Pizza can be a high-fat item if it’s loaded with cheese and meat. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that a typical slice of pizza with pepperoni or sausage has about the same amount of salt and calories as a large burger or a breakfast egg sandwich. Three slices of the most popular pizza at Pizza Hut – the Pan Pepperoni Pizza – clocks in at 690 calories, 1,620 milligrams of sodium and 33 grams of fat.
“More cheese on your pizza means more crust in your arteries,” said CSPI nutritionist Jayne Hurley. CSPI, the group that warned us about the fat in movie popcorn, also isn’t fond of stuffed crusts. “You need cheese stuffed into a pizza crust like you need reverse liposuction to force more fat under your skin,” the center warned in its newsletter. So nutritionists probably won’t be any happier about Papa Murphy’s new Deeper Dish Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza, which boasts more cheese and toppings than regular pizzas.
Pizzas that rated the group’s approval include Hand Tossed Veggie Lover’s pizza from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s Original Crust Garden Special and California Pizza Kitchen’s Tricolore Salad Pizza. Some tips from CSPI and the American Institute for Cancer Research for putting your pizza on a diet:
- Pick healthy toppings. Veggies are best. Second best is chicken or ham. Pepperoni has less fat than sausage or beef.
- Order your pizza with half the usual amount of cheese – or no cheese at all.
- Order a side salad so you can cut down on the amount of pizza you eat and have a healthier meal.
- Shirk the side orders. Other than salads, side items like cheese bread and buffalo wings do more damage.
- If you’re making a pizza at home, sprinkle on part-skim mozzarella or another low-fat cheese.
- Make a Mexican pizza with beans, salsa, low-fat cheese and chopped oregano or cilantro.