake for these nutrients, especially for individuals on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Health experts advocate for a diet that emphasizes whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. While DiGiorno pizza can be part of a varied diet, it's crucial to consider its place within the larger context of your daily food consumption. To balance convenience with healthy eating practices, consider the following strategies:

  • Moderation: Enjoy DiGiorno pizza in moderation, limiting it to an occasional treat rather than a staple food item.
  • Portion Control: Pay attention to portion sizes, perhaps by pairing a slice or two of pizza with a side salad packed with leafy greens to up the nutrient density of your meal.
  • Enhance with Vegetables: Add fresh or roasted vegetables on top of your DiGiorno pizza before baking to increase the fiber and nutrient content.
  • Alternative Options: Explore DiGiorno's selection for any pizzas that may have a reduced-calorie, less sodium, or higher fiber option, such as those with a thin crust or loaded with veggies.
  • Balance Throughout the Day: If you're planning to enjoy pizza for dinner, aim for nutrient-dense, lower-calorie meals throughout the rest of the day.
  • Homemade Upgrades: Consider creating a homemade pizza with DiGiorno's crust, then add your toppings like lean proteins and a variety of vegetables to control the quality and quantity of the ingredients.

It's also important to recognize the importance of enjoyment and satisfaction in your diet. Deprivation can often lead to overindulgence later on, so allowing yourself the occasional convenience foods, in moderation, is part of a sustainable healthy eating pattern.

By integrating these balanced eating practices, you can enjoy the convenience of DiGiorno pizza without significantly hindering your health goals. Remember, it's the overall pattern of your diet that is most important for long-term health and wellbeing.

For individuals with specific health concerns, such as hypertension or heart disease, paying close attention to sodium intake is crucial. Consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider can offer personalized guidance on how to fit convenience foods like DiGiorno pizza into a heart-healthy diet.

Frequently asked questions

Including DiGiorno Pizza in a balanced diet involves moderation and mindful eating. Reserve pizza for occasional indulgence rather than a frequent meal choice. On the days you eat pizza, adjust your other meals to be rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, while being lower in sodium and saturated fat to compensate for the pizza's nutritional profile.

To make DiGiorno Pizza a healthier option, consider adding fresh vegetables as extra toppings to increase the fiber and nutrient content. Pairing a reasonable portion of pizza with a side salad is another way to create a more balanced meal. Additionally, choosing a variety with more veggies, a thinner crust, or a lower-fat cheese option can help reduce calorie and fat intake.

Yes, the nutritional value can vary between different DiGiorno Pizza flavors, particularly in terms of toppings. Pizzas with vegetable toppings generally contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while those with meat toppings like sausage and pepperoni may be higher in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. It's important to read the nutrition labels of each specific flavor to understand their dietary impact.

Individuals with hypertension or cardiovascular concerns should be particularly mindful of the high sodium content in DiGiorno Pizza. It is advisable to consume such foods infrequently and in small portions, ensuring the rest of the day's meals are low in sodium. Consulting a healthcare provider or dietitian for personalized dietary advice is highly recommended for those with preexisting health issues.

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

Possible short-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • elevated ldl cholesterol
  • insulin resistance
  • increased blood pressure
  • headaches
  • flushing
  • sweating

Possible long-term side effects

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • kidney damage
  • calcium loss
  • cancer risk

Ingredients to be aware of


  • convenience
  • source of protein
  • calcium and iron content

Healthier alternatives

  • homemade pizza
  • fresh ingredients
  • low-sodium products
  • organic or all-natural frozen pizzas
  • whole food meals
  • thin-crust options
  • vegetables-topped pizza

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Cauliflower Pizza Crusts

  • Gluten-free alternative
  • Healthy vegan option
  • Convenient 6-pack
  • Versatile flatbread form
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-20-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-20-2024

Random Page

Check These Out!