How Unhealthy is Pizza?

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How Unhealthy is Pizza?

It’s hard to gain unhealthy weight by eating healthy food. So, when determining if pizza is healthy, it’s important to consider if pizza contains mostly healthy or unhealthy calories.

The quality of calories in a typical pizza is low. Three common unhealthy pizza factors:

1. Refined Grain/White Flour Crust

2. Cheese

3. Added Sugar

Refined Grain/White Flour Crust

Unlike whole grains, refined grains/white flour products lead to weight gain. This is because the refining process strips away fiber and nutrients. Though some white flour is enriched, it does not add back all the nutrients that make whole grains healthy.

Studies show that refined grains lead to:

1. Weight Gain

2. Heart Disease (increased risk)

3. Type 2 Diabetes (increased risk)

4. Overeating

Key Point

Refined grains/white flour is the most unhealthy factor in pizza.


First off, cheese is not as unhealthy as white flour pizza crust. However, cheese is high in saturated fat. A typical slice of cheese pizza contains over 20% of the recommended daily value of saturated fat. Most of this saturated fat comes from cheese.

And since pizza made with white flour is not very filling, it is easy to eat many slices of pizza. So, reaching or surpassing your daily recommended intake of saturated fat is easy.

Key Point

Cheese on a typical pizza is unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content.

Added Sugar

Avoid added sugar. Though pizza may not taste sweet, typical pizza recipes call for added sugar.

If you are overweight or looking to lose weight, avoid foods with added sugar. Instead, eat foods that naturally contain sugar, such as fruits. Fruit is healthy.

Key Point

Added sugar is not healthy, and typical pizza recipes include added sugar.


Not all pizza is unhealthy. Pizza with whole grain crust and without cheese and added sugar can actually be healthy.