HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  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 …

    24 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: Rick

                You forgot the huge gobs of mayo - plus god knows what - the word 'salad' is at best 'neutral' re 'healthy eating.'

              2. 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.

              3. 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.