Typically, pizza is high in carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fats. However, not all pizzas are created equally. By making the delicious pie at home with wholesome ingredients or selecting alternative healthy brands, you can enjoy pizza in moderation—without guilt.
Pizza is among the most popular foods served in fast food chains, dine-in restaurants, and “from freezer to table”. It is a convenient meal that is versatile enough to satisfy the pallet of even the picky eaters at your table. The most basic “modern day” pizza consist of flat bread, tomato sauce, and cheese baked in an oven. A vast array of toppings including fruits, vegetables, and meats can be added on top to customize the dish. The primary ingredients of pizza are not dangerous if consumed in moderation.
An average slice of cheese pizza contains approximately 26g carbohydrates and 10 grams of fat (including 4 grams of saturated fat). The fat rises in pizzas with meat toppings. It is important to keep this in mind when determining how many slices of pizza you eat in one setting.
The pizza dough is typically created from flour, water, oil, yeast, and salt. A basic sauce contains crushed or pureed tomatoes, oil, sugar, salt, garlic and various Italian spices. Add a little cheese and you have a tasty meal. Toppings should be used cautiously. Look for pizzas containing organic fruits and vegetables or chicken. Fatty meats add a lot of unnecessary saturated fat, preservatives, and additives for processing.
Unfortunately, determining what is actually in your pizza can be a challenging feat. Consumer research shows that many large chain pizza joints are very secretive about what exactly is in their “proprietary recipes”. One ingredient revealed in many commercial pizza chains and restaurants is hydrolyzed soy protein; the core ingredient in Monosodium glutamate (MSG). The Food and drug administration does not require that this ingredient be reported, though the side effects and risk factors mirror those of MSG. Be aware that many restaurants and companies use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and some even use a “cheese product”. Many frozen pizza varieties vary greatly in additives. That said, there are several frozen pizza brands that cater to the health conscious family. Two of the best quality brands are readily available in most community grocery stores. The first is Amy’s Pizzas. At one time, they were only available in specialty health foods, but are now available at various mainstream stores, including Walmart. Amy’s offers most organic ingredients (most of their other food options are completely organic). Amy’s pizzas come in several varieties, including gluten-free, whole wheat, and traditional organic crust. No products have GMOs. Multiple vegetarian toppings are available within the brand.
Kroger has a very tasty, all organic, non-GMO cheese pizza in their store “health friendly” brand, Simply Truth. Both of these brands can be modified by adding meat, made freshly in the home. Though frozen pizzas often get a bad reputation, these are by far a better alternative to any of the fast food pizza restaurants. Another alternative is to make homemade pizzas with fresh organic ingredients.
Even the self-proclaimed “health nuts” can safely enjoy the occasional pizza, made from a trusted source with the right ingredients.
Possible short-term side effects
- fatigue / mood swings
Possible long-term side effects
- high cholesterol
- type ii diabetes
- heart disease
- cancer depending on the toppings
Ingredients to be aware of
- very customizable
Amy's pizzas (organic, GMO-free) (what is this?)
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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 12-28-2015
Written by DeeAnne Oldham
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