Stuffed crust is more fattening than thin crust, right? And fresh must be better than frozen. Not necessarily – especially when it comes to pizza. But could clearer information help you make healthier choices?
When a pizza is oozing with cheese and adorned with pepperoni everyone knows it’s not going to be good for you.
But if you fancy the occasional treat, you should have the right to be able to make a sensible choice, shouldn’t you? We put pizzas under the knife in a recent investigation and I’ve been bemused by the results.
Thin crust, thin waist?
The research, to coincide with National Obesity Week this week, looked at the calorific value, fat and salt content of fresh, frozen and takeaway pizzas. I’d love for the results to be logical – deep pan the most fattening and fresh the healthiest – but it just didn’t work out that way.
One clear finding was that frozen pizzas tend to be lower in fat and saturates than fresh pizza. But bizarrely, thick crust pizzas were not necessarily higher in fat than thin crust ones.
How big’s a portion of pizza?
My bug bear? Portion size. With the smell of pizza wafting through the house, when the timer goes, I’m very unlikely to cut myself just one slice of the pizza. I don’t want a measly slice – I’m looking for a sensible compromise of around half a pizza.
Yet some pizza packing suggests that a fifth of a pizza is a suitable portion size. Others agree with me and say a half, while the greediest portion is an entire pizza. With different measurements being used across the range, it’s really tricky to compare like-for-like.
I was shocked to discover that Dr Oetker’s portion size ranged from 76.25g to 395g. The same company is suggesting that with one pizza you’ll eat a fifth of it, and another the whole thing.
If you’re interested in the findings – and have a particular preference for Margherita or pepperoni pizza – the full research paper is available. For those that aren’t I’m afraid the message is pretty confusing. That’s why we’re still campaigning for a single UK approach to front of pack labelling and crucially, traffic light colour coding.
Personally, I’ve been quite impressed by Pizza Express’ Leggera range. These pizzas replace the middle with a healthy helping of salad – and the menu even states up front what the calorific and fat content of your pizza is.
Do you even care what’s in your pizza? I know I do. With every good intention to start the New Year by losing a few pounds I’d like to think I can get together with friends and not blow the calorie bank.