Is Pizza Healthy?

How many calories are you consuming in a single slice of pizza?

Photo by Erik Rank

We asked the Nutrition and Food Studies Department of Montclair State University to analyze a plain slice: dough, tomato sauce and mozzarella. They examined three slices from three area pizzerias.

The consolidated result? According to the analysis conducted by Rebecca Yellin, one of the department’s top students, a typical slice packs, a typical slice packs 318 calories, 18 grams of protein, 11 grams of fat (7 of which are saturated) and 565 milligrams of sodium. While that doesn’t upend the USDA’s recommended 2,000 calories a day, the distribution isn’t ideal.

“The slice contains one-third the daily recommendation for calcium and some protein, but not much else,” says professor Charles Feldman. The dough provides little fiber; the cheese is high in fat. “Eating one slice once in a while is okay,” Feldman says.

But who eats just one? With fat and salt levels high, three slices would deliver about 75 percent of the daily recommended intake for sodium and total fat.

And that’s plain pizza. Make it a pepperoni slice, and you add 140 calories, 13 more grams of fat (5 saturated) and 450 more milligrams of sodium. You’re “at or exceeding the recommended limits for fat and particularly sodium,” Feldman says. “A better alternative would be a vegetable topping such as broccoli rabe, which would add vitamins A and C, with little negative consequences.”

Still, a single slice, if you can stick to that, beats a Big Mac, a bomb cyclone of 540 calories, 28 grams of fat (10 saturated), 25 grams of protein and 950 milligrams of sodium, according to McDonald’s own Nutrition Calculator.

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Comments (6)

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  1. HobokenGary

    Shut your f’ing pie hole.

  2. dirtybirdnj

    Your article is factually accurate and I dispute none of the things it states about nutrition.

    I recently moved to Vermont (from NJ) and I really, really miss good pizza. You don’t know what you really miss till its gone.

    One great way to lower pizza intake is move at least 300-500 miles away from the tri-state area. Like an animal going extinct, you will find less and less places that serve anything like you were remotely familiar with in NJ. In no time at all you will lose your taste for the sad excuse for what they call “pizza” in these barren food wastelands.

    • Thomas Hendershot

      REALLY? dirtybirdnj why are you so angry?

      • dirtybirdnj

        I suffer from a pizza deficiency, it causes grouchiness but as a side effect im losing weight so thats nice

        • Thomas Hendershot

          Ok, only 318 cal. indulge a little life is to short.

  3. Thomas Hendershot

    One slice ? Apparently he has not had good PIZZA.