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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pizza That Gives You Pep

I was looking through the nutrition headlines over the weekend when the line “Pizza as Health Food” caught my eye. The article was about how scientists at the University of Maryland reported finding a way to enhance the antioxidant content of whole-grain wheat pizza dough by baking it longer at higher temperatures. According to the experts, disease fighting antioxidant levels rose by up to 60 percent with longer baking times and up to 82 percent with higher baking temperatures, depending on the type of wheat flour used.

No word yet on when this type of pizza crust might become mainstream but until then, there are a few other ways to boost your health while enjoying a pie. Here are my top tips:

If you’re a Pizza Hut fan, order from their Fit n’Delicious menu. These pizzas are made with half the usual amount of cheese, more sauce, and lean toppings including veggies, grilled chicken and ham. One slice of a medium Fit n’Delicious Veggie & Chicken pizza provides:
160 calories
5 grams of fat
2 grams of saturated fat
0 grams of trans fat
21 grams of carbohydrate
1 gram of fiber
9 grams of protein

That’s big savings compared to one slice of medium Chicken Supreme Pan Pizza with:
270 calories
12 grams of fat
4 grams of saturated fat
0 grams of trans fat
28 grams of carbohydrate
1 gram of fiber
13 grams of protein

If you ate 3 slices, you’d save 330 calories and 6 grams of cholesterol raising saturated fat, and that’s nothing to shake a stick at. Taking in 330 calories you can’t burn off even just once a week would lead to a 5 pound fat gain in 1 year’s time (4 sticks of butter is a pound of fat so think 20 sticks of butter!).

No matter where you order your pizza from you can always lean down by:
-Ordering a small (or at least medium)
-Choosing thin crust
-Asking for extra sauce, light cheese, chicken, ham or Canadian bacon (in place of pepperoni, ground beef or sausage), and adding extra veggies

And don’t forget to check the web site of your favorite pizza maker. Most now provide nutrition facts, a huge helper when you’re trying to lighten up your order. For example, did you know:
-2 Papa John’s Cheesesticks provide 370 calories
-Ordering thin crust pizza at Papa John’s saves about 60 calories per slice compared to original crust
-Order a 12” thin crust versus a 14” thin crust from Dominos saves 30 calories per slice for the crust alone
-Adding extra cheese to a 12” Little Caesar’s pizza adds 22 calories per slice
Those little numbers add up. Saving even 100 calories per meal just once a day translates into NOT gaining 10 pounds over the course of a year.

Ok, before a go, here are a few fun pizza facts:
-Every man, woman and child in America eats about 46 slices of pizza per year
-In the U.S., pepperoni is the favorite topping while anchovies rank least favorite
-Popular pizza toppings around the world include pickled ginger, squid, salmon, eggs, sauerkraut, and mayo
-The world's largest pizza covered 10,000 square feet, measured 140 feet across, and weighed 44,457 pounds

photo courtesy of iband
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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