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

Is Tombstone Pizza Bad For You?



Short answer

While Tombstone Pizza can be part of a varied and balanced diet, it contains high levels of saturated fat and sodium, which can contribute to serious health issues if consumed frequently or in large quantities. Its highly processed crust has a high glycemic index, potentially affecting blood sugar levels. Portion control is essential for including Tombstone Pizza in a healthy diet, and opting for homemade or healthier pizza alternatives can provide similar satisfaction with fewer health risks.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Nutritional Content of a Typical Tombstone Pizza

Nutritional content can vary from one type of Tombstone Pizza to another—whether it's their classic pepperoni or their four-cheese variant. However, most frozen pizzas share common nutritional attributes. Let's dissect the typical nutritional content found in a frozen Tombstone Pepperoni Pizza, serving as a representative for the brand.

Caloric Content: A single serving, which may be about 1/4 of the pizza, usually contains between 300 to 400 calories. Depending on one's daily caloric needs, a serving might take up a significant portion of calorie allotment, particularly for those monitoring their intake for weight management.

Fats: The saturated fat content often sits around 6 to 8 grams per serving. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 13 grams per day on a 2,000-calorie diet, so a single serving can provide over half of this limit. Total fat can range from 14 to 18 grams per serving, making moderation important for overall heart health.

Carbohydrates: Tombstone Pizzas typically contain a sizable amount of carbohydrates, around 34 to 40 grams per serving, with a few grams consisting of dietary fiber and the rest as net carbs, including sugars. Individuals watching carb intake for reasons such as diabetes control might need to be mindful when consuming these pizzas.

Protein: An appealing feature for some, a serving of Tombstone Pizza can offer a decent protein boost—around 15 to 20 grams, aiding in satiety and muscle maintenance.

Sodium: One of the more concerning elements is the sodium content—often exceeding 700 mg per serving, which can add up quickly towards the daily limit of 2,300 mg recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). High sodium intake is linked to increased blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.

Vitamins and Minerals: Depending on the toppings and the specific type of pizza, one can expect to find varying levels of calcium and iron, among other micronutrients. However, these amounts are typically not substantial enough to contribute significantly to daily nutritional goals.

Here is a more detailed nutritional breakdown, based on a typical 1/4 pizza serving of Tombstone Original Pepperoni Pizza:

Nutrient Amount per Serving (%Daily Value)
Calories 360
Total Fat 16g (21%)
Saturated Fat 8g (40%)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 40mg (13%)
Sodium 790mg (34%)
Total Carbohydrates 36g (13%)
Dietary Fiber 2g (7%)
Sugars 4g
Protein 16g
Calcium 200mg (15%)
Iron 2.4mg (13%)

Considering these figures, it's imperative for consumers to understand where a product like Tombstone Pizza might fit within their overall dietary pattern. For those prioritizing a balanced diet, portion control and occasional consumption are key, alongside a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Saturated Fat and Sodium: Hidden Health Hazards?

Saturated fats and sodium are two common components in many processed foods, which includes a variety of frozen pizzas. Both of these nutrients, when consumed in high amounts, have been associated with adverse health outcomes such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Let's delve into how Tombstone Pizza measures up in terms of these components and what that could mean for your health.

Saturated Fat:

Tombstone Pizzas, like many other frozen pizza brands, contain cheese and processed meats – two food items that are known to be high in saturated fats. According to the USDA, just one serving of Tombstone Original Pepperoni Pizza contains about 7 grams of saturated fat, which is roughly 35% of the recommended daily limit, if following a 2,000 calorie diet, as advised by the American Heart Association. Consuming high levels of saturated fats is linked to increased levels of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke.


Sodium is an essential mineral, but in excess, it is notorious for raising blood pressure and causing undue stress on the cardiovascular system. Tombstone Pizza comes packed with sodium to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. A single serving of some varieties can contain upwards of 800 milligrams of sodium, which is about one-third of the maximum amount of sodium recommended per day by the American Heart Association.

  • Health Outcomes: High dietary intake of saturated fat and sodium are risk factors for developing heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.
  • Balanced Intake: It is important for individuals to balance their intake of these nutrients throughout the day, especially if they choose to enjoy a Tombstone Pizza as part of their diet.
  • Nutrition Labels: Understanding and reading nutrition labels can guide consumers to make more informed choices, ensuring they do not exceed their daily recommended limits for saturated fat and sodium.

Moreover, for those with existing health concerns or a family history of heart disease, it’s essential to monitor and possibly limit the consumption of foods high in saturated fats and sodium, as corroborated by studies like those published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Moderation is key, and Tombstone Pizza should likely be an occasional treat rather than a staple if you need to manage your intake of these nutrients.

It's crucial to also think about the broader dietary pattern. The occasional indulgence in high-saturated fat or high-sodium foods like Tombstone Pizza is less concerning within the context of an overall healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. For those mindful of their saturated fat and sodium intake, looking for lighter versions or opting for a homemade pizza with controlled ingredient portions could be healthier alternatives.

In summary, while Tombstone Pizza can fit into a varied and balanced diet, it's important to be aware of its high saturated fat and sodium content, which can contribute to serious health issues if consumed frequently or in large quantities.

Additives and Preservatives in Frozen Pizza

When considering the health effects of frozen pizza, it's crucial to look beyond the basic macronutrients and consider the various additives and preservatives that often make their way into these convenient meals. Additives and preservatives in frozen pizza can vary from brand to brand, but there are a few common ones that tend to show up regularly on ingredient labels.

First, let's break down why these substances are included in frozen pizzas. The primary reasons are to extend shelf life, enhance flavor, and maintain the desired texture of the pizza during freezing and reheating. While these objectives are practical from a manufacturing standpoint, they can introduce elements into our diet that may not align with optimal health.

  • Preservatives: Common preservatives found in frozen pizza include sodium benzoate, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). These chemicals help prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which could spoil the pizza. However, some studies suggest potential links between these preservatives and health issues such as hyperactivity in children and cancer. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition expressed concerns about BHA and BHT's carcinogenic potentials.
  • Artificial colors and flavors: To maintain an appetizing appearance and taste, some frozen pizzas might contain artificial colorings and flavorings. Although these are approved for use by the FDA, there is ongoing debate about their safety and whether they contribute to health problems like allergies and hyperactivity, especially in children.
  • Emulsifiers and stabilizers: Substances like soy lecithin and gums (xanthan gum, guar gum) are used to keep ingredients from separating and maintain texture. While generally recognized as safe, these additives can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in sensitive individuals.
  • Sodium-rich compounds: Various forms of sodium are present as preservatives and flavor enhancers in frozen pizza. For instance, sodium nitrate, which is used to preserve the color of meats, may interact with other components in the body, potentially leading to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines, according to research noted in the International Journal of Cancer.
  • Texturizers: Phosphates are sometimes added to frozen pizzas as texturizing agents to improve the bite and feel of the dough and processed meats. While phosphates are necessary for our bodies, excessive intake can contribute to kidney issues and cardiovascular disease, as noted in a research article from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It's important for consumers to become label-savvy and recognize these additives and preservatives. Always look at the ingredient list on the packaging of your frozen pizza to assess what you’re putting into your body. For those with particular sensitivities or dietary restrictions, knowing these additives can help prevent adverse reactions and support better health.

While occasional consumption of these additives in small quantities may be considered safe by regulatory agencies, the additive load from cumulative, frequent consumption of processed foods, including frozen pizza, could have long-term health implications. Thus, moderation is key, and as always, a diet based on whole and minimally processed foods is recommended for optimal health.

Glycemic Index of Highly Processed Pizza Crusts

When considering the health implications of Tombstone Pizza, or any frozen pizza for that matter, it's crucial to examine the glycemic index (GI) of the crust. The glycemic index measures how quickly and how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels. Foods with a higher GI can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. In contrast, foods with a lower GI are generally considered better for blood sugar control and overall health.

The crust of Tombstone Pizza is made from highly refined flour, and unlike whole grains, refined grains have had the fiber-containing parts removed. Fiber slows down digestion, and its absence results in a product with a higher glycemic index. Additionally, highly processed pizza crusts often contain added sugars and preservatives, both of which can influence the glycemic response in the body.

Here is a brief breakdown of the components in highly processed pizza crusts that contribute to its GI:

  • Refined Flour: Typically, highly processed pizzas use refined wheat flour, which has a higher GI than whole wheat flour.
  • Sugar: Sugar is sometimes added for taste and to help the dough rise, which can add to the carbohydrate load and increase the GI.
  • Yeast: Yeast can cause the bread to rise and create a lighter texture but also contributes to faster assimilation of carbohydrates.

Studies have shown that consuming high-GI foods regularly can be linked to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an association between high GI diets and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women.

It's also worth noting that the overall nutritional quality of a meal affects its glycemic index. For instance, pairing a high-GI food, like a slice of Tombstone Pizza, with lower GI foods (such as a salad rich in fiber) can help moderate blood glucose responses. Furthermore, the ripeness of ingredients, food combinations, and preparation methods can all alter the final GI of the meal.

The metabolic impact of regularly consuming highly processed pizza crust does not support optimal health, given these crusts are often high-GI foods. Consequently, moderate consumption along with healthier food pairings can help mitigate adverse blood sugar effects.

However, as with all dietary advice, it's essential to customize recommendations to individual needs. Individuals with diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance should pay particular attention to the glycemic index of foods and may need to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized nutritional guidance.

Portion Control and Its Role in a Balanced Diet

Understanding portion control is vital when determining the place of products like Tombstone Pizza in a well-rounded diet. It's easy to overindulge, especially with convenient and appetizing options. However, the secret to including such items in your diet without negative health consequences often lies in how much you consume.

Firstly, let's define what a single portion looks like for Tombstone Pizza. According to the USDA, one serving of frozen pizza for adults is typically about one-quarter of a medium pizza, or one or two slices. Comparing this to a Tombstone Pizza, which may have different serving sizes based on the variety, it's important to read the nutritional information label to determine what constitutes a single serving.

Let's dive into the benefits of portion control for overall health:

  • Maintain Healthy Weight: By consuming only the recommended serving size, you're more likely to stay within your daily calorie needs, which helps in managing weight.
  • Better Nutritional Balance: Portion control allows for a more balanced intake of nutrients, especially when a Tombstone Pizza is part of a meal that includes a side of vegetables or a salad.
  • Reduce Risk of Overeating: When portions are measured, the risk of overconsuming fat, sodium, and calories, commonly high in frozen pizzas, is minimized.

However, sticking to a single serving can be challenging. Here are some practical tips for practicing portion control with Tombstone Pizza:

  • Measure Servings: Instead of eyeballing, use the nutritional label to determine the exact size of one serving. Cut the pizza accordingly before you start eating.
  • Supplement with Vegetables: Serve a slice with a side of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods such as a green salad or steamed veggies to help fill you up with fewer calories.
  • Eat Mindfully: Slow down and savor each bite, which can help you recognize when you're full and decrease the chance of eating past a single portion.
  • Store Leftovers Promptly: To avoid the temptation of grabbing an extra slice, store away leftovers as soon as everyone has their portion.

It's also crucial to consider how Tombstone Pizza fits into your daily nutrient allocation. For the average adult, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans propose consuming less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats and added sugars, and less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium. One serving of Tombstone Pizza can take up a significant portion of these daily limits, which underscores the importance of portion control in maintaining a balanced diet.

In summary, while Tombstone Pizza can find a place in a balanced diet, moderation is key. Practicing portion control with this and other convenience foods is a useful strategy for promoting overall health and preventing dietary excesses. It's always a good idea to complement these portions with healthier food choices to ensure dietary balance.

Healthier Pizza Alternatives to Consider

When satisfying those pizza cravings, it's beneficial to consider healthier alternatives that offer similar flavors with a fraction of the negative health impacts. Here's a curated list of options that keep nutrition in mind:

  • Homemade Whole Wheat Pizzas: Making your own pizza gives you total control over the ingredients. Use a whole wheat or cauliflower crust as a fiber-rich base, which can help maintain a healthy digestive system and keep you feeling full longer. Top it with a homemade tomato sauce, rich in vitamins A and C, and add a variety of vegetables for added nutrients without the extra calories.
  • Grilled Vegetable Flatbreads: Switching to a thinner flatbread base can reduce the overall carbohydrate and calorie content. Grilling an assortment of vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and onions enhances their natural sweetness and adds texture, creating a satisfying and low-calorie meal.
  • Pita Pizzas with Greek Yogurt Sauce: Substitute traditional pizza dough with whole-wheat pita for a quick and easy base. Spread a sauce made from Greek yogurt flavored with herbs and garlic for a protein-packed alternative to cheese. Top with your favorite vegetables, and perhaps small amounts of feta cheese for a Mediterranean twist.
  • Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizzas: For a gluten-free and low-carb approach, try using Portobello mushroom caps as a pizza base. They're low in calories, rich in B vitamins, and can be stuffed with tomato sauce, reduced-fat cheese, and fresh veggies or lean meats.
  • Chicken Breast Mini Pizzas: For a high-protein alternative, use thinly pounded chicken breasts as the crust. Add tomato sauce, a light sprinkling of cheese, and vegetable toppings before baking. This inventive twist keeps the carbs low and the protein high, which can be beneficial for muscle repair and satiety.

Remember, moderation is key. These alternatives can still be part of a balanced diet when consumed mindfully and in appropriate serving sizes. For those interested in nutritional specifics, a dietitian or nutritionist can provide personalized advice and guidance.

While these suggestions may help those looking to reduce their consumption of highly processed pizzas like Tombstone, it's always important to enjoy a variety of foods in your diet and to make choices that align with your individual health goals and preferences.

Be mindful that, although healthier, these alternative options aren’t an everyday dietary solution and should still be balanced with other nourishing food choices. To enhance the dietary benefits further, consider pairing your pizza with a fresh salad to incorporate more fiber, vitamins, and minerals into your meal.

Lastly, selecting the right portion sizes and being conscious of cheese and topping choices will significantly impact the overall healthiness of your pizza. Opt for reduced-fat cheeses, lean proteins, and load up on colorful vegetables for a well-rounded, nutritious meal that satisfies your pizza cravings the healthier way.

Frequently asked questions

Regular consumption of Tombstone Pizza in the absence of a diverse and balanced diet has the potential to contribute to deficiencies in essential nutrients, as frozen pizzas generally lack a significant amount of key vitamins and minerals found in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It's important to incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods in your diet to meet your nutritional needs.

Individuals with diabetes should be cautious with foods like Tombstone Pizza that have high glycemic indices due to their refined flour and added sugars, as these can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. If included in the diet, it should be in moderation, paired with lower glycemic index foods, and considered as part of the individual's overall carbohydrate management plan.

To identify unhealthy preservatives or additives in Tombstone Pizza, carefully read the ingredient list on the packaging. Look out for items such as sodium benzoate, BHA/BHT, artificial colors or flavors, emulsifiers like soy lecithin and gums, sodium-rich compounds, and texturizers like phosphates. Being informed can help you make better choices and avoid certain additives if necessary.

To reduce the saturated fat and sodium content of a Tombstone Pizza, opt for a variety with less cheese and processed meats, which are the primary sources of these nutrients. Additionally, you can add fresh vegetables as toppings to increase the nutritional value, and limit how much of the pizza you consume by complementing it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a more balanced meal.

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

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased calorie intake
  • gastrointestinal discomfort
  • potential for raised blood sugar levels
  • possible sodium-induced hypertension

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • heart disease risk
  • high blood pressure
  • increased ldl cholesterol
  • risk of diabetes
  • potential for carcinogenic effects

Ingredients to be aware of

  • saturated fats
  • sodium
  • refined flour
  • sugar
  • preservatives like bha, bht, sodium benzoate
  • artificial colors and flavors
  • emulsifiers like soy lecithin
  • sodium nitrate
  • phosphates


  • source of protein
  • may contain certain vitamins and minerals

Healthier alternatives

  • homemade pizzas with whole wheat crust
  • grilled vegetable flatbreads
  • pita pizzas with greek yogurt sauce
  • portobello mushroom cap pizzas
  • chicken breast mini pizzas

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Amy's Frozen Cheese Pizza

  • Organic ingredients
  • Convenient frozen meal
  • Real cheese topping
  • Non-GMO
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-04-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 07-04-2024

Random Page

Check These Out!