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Pizza is bad for you?

I was just informed by a co-worker that Pizza is bad for you. I asked them if they ate cheese? Yes? Bread? Yes. Tomotoes? Yes. Meat? Yes? But that's what's in a pizza I said. Yes but pizza has grease. Sometimes peoples concept of what's good and bad is...interesting.

jb

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  1. Bread = refined carbs. Cheese + processed meat (as in sausages) = high fat and sodium. What's good? Vegetables (I'm including tomatoes) and olive oil. A decent pizza will never be a health food, and (conversely) no attempt at a "healthy" pizza will ever be truly worth eating, at least on my plate. Now, unless you're diabetic or have other dietary issues, you can safely and happily eat any of those ingredients by themselves; the danger with pizza is that there's so much of all that stuff sitting in front of you in one big platter of goodies, and you'll probably overdo it. But if (for instance) you got a little individual pizza, or maybe buy a slice, and have some salad or something with it, there's no reason a healthy person couldn't make an occasional lunch out of that. But a steady diet of nothing else would probably be lethal for anyone over 18 …

    23 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      So as long as you eat in moderation it's ok? Doesn't that apply to everything? How good or bad the sausage is depends on who made it. Just being sausage and in the "Processed" food category doesn't make it bad for you. If I eat 3000 calories of salad it's still gonna make me fat.

      jb

      1. re: JuniorBalloon

        If you eat 3000 calories of salad you're going to be very busy for an awfully long time, as long as it's GREEN salad. I don't know exactly the calorie count of a green salad with a properly light application of a vinaigrette, but I'm thinking that just the effort of forking it in and chewing it should almost balance that out …

        Any good sausage is going to have a high percentage of saturated fat, and will have a similarly high amount of sodium as well. Good crumbled Italian sausage will have less, pepperoni and salami will have much more. Relatively small amounts of these can be eaten by a normally healthy person, but most pizzas do not have small amounts. It's not uncommon to have pizza offered to me at various club meetings, and I try to confine myself to maybe three slices (plus a lot of salad!), but even just that much is probably excessive for a man of my age and physique …

        1. re: JuniorBalloon

          Calories are not the only thing to consider. Sure 3000 calories is 3000 calories, but the nutrition content can't be ignored. 3000 calories of salad has a lot more things in it that your body needs than 3000 calories of sausage.

          1. re: Rick

            Salad, if we're talking lettuce such as green or iceberg, has about as much nutritional value as a wet handkerchief.

            1. re: linguafood

              I don't think of salad as simply one big pile of lettuce. Throw in some spinach, shredded carrot, sliced radish, onion, etc. But hey to each his own, if you think sausage is more healthy than salad, by all means load up on sausage before dinner.

              1. re: linguafood

                This is not true--Romaine, for instance, has decent nutritional value.

                1. re: loraxc

                  Well, you'd have to eat a boatload of romaine, and who does that?

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Yeah, lettuce is pretty big relative to the calories in it. I once had this diet pill idea. You would take a pill, but it wouldn't be psychoactive or hormonal or anything like that.

                    The pill would puff up into a giraffe or helicopter, like those children's toys- the little pill you put in your bath water and they transform. Anyone that ate that, would feel overwhelmingly full.

                    I started thinking about the rest of the digestion process. I realized it might not work. It might create some lawsuits and thoroughly confuse some janitors.

                    1. re: Altarbo

                      ... it's called popcorn.
                      Like it or not, the volumetric idea WORKs. Likewise the "eat some fat/protein" WORKs... just slower.

              2. re: Rick

                ... and a lot of oxalic acid, which is not good for you, as well. The iron absorption from sausage is higher than that from spinach, I believe.

                1. re: Rick

                  Not to mention the fact that the body responds differently to different types of foods. Carbohydrates, for example, trigger the secretion of insulin, which in turn increases the rate at which the body processes food into fat. There's plenty of active debate on exactly whether excess carb consumption in and of itself contributes to obesity, but it's undeniable that the old saw of "a calorie is a calorie" is false.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Re carbohydrates, one of the most sobering statistics I have ever heard was that in an
                    Australian study of women newly diagnosed with Diabetes 2, 80% identified white potatoes as their favorite food.

                    1. re: Querencia

                      Precisely my point all along. !
                      Thanks for posting this Querencia

                    2. re: BobB

                      just heard an interesting talk on topical currents (npr)...

                      http://www.wlrn.org/radio/programs/to...

                      Nancy Appleton discusses different ways in which your body uses sugar. Says that fructose is what you want to avoid because it's processed in the liver (not the way nature intended) as opposed to glucose which processes in the pancreas; I'm not a nutritionist and I know our thread is about pizza being bad for you? but you brought up this point which I remembered as I listened to the program. The science (if you believe it) is not showing us that we should be counting calories. As you implied- it's way more complex than that.

                      1. re: crowmuncher

                        Thanks Crow, and you are indeed quite right. Thanks so much for the link, very much appreciated. Finally someone who answered the question ~ smiles.

                        1. re: crowmuncher

                          this is robert lustig's point in his highly talked about lecture that went viral on youtube

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniu...

                          1. re: crowmuncher

                            Thanks for posting this - scary sweet stuff!

                      2. re: JuniorBalloon

                        Lol. If you want to lose weight, just go on the pepper diet.

                        You can eat as much as want. You just shower everything in chopped chile and cayenne peppers first.

                        ;)

                        1. re: Altarbo

                          That wouldn't work for me - I'd just eat more!

                      3. re: Will Owen

                        I think a traditional margherita style pizza, that's not swimming in mozzarella or topped with greasy meats is a lot healthier for you than your usual fast food pizza.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          ... a steady diet of my homemade pizza would have me lose weight. I go easy on the cheese, put carrots in the sauce, and top it with basil and garlic when I have the chance. Plus, there's the whole kneading your own dough kick. It's one of the few vegetarian meals that I can get anyone to eat. (not vegetarian, myself, mind).

                        2. Good pizza is very high in calories. Nobody ever eats just one slice.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: twyst

                            I do all the time. I'm 5ft 10 and 130 LBS.

                            1. re: ryback

                              I can never just eat one slice of good pizza. I'm 5ft10, formerly 130 lbs, and JEALOUS of your self restraint :-).

                              1. re: grayelf

                                I'm a little under 5ft10, and once was 130 lbs. Then I hit high school.

                            2. re: twyst

                              I see. It's actually bad for you because it's so tasty we can't stop eating it? That sounds more like self control not that the ingredients themselves are bad. Don't get me wrong I've over indulged in lots of different foods, but I don't think it's fair to confuse eating too much with a food being bad for you.

                              jb

                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                It has to do with the volume of food you ingest vs the calories ingested. One could argue that ice cream drowned in chocolate sauce and lard isnt bad for you by using the same argument you are using. Its all about caloric density and satiating your appetite. You can have a tiny slice of deep dish pizza for dinner, or a grilled chicken breast with fresh green beans and carrots for the same amount of calories. One is going to leave you full and unlikely to find something else to eat while the other will leave you still hungry.

                                1. re: twyst

                                  Yes, but that would be such a waste of good lard.

                                  It sounds like the only things that are good for you are things that can be eaten in large quantities and still have no deleterious effects. I don't think anything falls into that category. I understand that some foods are higher in calories than others, but that doens't make them intrinsically unhealthy.

                                  jb

                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                    twyst likes the volumetric diet thing. I dig it. But it bothers the living shit out of me that nobody every brings up popcorn when they talk volumetric. Because popcorn? That's cheap food. Chicken breast et al is expensive.

                            3. So by your assumptions white bread, cheese, sausage, pepperoni, etc., are healthy? Interesting.

                              1. This is one of those threads that is bound to generate dissension. "Bad" is such a relative term that anyone can find a comparison against which it either looks healthy or unhealthy. Eat a balanced diet, don't overindulge, and no need to overthink a slice.

                                1. Once upon a time, O.K. sometime a year ago, a medical guru commented on the fact that if we all ate like diabetics are supposed to eat, which means very low carbs, we would be far far healthier. Then he asked what all the 90 year old's playing bingo at the church hall had in common, and the answer was they hardly had sugar and refined carbs throughout their lives (he based it on some study) All this too say that pizza (which I stay away from) is nothing but all this flour, a.k.a carbs, topped with greasy stuff. As for the vegetables on it, there are so few on the pizza, it's hardly worth it. For optimal health, we need about 200 grams (sorry I don't know what that is in ounces) of veggies twice a day and if you loaded that much on a pizza slice it would tip over. So yes, it is not a great choice for health, but it certainly is appetizing and delicious for many...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Pixie Muse

                                    200 grams is 7 ounces.

                                    Agreed with others, bad is relative, moderation is key. There is also a BIG difference between typical American chain pizza made with tons of low quality cheese and fatty meats, and the minimalist Neapolitan style pizza - currently extremely popular in Seattle - where a whole pie is probably 4 ounces of dough with minimal high quality toppings, probably only 2 or 3 ounces of cheese each.

                                    1. re: Pixie Muse

                                      If the wages of eating a healthy diet is "playing bingo at the church hall" then please pass me the butter and cheese!

                                      1. re: Peg

                                        Amen to that. Plus a martini and a cigarette.

                                    2. OMG, just eat the friggin' pizza and don't worry about it. I am getting SO sick of "is this healthy?" "How can I make (blank) healthier?" Do you honestly think that hundreds of tests were done and the conclusion was "okay, the EXACT number of grams of vegetables one needs for optimum health is 200"? Please. Everything on the food pyramid/MyPlate/whatever is arbitrary. Throw down a slice or two once in a while. Remember--eat healthy, exercise, die anyway.

                                      56 Replies
                                      1. re: MandalayVA

                                        Truer words were ever spoken. Way to go MandalayVA!

                                        1. re: MandalayVA

                                          How sweet it is to be loved by.... Sorry, got carried away. How sweet it is to observe pizza chanters uniting in an attempt to overthrow nutritional facts. Never a dull moment.

                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                            Hear....... Remember these same health prophets tried for the last fifty years to convince us
                                            that margarine was the heart healthy choice.

                                            1. re: paul balbin

                                              Yes, but nobody has ever attempted to convince us that that sugar is a healthy choice. That is because it isn't ! ....along with all it's byproducts, including the bready starchy yucky stuff that forms pizza's bottom coat. As for the stuff that goes over it, fat fat and more fat, unless you make it at home like many are suggesting here, and add high quality ingredients. But at the end of the day, who makes their own pizza? The minority do. The rest buy the ready-made heart clogging type.

                                              1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                What's wrong with fat? It's a necessary nutrient and about a quarter or so of your diet should have the stuff to absorb nutrients, help with satiety and because it's essential.

                                                I love pizza and it's not unusual for me to down an entire pie. I actually measure how much I can over-consume with pizza pies. For example, I have eaten 2 extra large (2 toppings) pies, 3 small pies and 4 personal sized pies, each in single sittings.

                                                I'm underweight. This year, I've had 1 day where I missed a workout. So, for those that yell and scream about how unhealthy ANYTHING is, my response is, "How often and at what intensity do you work out?" It's funny, because I never have these types of discussions in real life, when we can view each others' physiques, diets and lifestyles. That is, when a person sees a fit person in exercise clothing downing massive amounts of pizza, it's fairly obvious what's going on.

                                                1. re: ediblover

                                                  points raised on nutrition, fat etc, have nothing to do with weight, and body size, or on being under/over weigh or on how many times you work out. The thread is on pizza and the nutritional value of most pizza's out there. It's always interesting how people associate nutritional values with waist size. I wish it was that easy.

                                                  1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                    But, it is. They're all tied together. The more your burn, the more you eat. 1,000 kilocalories for a single meal means one thing to a person on a 2k cal diet and another to a person on a 5k cal diet. Automatically claiming that pizza is bad for you is just plain naive/stupid.

                                                    Take a horrible offender: The Domino's Wisconsin (way more cheese than a slice should have and something I wouldn't eat) pizza. A large slice has:
                                                    340 calories
                                                    15g protein
                                                    140 calories from fat, making up 41% of calories
                                                    About 30% RDA of sodium, 15% RDA vitamin A, 10% C, 25% calcium and 10% iron.

                                                    What the heck is so unhealthy about that? Nothing. And, again, this is from a heavy offender that is a Wisconsin-style (Way, way, way too much cheese) slice. 340 calories for a serving of food? It has carbs, protein, fat and micros? Yeah. That's close to textbook of what IS healthy.

                                                    1. re: ediblover

                                                      Actually weight is tied to calories, not to the nutritional value of food. :) So, yes I do agree with you that ultimately caloric intake affects weight. I think we"ve known this for years now. right?

                                                      But ! Weight is not tied to the nutritional value of foods. I don't agree. I work in the medical field and have come a across so many "thin" people that work out and all, but eat poorly and are ill for whatever reason. Some have cholesterol levels far higher than the ones that weigh, say 20-30 pounds more than their desired weight. We saw people that are not as thin, but eat so well, and strive on home-made, low fat foods that promote good health.

                                                      All we're trying to focus on with this thread, is whether or not pizza (and obviously not the yummy one many make at home, but rather the one in typical restaurants) is good for you, or not. If you feel Domino's is OK, and there is nothing wrong with it I will wish you as the French would say "Bon appetit"

                                                      1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                        Uh... It has nothing to do with what I feel, but what the numbers/facts say. A serving of pizza is usually going to be under 300 calories. 300 calories for an entree that offers a balance of macros and some micros is, again, a healthy food item.

                                                        All I see from the haters is... Just hate.

                                                        It's funny. I'd wager that if this was purely a test of the numbers, that is, just list the nutritional value of various foods without saying what it is, pizza would easily qualify as being healthy. But, since it's pizza, it must be bad!

                                                        Here's another offender that isn't so bad, a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut:
                                                        590 calories
                                                        24g fat
                                                        26g protein

                                                        Here's one that's even more fun, a slice of "Fit n' Delicious" from Pizza Hut:
                                                        180 calories
                                                        4.5g fat
                                                        11g protein

                                                        That was from the worst of the bunch. The lighter ones come in at 150 calories. So, there you have it. Now, let's hear your argument that those are UNHEALTHY NUMBERS. You don't have one.

                                                        1. re: ediblover

                                                          I'm sorry, but 24g of fat in a type of food is very high for a serving of any type of food. This would be saturated fat in pizza and the average person should eat no more than 30g of fat A DAY, 20g for woman. So to have this amount of fat in one go is not good.

                                                          And this isn't about 'hating', it's about giving you the facts to make informed choices about food. It's not all about putting on weight either, it also is about the other health issues that come with having too much fat in your diet, like heart disease, diabetes etc.

                                                          THAT is my argument for your numbers.

                                                          1. re: pj26

                                                            I like how you focused purely on the number I purposely picked out as a "bad" option and then distorted it. It's purely clear that it's "24g fat." Not, "24g saturated fat." But, since you brought it up (distort in order to make a point), I will mention that the personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut has 10g of saturated fat. A third of the RDA of something for what amounts to an entire meal? That sounds pretty reasonable to me. And, not that you want to know this, but that "Fit n' Delicious" slice has 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

                                                            So, please continue to lie and distort numbers in order to "give us the facts to make informed choices about food."

                                                            1. re: pj26

                                                              Don't bother PJ, let him have his pizza :)
                                                              Moving on to another thread:)

                                                              1. re: pj26

                                                                You are aware of a causal link between saturated fat and diabetes? I think it would be very helpful for us all if you would be kind enough to share such information.

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    There is much research on carbs and diabetes of course... as for saturated fat and vs. the illness, have a look at this video, it is quite informative (if you have 20 mins or so spare).. I will post it in the next reply. In the end, saturated fat is deadly whether it leads to diabetes or not, cause it will have a way to get you one way or another:)

                                                                    1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                      The video does not work. What I am ideally looking for are published, peer-reviewed articles establishing a causal link between saturated fat and diabetes.

                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                        I would be interested to see these articles too, if they are out there. I'm not being snarky, if they/a causal link between sat. fat. and diabetes exist/s I was genuinely unaware that it did.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                          Sorry to hear it does not work, I watched it last week and loved it. It was posted by someone who replied to this thread (you would have to scroll and find his reply) .... I could not find anyone here making reference to saturated fats and diabetes, but I guess you can always look that up and fill us in. However common knowledge is that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels...high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease and limiting their saturated fat can help lower their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. And that is how fat affects diabetics, it increases their risk of another illness.

                                                                          1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                            Respectfully, that is not a causal link between fat intake and diabetes.

                                                                            Anyone following this thread might want to check out this article in the NYT - very well written and not taking a hardline orthodox stance on anything, looks at the latest research, references the Youtube video etc. Really interesting...

                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/mag...

                                                                            1. re: montrealeater

                                                                              Thanks Montrealer, much appreciated. I read it and it is interesting.

                                                                              If there is one thing I know, is that my body does not lie, to me that is :) I will keep avoiding sugar when I can, because I feel so much better (almost like another person) when I don't eat it. For some it makes no difference I guess...and for others, it simply makes us feel unwell. And so, no sugar for me, except for a little birthday cake once a year. I love baking though, mostly for the decorating part, and keep giving all my sweets away:)

                                                                            2. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                              As you can see, my inquiry was in response to pj26, who wrote: "it also is about the other health issues that come with having too much fat in your diet, like heart disease, diabetes etc." I suppose I appreciate your zeal in trying to explain why "fat is bad," but it really doesn't provide any information. "Common knowledge," old assumptions based upon correlations, and conclusory statements fail to do so as well. It's ok that you don't know the answer - I wouldn't expect you to. My own research has failed to disclose anything supporting causation. I will, however, leave open the inquiry as I do not have the time to read through every journal or study abstract and perhaps someone else will see something relevant.

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                I understand your point MGZ, and as you pointed out we are not the experts, and nor have we claimed to be. That said, our "guts" speak to us as humans, and if we remain tuned in and listen, they tell us clearly that fat and sugar are not exactly friendly: ) Same goes for crossing a busy street I guess. If it makes you sweaty and nervous, why look up the odds written by experts that say "hey, that will kill you" Why would you need an expert to tell you that crossing is bad, if it makes you feel bad doing it?

                                                                                Relying on experts has it's merits of course, there is no denying that, but replying SOLELY on them may not be the only way to go, at least not for me. Intuition is key and that comes from listening to your "gut" that will always tell you which foods, be it fatty or be it sweet ones, are not quite for you.

                                                                                Remember when they told us margarine was good? In the absence of information, follow your wisdom, it never steers you wrong!

                                                                                1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                  Actually, my fundamental point was really that I am an intellegent, very well-educated man who reads published professional materials critically and forms conclusions therefrom. I do not believe in "pop" nutrition or "pop" nutritional advice. I also think that while intuition may sometimes be instructive, it is a dangerous substitute for all a posteriori knowledge. To continue with your example, humans intuitively, or perhaps we should say instinctively, desire fats and sugars as they are essential to the survival of the individual and the race.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    It has been proven time and time again, that being overweight can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Saturated fats can contribute to weight gain.

                                                                                    1. re: pj26

                                                                                      Through out this thread people have confused or rather linked over eating with the food people over eat and then claim that food is unhealthy. Fats and sugars, unless over refined or otherwise adulterated are not bad for you if consumed prudently. That was the original idea behind this thread.

                                                                                      jb

                                                                                      1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                        pj26 - ANYTHING can contribute to weight gain if you eat too much of it!

                                                                                        Pixiemuse - I take your point - it makes sense that if eating X makes you feel crappy, avoiding X is a good idea. A friend can't eat ice-cream without spending the next 3 hours in the bathroom, so she doesn't eat ice-cream anymore. But it is a HUGE leap to go from that to a wider "ice cream is bad for people" statement. I've never actually felt any immediate ill effects from a carb OR a fat pigout (or, hey, both at the same time) - does that mean that listening to my gut means I should/can eat lots of carbs and fats whenever I want? Probably not. :)

                                                                                        I found a couple more articles, these both touch more on fat vs sugar as the devil vs just 'sugar is the devil'. The first one if from this year and the second one is from 2002 (!).

                                                                                        http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-c...

                                                                                        from the article: "Fat is not the problem," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health."

                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/mag...

                                                                                        from the article: "If the members of the American medical establishment were to have a collective find-yourself-standing-naked-in-Times-Square-type nightmare, this might be it. They spend 30 years ridiculing Robert Atkins, author of the phenomenally-best-selling ''Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution'' and ''Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution,'' accusing the Manhattan doctor of quackery and fraud, only to discover that the unrepentant Atkins was right all along. Or maybe it's this: they find that their very own dietary recommendations -- eat less fat and more carbohydrates -- are the cause of the rampaging epidemic of obesity in America. Or, just possibly this: they find out both of the above are true."

                                                                                        For the record, I am not linking to these articles as 'proof' of any sort, but they do contain a lot of information that runs contrary to what many believe about fats in the diet and both appear to be written by people without an interest in the conclusions.

                                                                                        I just ate a bagel for lunch. Oh dear. :D

                                                                                        1. re: montrealeater

                                                                                          lol @ I ate a bagel for lunch. Funny Montrealer, because I had a burger bun as I was invited to a BBQ. Please don't tell anyone :)

                                                                                          1. re: montrealeater

                                                                                            Montrealer, when you say the following in your thread "I have never actually felt any immediate ill effects from a carb OR a fat pigout (or, hey, both at the same time) - does that mean that listening to my gut means I should/can eat lots of carbs and fats whenever I want? Probably not. :) " ........................ You have just proven that you do listen to intuition, as instinct, gut, intuition is just that! It's that gnawing feeling that speaks to us and suggests what to do.

                                                                                            Your friend has a bowel movement that speaks to her intuition when she eats ice cream. It says "lay off" Yours comes from your knowing that too much fat and sugar won't do you justice. Whether it was proven or not, published or not, you won"t do it.

                                                                                            Voila !

                                                                                            1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                              I don't think that, for me, the decision not to pig out on fat and carbs constantly comes from 'intuition'. It mostly comes from knowing that eating too much makes you fat, and I'd like to avoid that. It's a knowledge-based decision.

                                                                                              It seems like we've established something in this thread and it isn't "pizza is bad for you" - it's something more specific, something more like "pizza is bad for you if you have too much of it and are not underweight or starving or an athlete" which yes, of course, then leads to "how much is too much". I still think the statement "pizza is bad for you" is too broad to support.

                                                                                              Also, I don't want to go completely offtopic or become one of those internet posters who starts spouting logic lessons so I'll just say: yay science and hard evidence.

                                                                                              I would say, Pixie Muse, that the vast, vast majority of human beings have spouted or relied on etc. 'pop' info/knowledge at sometime or another. It's not a capital crime, but it also doesn't mean you should adjust your own beliefs based on anything they say. I will listen to others and participate in a conversation without losing site of what constitutes 'proof' - but believe me, I know that much conversation would be killed stone dead if we started asking everyone to back up their beliefs with proof. Which, you know, may not be a bad thing. ;)

                                                                                        2. re: pj26

                                                                                          Saturated fat does not only contribute to weight gain, it contributes to illness.

                                                                                        3. re: MGZ

                                                                                          I am a little confused with the mention of education and intelligence, and how that warrants wanting to gather data from published material, leaving us to understand that the rest of the people rely on what you call pop? Most bright people on here would disagree and there are many bright people on here )

                                                                                          Some reply on published material, some on their own experimentation with food ( I guess you call experimenting and listening to your body as pop) others a little of both. If you choose published material then that is great if it works or you.
                                                                                          Oh and intuition is not dangerous, it is life-saving to many that understand it, and all the education in the world won't tell you that. I am intuitive and eat very well, unlike our ancestors that devoured fat as you mention :)

                                                                                          We all know brilliant people who have read it all, and eat horribly, and less educated people, just as my grandmom, who eats so very well. I guess "pop" is good for some!

                                                                                          I am not sure why you would ask people on here who are not experts for links on published data..

                                                                                          1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                            I'm going to have to step back on this one, it's doing my head in!
                                                                                            There are clearly people who don't want to know or accept the facts. Refined sugar and saturated fat have associated risks whether you like it or not.

                                                                                            I eat pizza - I love it in fact, but there is no way I would eat it every day as part of a healthy diet. Like wise I would not just eat lettuce every day, as that is also not part of a healthy well rounded diet. It's about knowing the facts and the risk and making decisions.

                                                                                            No one is saying 'don't eat pizza'. But to make statements like 'pizza is good for you' is just plain silly!

                                                                                              1. re: pj26

                                                                                                I will re-iterate, Pizza is only bad for you if you abuse it. Just like every other food. At this site http://www.pennmedicine.org/health_in... it says a 2000 calorie diet can contain as much as 65 grams of fat. It recommends that only 30% of that fat be saturated. That still leaves 20 grams of saturated fat per day. One of the worst offending pieces from Pizza hut has 24 grams (as posted earlier, I can't verify that number) of saturated fat, while that is on the high side, and I wouldn't recommend it as it's made with crap, it sitll won't kill you if eaten with a balanced diet. Here is a list of pizzas from common mfg's with their fat and saturated fat content - http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/p... , even the worst offenders come in under the 20 gram limit.

                                                                                                Now I'm not recommending any of these pizzas, but the demonization of pizza is more about how people abuse it than what is actually in a pizza. Pizza is not bad for you.

                                                                                                Deffinition of "you": An average person who does not have a weight issue or a heart condition and is not gluten, lactose or anything else intolerant.

                                                                                                YMMV

                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                  not to mention that using pizza hut as the standard you judge pizza by is like judging kobe beef using a mcdonalds burger as your exemplar

                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                    "I will re-iterate, Pizza is only bad for you if you abuse it. Just like every other food. "
                                                                                                    _____
                                                                                                    What dosage of twinkie constitutes non-abuse? I understand that they can be very good for a person who is literally starving to death. But it seems to me that many people just suffer from a stubborn refusal to accept that some foods may be better for the average American than others.

                                                                                                    In a very real sense, broccoli is better for most people than pizza which is better for most people than twinkies. Twinkies will not kill anyone in small doses; pizza will not kill anyone in moderate doses; brocolli will kill the purely hypothetical person/moron who tries to get all of their calories from it. That's all beside the point.

                                                                                                    'Bad for you' is an imprecise and relative term when we're talking about foodstuffs that don't contain significant amounts of actual toxins. What your coworker and many of the people on this thread are actually saying is that pizza as it is typically eaten in the US doesn't have a place as a regular staple of a very health-forward diet designed for the average American - not strictly due to the ingredients in a pizza but due to the ratios thereof. Whether or not you subscribe to that health-forward diet is your own business. Underweight people, highly active athletes, starving people, etc - different rules may apply and a different diet may be ideal.

                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      *nods* okay, so pizza is definitively better for you than grilled/smoked food, and everything else is codifying "how we can get people without willpower/time/stress-free existence" to be healthier.

                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                        "What your coworker and many of the people on this thread are actually saying is that pizza as it is typically eaten in the US".

                                                                                                        Are you defining "typically eaten" as overeating? My co-worker made a blanket statement that pizza is bad for you without regard to how much is eaten or what it's made of and that is not true. And while "bad for you" is an imprecise term in this case, in the context it was used, it was any amount of pizza is bad for you. And that is not true either. It struck me as odd. Statements like this are made because what we have read. Salt is bad for you. Fat is bad for you. Eggs are bad for you. This gets translated into anything with salt, fat or eggs is bad for you. I think this is something you will agree with, that some people stop thinking critically about food and make blanket assumptions based on these kinds of statements. They almost become boogie men and the value of salt, fat and eggs are lost in hype about the diseases they cause. But in almost all cases it is abuse of these foods not the foods themselves that cause problems. I can totally get behind someone saying "Pizza is bad for me because I have no self control." I have suffered from this on occasion myself :o) , but pizza, just like broccoli, when eaten reasonably is not bad for you.

                                                                                                        Any amount of twinkie consupmtion is abuse...unless it's on a pizza. :)

                                                                                                        jb

                                                                                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                          Salt, fat, and eggs are not bad for you. Sodium and fat are critical nutrients - cut them out entirely and you get sick. The issue with fat and salt (maybe eggs? but probably not) is that people overindulge. But here is a critical difference between them and pizza - pizza is typically eaten as a meal. As I said in another post, there is nothing at all unhealthy about eating a slice of most kinds of pizza along with some vegetables and lean protein as a balanced meal. Or with making a pizza that uses whole grains, doesn't go overboard with cheese, and uses an unusually large amount of vegetables on top and eating that as a balanced meal. Few people do either.

                                                                                                          So I'll grant you that pizza can be healthy when eaten with good judgement and self-control. But...

                                                                                                          "but pizza, just like broccoli, when eaten reasonably is not bad for you."
                                                                                                          _______
                                                                                                          Statements like this are why I keep arguing. It creates a false equivalency. Americans by and large need more nutrient-dense foods in their diet and fewer calorie-dense foods. The two are not just like each other. There are some very significant differences that you seem to be unwilling to admit.

                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                            to put it differently. If you are willing to stop eating when you have consumed enough calories, and be hungry for an hour, eat as much pizza as is sensible!

                                                                                                            Do note, it is hard to do, and you might be better off eating popcorn. Or hamburger-surprise

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                              Well now we can quit arguing because I am not making the statement that broccoli and pizza are the same. I was only using that phrase to point out they can both be abused.

                                                                                                              My OP wasn't about what constitutes a balanced diet. Only that pizza could be a part of it. I personally eat broccoli everday. I eat pizza a few times a year. I wasn't advocating eating more or less only that you shouldn't blindly fear pizza.

                                                                                                              jb

                                                                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                Fair enough. There's not much we explicitly disagree upon. My last caveats - while it's hypothetically possible to abuse broccoli, almost no one actually does. And pizza in the US should be considered not just as a food but as an institution of sorts.

                                                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                  Agreed. Though in college I new a woman that ate nothing but carrots for a week. She turned orange. :)

                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                    this happens to many carrotlovers. gives them a bad rep in some places. ;-)

                                                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                            Well said. Too many people have argued that pizza is healthy because it's possible to eat it without weight gain. That is not the criteria for what is "healthy." As pointed out, that would be every food and few argue that every food is healthy. I can eat Crisco w/out gaining weight but it's not healthy.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                              Very true Chowser. How interesting to observe someone's weight as the indicator for whether a particular food is good or not. Why people would not tie the possibility of carrying around a thick, juicy blob of fat in the left artery from too much pizza, is probably beacuse you can't see the blob under the size 0 pants ! (confession: Size 0 has always been my goal)

                                                                                                              You're so vain

                                                                                                              I'll bet you think this pizza is for you

                                                                                                              Don't you? Don't you?

                                                                                                              -- Wink

                                                                                                              1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                                                LOL and now I'll have that song in my head the rest of the afternoon, only the pizza variant.

                                                                                                                The goal of size 0 is more reachable if you head to stores that oversize. And, then you realize they carry 00 and 000, ouch. I know far too many people who aren't healthy but are tiny (being Asian, a good number of them are related to me). And, their eating habits are terrible.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  don't feel bad. in japan, they have different bra sizes too.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                    As long as my bra size isn't 0, I'll be just fine.

                                                                                                        2. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                                          My frustration at having the point repeatedly missed is at least mitigated by the manner in which it is being reinforced.

                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                  mgz, causality is a bitch to prove. but go to pubmed if you want research.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                    PubMed is indeed a valuable resource. I have found it helpful many times. I am similarly aware of the burdens associated with establishing causality and the weakness inherent in "post hoc" arguments. That is why I refrain from casting opinion, anecdotes, or diluted information from third parties as established conclusions.

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                      People speak with assurance, and sound like experts about a gazillion other subjects out there, without conclusive evidence supporting what they’re saying and this goes on all day long, and in different parts of the world. Please don't tell me this is a problem, or what shall I do when I listen to them? LOL

                                                                                                      In defence of my fellow chowhounders, this is an informal blog on pizza. lol, Sheesh, if we followed your suggestion, and waited on scientists to back up our opinions (which are all based on common sense) on this simple subject matter, we would all be sooooo quiet. And then what? You would had nothing to add. lol.

                                                                                                      1. re: Pixie Muse

                                                                                                        tut tut. one person is curious. soemone else throws out ten anecdotes, the third person, seeing the first person's interest, gives good reading suggestions. I think we all contribute to a fantastic discussion!

                                                                                          2. re: ediblover

                                                                                            Let's just say we are on a different page, dude

                                                                            3. I'll make some clarifications. This pizza is not made with the cheapest ingredients. It's made with some decent unbleached flour ala King Arthur's, it has sauce made from actual tomatoes with some onions and garlic pehaps a little oregano, red peppers, olives and a decent italian sausage, real mozzarella and a bit of parmiggiano. You dont eat the entire pie. You have a side ceasr salad. And for your next meal you eat something entirely different.

                                                                              Pizza is not bad for you.

                                                                              jb

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                Juniorballoon you need to caveat your statement 'pizza is not bad for you' to 'not all pizza is bad for you'. As it has been pointed out, a Pizza Hut pizza will send you over the recommended daily amounts for fat, sodium etc. The pizza you talk about doesn't sound as bad. But don't be fooled by the caeser salad on the side - the dressing in these could be worse than the pizza!

                                                                                Your theory is flawed though, if you use your rationalisation, you could also apply it to a McDonalds burger 'do you eat bread, do you eat cheese, do you eat tomato etc'.

                                                                                It needs to be all in moderation.

                                                                              2. The problem with pizza, I think, is mainly portion size and the amount of cheese.

                                                                                For example, a slice of Pizza Hut Supreme is 300 calories (14" pizza). Two slices, and nothing else, and you're hoving around the amount of food you should eat in a meal, although the fat and sodium are kind of high. A personal pan pizza, like you might have at lunch, is about 700 calories.
                                                                                Most of those calories are from refined white flour and mozarella cheese.

                                                                                So if you can limit yourself to two slices of pizza and nothing else, then a pizza meal isn't too bad. I'm a fairly light eater, and if we're going out for pizza I can easily mange three slices, some Caesar salad, and a soft drink. As others have pointed out, pizza is a nutritionally very dense food, so it's easy to eat way more calories than you need before feeling full.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                  This may come accross as snobbish. But if someone wants to eat pizza then they should eat pizza. I think that anyone eating "pizza" at Pizza Hut or other such chains has got bigger concerns than caloric intake.

                                                                                  1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                    I couldn't agree more crow. Well said :)

                                                                                2. As Americans we have skewed perceptions of what is normal and healthy and what is not. We have become a nation of largely overweight and obese people (I know there are plenty of exceptions) who think that the way we eat and live is normal.

                                                                                  Currently 64% of us are either overweight or obese! 64%! Fat is the new normal. According to the CDC, "In 2001, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more.

                                                                                  I think that's astonishing. I also think it's horrifying. I heard a woman interviewed on the radio who was defending her weight by saying that unless she topped 300 lbs, she didn't consider that particularly fat.

                                                                                  What is a considered a perfectly healthy common meal here (pizza, McDonalds) would be a rare treat in other parts of the world. I think we have to re-orient ourselves.

                                                                                  There is nothing "wrong" or "bad" about pizza or any food, but it is not a particularly healthy meal. And I agree with the OP: "sometimes peoples concept of what's good and bad is ...interesting."

                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: chicgail

                                                                                    a reasonable neopolitan pizza is, for my way of thinking, a lot more healthy than your general "steak overindulgence." In fact, I figure it's more healthy than most "macaroni and cheese" or beef skillet meals. ymmv.

                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                      I'm not judging pizza. Nothing wrong with a pizza from time-to-time. But it's all relative.

                                                                                      My point is that we Americans now consider obesity to be normal. We didn't think that 20 years ago. A "normal" meal 20 years ago was something that someone fixed at home and mostly didn't consist of a lot of fatty meat or fast food or a pizza or processed foods from a box.

                                                                                      And none of that food is bad. It's just that we are paying a huge price in our health. Type 2 diabetes is epidemic. Rates of cardiovascular diseases are rising as are other health problems that are directly related to obesity.

                                                                                      I just wonder what we can do to reverse that trend.

                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                        simple. turn the tv off, and get moving. People spend at least an hour in front of the TV every single day. Spend that time walking to the grocery store, and hauling your food home on your back, and you WILL lose weight (don't over do it, okay?).

                                                                                        1. re: chicgail

                                                                                          Stop mixing refined carbs and sugar with fat. Eat real food. The end.

                                                                                          1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                            Chowrin's right - get moving. Calories that go in need to be burnt off.

                                                                                            And MandalayVA is right too - refined carbs and sugar with fat = bad. Protein from lean meat = good.

                                                                                            Obesity is a real issue these days in developed countries, putting huge strain on the health system and it's up to the individual to sort this - statements like 'pizza is not bad for you' really doesn't help these matters.

                                                                                          2. re: chicgail

                                                                                            20 years ago people were already consuming substantial quantities of fast foods - and with fewer "healthy" options. If you want to look for a period when "home cooking" was the norm (and I'd have to add pre-convenience food/frozen pizza/hamburger helper) then it's more like 40 years.

                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                              You are correct of course. The trend toward fast and convenience and processed foods (with its huge emphasis on fats and refined flour and sugar) is well more than 20 years. I show my age. But it has become significantly more pervasive in the past 20 years.

                                                                                              The other factor that a number of posters have pointed to when they talked about self-restraint, is that scientists now believe that these foods actually have a physiological addictive factor. It's not that you don't have will power; it's that your body is demanding more and more.

                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                I would take fats out of that equation. These days more and more are drinking their calories. I have co-workers who routinely put away a two-liter bottle of soda a day and that's just during the workday. What's a medium soda at a fast-food place today was a large 20 years ago. That's a whole lotta high fructose corn syrup going down gullets. Not to mention that HFCS shows up in seemingly everything processed--yes, including those "healthy" Lean Cuisines. Go to your local Costco or Sam's or BJ's and see what people are heaping their carts with. I can assure you, it isn't meat or vegetables. It's frozen dinners and junk food and 24-packs of Pepsi.

                                                                                                1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                  ... at my costco, people buy 10 50lb bags of flour at a time! And gobs of fresh foods, and 50lb bags of rice.

                                                                                                  ...maybe it's because it's the Kosher Costco? (n.b. not everything there is kosher, but it's a primary focus)

                                                                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                    I'm in the South. Things are different here. :D

                                                                                          3. re: Chowrin

                                                                                            Yup. Pizza is not the best as it is, but there is far worse. Then again, there is always far worse in everything. Funny how we all always compare worse things to justify what is already not that great to begin with. I do that all the time:)

                                                                                          4. re: chicgail

                                                                                            I think you mean "in 2001". Jon Steward quoted the same statistic recently on TDS. I doubt the percentage went up that high within ONE year.

                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                              Yes. Thank you . I edited my post to correct the typo.

                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                no biggie '-)

                                                                                                (funny word choice in that context, i guess)

                                                                                          5. It doesn't take a genius to know that overdoing anything is bad for you (exceptions: champagne and key lime pie) but, I suspect that overeating causes far more health problems than smoking.

                                                                                            1. I could have wholeheartedly agreed with the pizza = bad equation until I moved to NYC and found real NY pizza. Not the joints you see on every corner, but the quality places. NY pizza tends toward the minimalist: thin crackerlike crust, very modest amount of cheese, and the toppings are up to you (you can even get arugula, artichokes, and great veggies on them). It's a rather evanescent creation. I'd say it's practically a health food.

                                                                                              Even with this though, 2 slices at a sitting are enough.

                                                                                              1. I feel the need to clarify again. This post is not about eating too much.It's about the basic assumption that the ingredients for a pizza are inherently unhealthy. Yes if you eat too much or if you use the cheapest ingredients anything will be unhealthy or at least not as nutritious as good whole foods. Basic breads, tomatoes, cheese and meats have powered civilization for thousands of years.

                                                                                                Pizza is not bad for you.

                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                  And as many have pointed out on this thread, one is bound to eat more than one or two slices of pizza, whereas I don't see many people ODing on a slice of bread topped with equal amounts of cheese & meats & tomatoes.

                                                                                                  As an aside - cheese and bread aren't exactly health foods either.

                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                    This illustartes my point, "cheese and bread aren't exactly health foods either." What about these foods is unhealthy?

                                                                                                    Here ar a list of foods. Put them in healthy or unhealthy category.

                                                                                                    Item Healthy Unhealthy

                                                                                                    Cheese

                                                                                                    Salami

                                                                                                    Cashews

                                                                                                    Avacado

                                                                                                    Carrots

                                                                                                    Peas

                                                                                                    Iceberg lettuce

                                                                                                    Romaine

                                                                                                    Rib Eye Steak

                                                                                                    Pork Chops

                                                                                                    Salt

                                                                                                    Olive Oil

                                                                                                    Wonder Bread

                                                                                                    Sourdough

                                                                                                    Lard

                                                                                                    jb

                                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                      Mercury isn't bad for you either. It's just when you eat too much that it becomes a problem.

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                        I don't understand this reply. What's your point?

                                                                                                        kb

                                                                                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                          You can't measure whether ingesting something is good or bad for you simply on a moving target of quantity. It is more meaningful to compare the nutritional value of an exact value, i.e. fat, carbohydrates, kcal per 100g, than to list out ingredients and deem them healthy or unhealthy based on subjective perceptions of quality or what constitutes a meal.

                                                                                                          1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                            I was actually trying to do the opposite by looking at our perceptions of these items as good or bad regardless of amount. Fats and salt are usually labled bad, but they are also neccessary to survival. In my conversation with my co-worker it struck me that making the blanket statement that pizza is bad for you wasn't very useful or accurate. Context is everything.

                                                                                                            I realize that the state of your own health/weight and the quantity and quality of what you eat is what will determine if it's good for you. I thought it was an interesting thing to explore how some foods fall into the "Healthy" or Unhealthy" category without the context.

                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                              But you are making the blanket statement that pizza isn't bad for you, which is just as incorrect as your colleague.

                                                                                                              1. re: pj26

                                                                                                                I'm not saying that pizza can't be abused or made with ingreisients that turn it into a cheesy, greasy heart stopping mess. The same can be said for most foods. All I'm saying is that the basic ingredients for a pizza are not harmful, unless, like every other food, you abuse them. If this pizza had been a double cheese, meat lovers pie from Pizza Hut I would have told her, "That things gonna kill you." But this was just an average American pie, not a pig out, over the top you will never see your grandkids kind of pie.

                                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                      2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                        Nah. Don't feel like doing homework just now.

                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                          I'm sorry I wasn't trying to give you homework. I thought it might be an interesting excercise.

                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                      3. re: linguafood

                                                                                                        There is a lot here in attitudes, rather than inherency (is that a word?). For many of us, it's easy to stop at one or maybe two slices. For others, not so much, and for them, the consumption of pizza can become a reflection of issues related to food that are unrelated to its underlying healthiness (which is often up for debate). To call pizza bad, for many, is an indication that it triggers an unhealthy habit in them, rather than it being inherently unhealthy.

                                                                                                        And as for bread being unhealthy, it kept some civilizations alive for many many years. Did bread alone constitute a healthy diet? No, but it was a lot better than the alternative.

                                                                                                      4. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                        The problem with pizza is how it's typically consumed. It's viewed as a meal and eaten by itself. Or sometimes the 'health conscious' serve it with salad (mainly lettuce with salad dressing, most of the time).

                                                                                                        The real problem with pizza is that no one ever makes a meal out of a single slice served along with a heaping serving of broccoli and maybe some beans.

                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                          ... no, i eat half the pizza. made in my convection oven. it's still around 500 calories. ;-) then I take a walk, and by the time I'm back, not hungry no more. The idea that you need to be full before you stop eating...

                                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                            Maybe I'm not following you -
                                                                                                            You believe eating half a pizza is better for you than eating a single slice along with green vegetables and lean protein (the beans)? Mild exercise notwithstanding.

                                                                                                            Calories really aren't all there is to eating healthily.

                                                                                                      5. I use sourdough for my crust - allegedly, whatever those critters do to the flour makes it better for you than a yeast-based dough. I didn't find this out until recently, but it helps when I need a reason to pig out on pizza.

                                                                                                        1. You can't just list ingredients and conclude from that list it must be super healthy. The proportions of these ingredients matter. Consider spinach pizza. Bread (from refined white flour), spinach, tomatoes (for the sake of argument, this spinach pizza isn't white), cheese. All can be part of a healthy meal.

                                                                                                          But that very healthy meal would have large amounts of spinach and tomatoes, moderate amounts of bread (whole grain would be better), and comparatively small amounts of cheese. In pizza, that healthy ratio is basically turned on its head.

                                                                                                          That said, I still wouldn't consider spinach pizza bad for you in the same way that, say, twinkies are bad for you - that is, pizza does have nutritional value beyond just calories. Foods don't really separate themselves into 'good for you' & 'bad for you' categories quite as easily and neatly as the media (or your OP) makes it seem.

                                                                                                          At any rate, pizza is not health food, but the rare meal of pizza shouldn't make an otherwise healthy person lose any sleep.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                            my pizza at home has roughly an ounce or two of cheese per "serving" (half the pizza), and when I make it thincrust, is quite light on bread (it's less than a third of a standard bread recipe -- and that's split two ways).
                                                                                                            I consider homemade pizza health food, myself. Then again, I have eaten entire meals of french fries. Today's lunch is sourcherry-tapioca pie, which is FAR LESS HEALTHY than a pizza. ;-)

                                                                                                            Are there better foods to be eating than pizza? sure. But pizza makes a good staple in a vegetarian diet, and as someone who isn't, I still believe that us eating less meat is good for the environment.

                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                              Exactly. If you pile on the vegetables, use minimal crust, it's one thing. If you have a Chicago style deep dish pizza, it's another, even if the ingredients are the same. And, there's the whole debate about how good sausage, pepperoni, cheese and refined flour dough is for you, too, that I won't get into.

                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                That's true. When talking about ratios of ingredients, I'm sort of imagining the Platonic Pizza, something a ninja turtle would eat. But there is nothing stopping someone from making a thin whole grain crust, limiting the amount of cheese, and piling that pizza high with veggies to make a delicious and very healthy form of pizza that one could eat every day without any reason to worry or feel bad about it.

                                                                                                            2. Even lettuce is bad for you if that's all you eat. The idea that all pizza is junk food is a very old-fashioned one. Some pizza is bad for you, sure, but if you only have a slice or two once in a while, where's the harm in that?

                                                                                                              I make a pizza that uses a whole wheat dough, fresh tomato sauce, blanched broccoli rabe, garlic and freshly grated parmesan and crumbled goat cheese. It has some fat and sodium, sure, but probably less than the steak I'll bet your friend thinks is healthy. It's all a matter of balance.

                                                                                                              1. I'm with the OP. 'Pizza is bad for you' is just way too broad a statement. Also, I think statements like this ('X is bad/good for you') depend more on who is 'you' than what 'X' is. Are we talknig about a sedentary, obese person? A normal weight, but unfit person? A very fit person/athlete? A malnourished, active person? A malnourished, active person is definitely better off eating a calorific, fat/carb heavy pizza for breakfast than a green salad. Didn't Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer) describe his daily calorie intake as 10,000+ calories and including a few McD's meals? Who here is in better shape than him? This is about the person doing the eating, not the foodstuff itself.

                                                                                                                I'm not sure I believe that there are any inherently 'unhealthy' foods - unhealthy in every context, I mean. If you're starving, even a Twinkie is better than nothing, right? :)

                                                                                                                1. I think your friend is yet another victim of someone repeating 2+2 = 4 without actually being taught addition and so x+y = 4.

                                                                                                                  A basic slice has carb, protein and fat, all in a surprisingly balanced and filling amount. So, at least in terms of macronutrients, pizza is awesome.

                                                                                                                  1. This has irritated me for ages. The blanket, thoughtless labeling of this or that food (pizza, burgers,) as inherantly "bad" for you. My issue with that is that many people use these as a guide to avoid actually thinking abou whats's in the food. In fact, pizza is like anything else. It depends how its made. Most people buy pizza from places that sell food based on big servings, lots of fat, and cheap ingredients. In a lot of those restaurants a "salad" means a half pound of bacon, eggs, and cheese, smothered in half a cup of dressing, served with a huge slab of white bread. Such a salad actually has more calories, fat and sodium than a few slices of well made pizza. Or people who decide burgers are "bad", so they order the steak sandwich, anda baked potatoe the size of a Smart Car, then throw on 4 tbsp of sour cream, bacon, butter, and cheese.

                                                                                                                    1. I think the nutrition issue with most pizza is that one regular slice exceeds the point of diminishing returns on a few fronts - more complex carbs than you need, more fat and salt from the cheese than you need, if meat then yet more salt and fat than you need. Kinda like a cheeseburger.

                                                                                                                      But really, it's hard to be a person who looks at each standalone meal as a possible one way ticket to dietary hell. And it's not much easier eating with one, either...

                                                                                                                      1. "pizza", such a general term...If you make (or buy) a pizza with wholesome ingredients, it's just wholesome cheese, bread, tomatoes and whatever else you put on it. If the ingredients are good, how can pizza (or anything for that matter) be bad?

                                                                                                                        1. I really hate it when people rule out entire food groups or foods saying that they are 'bad for you'. I cannot stand all this food police cr@p. I am a person that only ate one or two slices of pizza. I have never been over weight. I am 5'2" and after two years of being severly underweight, am finally a good 110 lbs. I eat whatever I want, I just do not eat large portions of anything. I keep the large portion of my diet in a foundation of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, very limited meats and fish (cause I cannot swallow most).

                                                                                                                          I just think for me, the everything in moderation approach works. I have no problem with vegans or vegetarians that ethically feel they want to abstain from animal products, or those with allergies and special health issues, but to demonize foods or whole food groups is just an unhealthy approach to food, IMO. I also wish people would keep comments to themselves when they see me eating something they think is bad. It's just rude. I think people should decide what is best for them. I think you can eat what you like if your core diet is strong in good fundamentals and you take in a healthy amount of calories. So, no, I don't believe pizza is bad for you.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Matahari22

                                                                                                                            I agree. I'd been overweight for years, before having some serious health issues. I'm 5'4" and up to 108 lbs. For me, it's a matter of getting in as much protein and calories in a day as I can in small meals. I'm the first to recognize that if my body were still functioning, this diet would have me soaring past my previous high weight.

                                                                                                                            I do frequently make small pizzas at home, because I usually have the ingredients on hand, enjoy working with yeast dough, and it's cheaper and easier for me than driving somewhere for a small pizza.

                                                                                                                            Back in the day, I could put together a salad from a salad bar that had more fat and calories than a cheeseburger, but hey, it was a salad, right?

                                                                                                                            So I guess I'm with the majority here - Pizza, Salad, etc. are terms for a broad spectrum of ingredients and nutritional values. And "healthy" means different things for people with different dietary needs.

                                                                                                                            I also understand that the rest of America with the increasing weight problem is not here reading this thread, and I'm sure that most aren't interested in healthy pizza.

                                                                                                                          2. If you make your own pizza, then you decide whether or not it's a healthy or an unhealthy pizza (as well as decide how you define healthy or unhealthy).

                                                                                                                            Growing up in a family that only ate real food, my little sister couldn't understand why kids all liked pizza (she would've been impartial if pizza hadn't been forced upon her as the only warm "food" available at parties). One day I made a flat bread with bubbles the size of eggs in it, piled on a lot of spinach, tomato, artichoke, onion, thinly sliced beef, feta cheese, various goat cheeses, baked some more until cheese turned light gold and fished with fresh basil, oregano, rockets, leek sprouts, and a dash of fresh olive oil. The sis ate more than her own 9-yr-old body weight, and asked me a the next day "can you make me that thing from yesterday again?" She didn't know that anything other than a big round thing with red polka dots floating on oil could be called pizza! She only knew pizza-delivery pizza.

                                                                                                                            What made my sister (and most people) jump to "bad" when you say "pizza", is the kind you get from a delivery place, which consists of:

                                                                                                                            BREAD (summarized from Pizza Hut): bleached enriched (read: stripped of nutrients but had some attempted to be put back in)wheat flour, dough conditioners, emulsifiers, acidulents, hydrogenated oil (trans. fat), corn syrup, salt, preservatives, dehydrated milk
                                                                                                                            CHEESE(Pasted from Pizza Hut): modified food starch, whey protein concentrate, non- fat milk, sodium propionate
                                                                                                                            SAUCE (summarized from Pizza Hut): liquid margarine (soybean oil, partially hydrogenated
                                                                                                                            soybean oil, salt, vegetable mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, artificially
                                                                                                                            flavored and colored with beta carotene, vitamin a palmitate added),
                                                                                                                            modified food starch, xanthan gum, artificial flavor,
                                                                                                                            citric acid, lactic acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate
                                                                                                                            MEAT: too many kinds, but let's just say BACON: sodium nitrite dextrose, sodium ascorbate, sodium erythorbate, caramel color, potassium chloride, potassium lactate, sodium lactate, hydrolyzed hydrolyzed soy protein. and you don't even know how the pig was raised.

                                                                                                                            The problem is, most people that say "pizza is bad" are missing the point and think overindulgence is what makes it bad, when really, bad pizza is bad for you no matter how little you eat it, (it's not the act of eating that makes it bad, you just don't see any effect if you eat less) and good pizza is as good as food should be.

                                                                                                                            I wouldn't eat any of the above as individual parts or a unit masquerading as pizza; I don't consider it food at all.

                                                                                                                            but if you're stuck on an island with no food and a "bad" pizza falls from the sky, eat it! it's the best thing you can do for your health!

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. I wouldn't say that pizza is GOOD for you either, but once in a while shouldn't pose a health issue...all things in moderation, plus healthy doses of exercise and homework won't hurt

                                                                                                                              1. I would still say that Pizza is not bad for you. No more so than any other food. To make it bad you have to overload it with cheese and meat and use lower quality ingreidients and or eat too much. Can you find that pizza out in the world yes? I probably should have qualified the OP and said not all pizza is bad for you. From my original conversation with my co-worker it just struck me as odd that these simple, and common ingredients were labled bad just because they came in pizza form. I suppose most people are far too familiar with the bad kind. I am fortunate to live in an area where lots of good pizza can be found. I haven't stepped inside a Pizza Hut since the "all you can eat Wendnesdays" of my college days.

                                                                                                                                jb

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                  "I would still say that Pizza is not bad for you. No more so than any other food."

                                                                                                                                  What other foods? Sure it's better for you than Twinkies but roasted vegetables are better for you than pizza. As pointed out above, you could make the same argument about hamburgers (meat, bread, cheese) or french fries (potatoes, oil) but they're not good for you. Are sandwiches bad for you? That's far too open ended of a question, as is yours.

                                                                                                                                2. I think the "good for you" "bad for you" dichotomy is old and busted, I prefer to think in terms of "what doe it do to/for me?"

                                                                                                                                  If eating pizza does bad things to you, then you should avoid it. If it does not do bad things to you, then enjoy it.

                                                                                                                                  If I eat a lot of cheese before I go to bed I have terrible nightmares, so I avoid pizza after lunch.

                                                                                                                                  1. Pizza is not every-day food - so what does it matter how healthy it is?
                                                                                                                                    If someone ate pizza several times a week, then that may cause issues - but people are better informed than that.
                                                                                                                                    Aren't they?

                                                                                                                                    24 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                      AHA! Personal responsibility, how refreshing! See, it doesn't "take a village" sorry hillary

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                        Because it sounds like the OP is saying pizza is good for you so it could be something you could eat often. People are obviously not as well informed as you think.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          please define "pizza" for me cuz maybe I missed something here...Are we talking about a specific pizza like crust full of hydrogenated oils and other chemicals with more crap for toppings? "pizza" is so general a term and even 'meat', 'cheese', 'bread', and 'tomato' are too general-as stated in the OP's question- to come to such conclusions. If made with wholesome bread, cheese, tomato, meat, etc then pizza "could be something you eat often"

                                                                                                                                          1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                            Exactly. As I said above, a few times, it's too generic of a question, like asking if a sandwich is bad for you. The variations are too diverse to answer.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                            You are correct. I do think you could eat pizza often and it would be just fine. I also realized the question was too broad and have defined what I meant by pizza up thread. Use decent ingredients, don't eat too much and you could probably have pizza for lunch or dinner several times a week.

                                                                                                                                            jb

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                              Yes, and we do--sometimes I get on a roll and make a lot of dough and we have it often w/ lots of vegetables. And, I think it's a great meal. We very rarely get a pizza from Costco where a slice has something like 700+ calories but that would be a splurge. I don't know how different the ingredients are but they're worlds apart.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0...

                                                                                                                                                actual figures attached. That's still a decent meal, if you have squash for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                  "Decent" is in the eye of the beholder. I could have a piece of cake and squash and it wouldn't be that different but I don't consider the cake anything but junk. And, I don't just eat one piece of pizza. I have nothing against junk food in moderation but I'll call it junk and not "part of a healthy meal."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    depends on the cake; i make a carrot/ginger cake with leftover fiber from juicing that you can have for breakfast and feel great

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                                      LOL, that would be a whole new thread: "Cake is bad for you?"

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                      tomatoes, bread, cheese make a good meal, in my opinion. Course, I carry my food home from the grocery store too, and that's a mile each way -- up hills!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                        And, that's what I mean by it depends on the eye of the beholder. You can get big debates here on how healthy saturated fats in cheese are or refined grains in bread or HFCS in the tomato sauce. I'll never consider Costco pizza a healthy treat, no matter how far I've run that day, even if it's 20 miles. I don't feel guilty about it if I have it but I call it what it is, junk food and a treat. My own home made pizza--much better.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                          dude! if my calorie budget for the day is 4000 (and that's on the "losing weight" diet), 600 calories of pizza be light and tasty! And pass the salt! (I hike. you sweat when you hike. enough to turn your face ghost white.)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                            Dudette (I'm a woman). I consider my food far more than just a source of calories. It's not about weight, it's about health for me so Costco pizza or 4 twinkies that add up to less than 600 calories doesn't count as "light" health food, no matter how many calories I burn. Thin does not mean healthy.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                                                                                                                  You are lucky (or I am unlucky) - if I eat cheese (which could be on pizza) several times a week my weight levels out at X. If I eat cheese once a month it levels out at X-20lb. My body simply doesn't need it (or know what to do with it, it seems)..
                                                                                                                                                  So for me personally, pizza is a rarely eaten treat food. For your metabolism pizza twice daily might be fine.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                    what kind of cheese are you eating? have you tried using fresh mozzarella, goat, or some other light cheese?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                                      Goat, buffalo-mozz and cottage cheese are my usuals, with extra strong cheddar occasionally. But I just don't eat cheese now except when entertaining.

                                                                                                                                                      It probably doesn't help that I love cheese so much that I have no restraint if there is any in the house! Self-knowledge makes sure my clothes continue to fit.

                                                                                                                                                      Pizza (to me) is just a glorified open cheese sandwich - it is no worse than a regular sandwich - in fact better if you add loads of veggies. I'm sure many people can - and do - eat cheese sandwiches every day to no ill effect - I just know I can't.

                                                                                                                                                      We are all different and I'd never dream of commenting that something someone was eating was unhealthy - for me it may be, but for them it may be essential to their wellbeing.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                        yeah, thank goodness our clothes keep us in check huh? that's my only saving grace since i refuse to buy new clothes. Having to unbutton my pants when I sit puts me in check real quick

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                                          Buttons are indeed a reality check.
                                                                                                                                                          What I don't understand is - for many people buttons are NOT a reality check. What gives there? Why don't people stop and think - I'm getting fatter, what am I doing wrong? Whay to some people just get bigger and bigger?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                            i think they buy new clothes; i know if i have to walk around with my pants unbuttoned, i will cut back on food and exercise more, but if i chose to spend money on new clothes, forget it- there'd be no turning back. I would have to declare myself officially fat ;)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                              yes, Buttons.

                                                                                                                                                              Or, in my case stretchie pants...

                                                                                                                                                              I am unlike most people, as I gain weight in summer - I drink a whole lot more beer, and seem to socialize more in general...

                                                                                                                                                              Right now, I can feel my belly hanging over my stretchie pants and I feel really uncomfortable.

                                                                                                                                                              It's time for me to rack the whip on myself.

                                                                                                                                                              I will NOT be eating pizza any time soon

                                                                                                                                                              ***sigh***

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm small framed, and I hate to feel any extra weight - it just makes me feel uncomfortable..As soon as I feel like this, I tried to close the floodgates..
                                                                                                                                                                  BUT, as a food lover, it's not easy....
                                                                                                                                                                  Pizza (Good pizza, I stress) is so delicious!!!

                                                                                                                                                3. "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate. Cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat; an ounce of many cheeses contains as much saturated fat as a glass of whole milk."
                                                                                                                                                  From "While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales"
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/...

                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                                                                    So if we assume that saturated fat is "bad" for every human, then cheese is bad for every human. Assuming, of course, that every human's body functions in the same way as every other human.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                      Aye, but there's the rub. If we, as a nation, collectively, have a problem with diet related health conditions, do we try to do something about it, even if the proposed solutions are imperfect? Or do we say that people are free to make their own choices & live (or die) with the consequences? At what point does the affect on YOUR health care premiums or the share of taxes YOU pay for Medicaid/Medicare have a bearing on whether it is fair to tax or legislate someone else's eating habits?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                                                                        I don't really question the propriety of doing something, just the basis for what we are contemplating doing now. The data as to saturated fat, cholesterol, heart disease, etc. does not seem as conclusive as it was assumed it was going to be. Mandating physical activity, or focusing on sugar, would have more sound bases in fact.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                                                                          Frankly, I'm thoroughly disgusted by the increasing number of my neighbors who seem to be increasing in size - especially those in their teens and twenties (and our Governor). It's just that from an observational, as well as educated, point of view, it doesn't seem like 50 years of blaming saturated animal fats is accomplishing anything. Critical thinking requires us to examine the existing conclusions and the assumptions that have led to them.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                                                                        yet you see many 80+ year-old Sardinian grandmas who have had lots of cheese, but also lots of other, fresh wholesome foods and they are not sedentary; perhaps this is why Sardinian grandma can still make a killer ragu and not even bother to take the cigarette out her mouth when she stirs it...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: crowmuncher

                                                                                                                                                          ha ha, love it! But you hit the nail on the head, it's all about moderation and not sitting around eating and watching TV.

                                                                                                                                                      3. I'm lactose Intolerant - I do eat pizza sometimes (good only - not worth getting sick over crap!) and it comes right out! A win win situation!