Pick & Pass: Eat Pizza But Still Cut Fat | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Pick & Pass: Eat Pizza But Still Cut Fat

May 12, 2011

Not all foods are created equal, especially if you're an athlete. If you eat a cream-filled donut before a workout, you won't perform as well as if you had eaten a banana [learn more about banana's benefits for athletes]. That said, healthy alternatives do exist for many junk foods—even for a dish as frowned upon as pizza.

Pizza's [and Cheese's] Bad Rep
Pizza is generally considered a poor choice when it comes to healthy eating and losing weight. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, on average, two slices contain half of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat. Fat, however, plays a major role in satiety [the feeling of being completely full]. The combination of protein and fat in full-fat cheese topping can keep your hunger at bay.

Furthermore, cheese contains a naturally-occurring trans fat called trans-palmitoleate—the same kind contained in whole milk—which may help boost metabolism by turning off the liver’s fat production and boosting muscles’ ability to manage glucose. According to a study published the Annals of Internal Medicine, people with higher trans-palmitoleate levels reduced their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 60 percent.

Still, almost any food eaten in excess will inhibit weight loss. For dairy products, the recommended daily amount is two to three servings.

In the video above, sports nutritionist Cheryl Zonkowski explains why pizza is actually a fairly balanced food and advises how much to eat.

Make Good Choices When Ordering Out
If you're ordering delivery pizza, take a couple of minutes to research the nutritional content of your options. Avoiding any "Pan" or "Deep Dish" crusts can make a huge difference in calories and fat content. Choose "thin crust" if possible. Papa John’s offers whole-wheat crust, a great option.

Toppings are important to consider when you're counting calories. By skipping pepperoni and sausage, you can save 100 to 250 calories per slice.

If you're not aware of the nutritional facts, you can easily end up overindulging with dishes like Pizza Hut's Supreme Pan Pizza [two slices = 620 calories, 32 grams of fat, 1440 mg of sodium] or Papa John’s Pan Crust Cheese Pizza [two slices = 720 calories, 30 grams of fat, 1960 mg of sodium].

Likewise, frozen pizzas vary tremendously in calories and nutritional value. Check the nutrition label. Look for fat content of 15 grams or less and sodium content under 700 mg. For a good place to start, check out Kashi brand pizzas.

Make Your Own Pizza
You have the most control over what goes into your body when you prepare your own food.

Choose a crust, preferably whole-grain, and top it with a sauce [watch the added sugar content], cheeses and vegetables.  In the video below, STACK expert Chris Mohr shows you how to make your own pizza using a pita as the crust, which can knock out a few more calories.

Source:  Livestrong.com, theheart.org, EatthisNotthat, Mohrresults.com

Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Maddy Lucier
- As an associate editor for STACK, Maddy creates lifestyle, social media, gear and nutrition content for our audience of athletes. She played volleyball and basketball...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 2,082,823
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 21,653,048
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,069,636

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 147,463
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,254,658
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 23,946
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Case for Red Meat

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Boston Cannons'