It appears that pizza is helping to fuel rates of obesity and heart disease in America.
According to the Washington, DC-based Center for Science and the Public Interest (CSPI), just two slices of plain cheese pizza can pack enough calories, fat and sodium to last an entire day. Add toppings such as pepperoni or meat and you might as well get reverse liposuction, says the report.
The report, based on an independent analysis of pizza bought from 36 big and small pizzerias in three American cities, found pizzas that combine multi-meat toppings with a stuffed crust, or pack cheese into the crust, contain the most calories, fat and sodium. Two slices of Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust Cheese pizza contain nearly 900 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and more than 2,000 milligrams of sodium.
Two slices of The Big New Yorker Sausage Pizza at Pizza Hut contain more than 1,100 calories, 3,200 mg of sodium and 66 grams of fat--28 of which are saturated, the study found. At Domino's, a similar serving of beef pizza contains from 11 to 18 grams of saturated fat.
Side orders such as bread sticks, Buffalo wings and cheese bread only make matters worse. Each piece of Double Cheesy Bread from Domino's contains 140 calories and two grams of saturated fat.
Rather than going cold turkey, pizza lovers should skimp on the cheese and load their pie with vegetable toppings. While menus may not inform consumers that they can request less cheese, most outlets are happy to oblige since it is less expensive.
Some restaurants even offer cheese-less pizzas. At California Pizza Kitchen, consumers can feast on a "salad pizza" in which arugula, radicchio, red-leaf lettuce, diced tomatoes and shaved Parmesan replace the traditional melted mozzarella.
For meat lovers, chicken and ham are lower in calories and fat than pepperoni, sausage, pork and beef. And ordering a salad can help diners cut down on the number of pizza slices they consume.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.