Stuffed crust, deep pan, Hawaiian or pepperoni? As the Italian classic has been steadily maintaining its position in Britain’s top 5 takeaway dishes for the past few years, we ask: is Brits’ love for pizza sensible?
With a whopping 2,305 calories per pizza – the equivalent of up to 115% of your recommended daily calorie intake in one meal – and 100g of fat, eating pizza regularly could mean putting yourself at risk of poor health. According to Director at the British Association for Applied Nutrition Daniel O’Shaughnessy, and registered Nutritionist at SR Nutrition, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, it could impact your digestive system, cholesterol levels, immune system, heart and even your mood!
Why is Deep Pan Pizza so unhealthy?
Loaded with cheese, processed meat (pepperoni), and twice as much as the recommended daily amount of salt, this pizza is a model for bad health. As with all takeaways, high-fat and high-sugar meals should only be consumed once a week, and here’s why:
In the short term, Stirling-Reed tells us that straight after eating a pizza most people will get a lull in their energy levels. It might make you “feel quite sleepy, as the body will be busy sending blood to the gut to help you to digest all the calories you’ve just eaten.” According to her, this can impact your emotional state as you don’t have the energy to take on new challenges and feel sluggish.
It’s also going to take its toll on your digestive system. The lack of fibre (veggies) can make you feel bloated for few hours, or even up to a day or two.
With 38 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat and 11 grams of salt, eating Deep Pan Pepperoni pizza regularly can slowly but surely put extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. In the long term, it will increase the risk of cardiac diseases, such as stroke or heart attack. Eaten regularly, it can also lead to weight gain which can put pressure on many different areas of the body including your heart, bones, lungs and liver.
What if I’m craving pizza?
Cravings are a result of imbalanced blood sugar, which means that your body misses healthy fats and proteins. Symptoms associated with blood sugar imbalance also include insomnia, drowsiness, difficulty losing weight, mood swings and excessive thirst. Eating “an iPhone sized piece of protein per meal” should keep your hunger satisfied and your cravings in check, says O’Shaughnessy. If you’re really longing for a certain food, “have some protein like a handful of nuts and if you’re still craving, drink a herbal tea,” he advises.
One other solution would be to swap your toppings, explains Stirling-Reed. “Try and opt for pizzas which include some vegetables – mushrooms, sweetcorn, peppers, artichoke, and extra tomatoes are all great toppings – the more of these you add, the better.”
According to our Health Check report, a staggering 22% of Brits eat only one portion of fruit and veg a day. If you don’t like cooked veg, you could also go for a salad on the side so “you’re getting some good nutrients in and at least one of your 5 A Day.” For example, as this pizza lacks nutrients as it has only 8% of Vitamin A and 0% of Vitamin C, a side salad would help bring those numbers up and make your meal more nutritious.
You could also try to swap the deep pan crust for a thin crust, as deep pan pizza contains significantly more calories and is generally greasier.
Lastly, never be afraid to ask how the pizza is made or cooked. You could even ask if it could be made with less salt, cheese or oil… “it’s always worth a try,” says Stirling-Reed.
Your body after a sweet and sour takeaway
Read the next article in our takeaway series to discover the short and long term health implications of eating Sweet and Sour takeaway can have on your body.
Understanding how many calories you need
People’s ideal daily calorie intake can vary, depending on their lifestyle and other factors, such as age and height. Use our calorie calculator to work of your ideal daily calories intake.