How Much Sugar Is In Pizza
A slice of the average frozen cheese pizza contains about 5 grams of sugar. An average piece of pizza with meat, such as pepperoni or sausage, has closer to 6 grams. One culprit is the pizza sauce, which can have up to 1.1 grams of added sugar per 1/4-cup serving. The crust also contains added sugar.
Pizza is a comfort food that’s hard to resist when you’re hungry and stressed out by work. But how much sugar is in this favorite meal? Turns out it depends on what toppings you choose.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily intake of added sugars to 250 calories for women and 350 calories for men (about 10 percent of total calorie intake). This amount may sound like a lot until you consider that most Americans consume more than 500 calories from sweets each day. So even though pizza is popular among both kids and adults, it’s not necessarily considered healthy because of its high sugar content.
Most people are aware of the dangers of consuming too many carbohydrates. They contribute to blood glucose spikes, weight gain, tooth decay and cavities, kidney disease and cancer. Carbohydrates aren’t all bad; they just need to be eaten in moderation. When we talk about carbs, we’re generally referring to complex carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. However, simple carbohydrates are present in foods such as candy, soda pop, chips, cookies and cakes. These types of sugars quickly release their energy into our bloodstreams and leave us feeling bloated and tired instead of energized.
Sugar occurs naturally in certain foods and contributes to maintaining normal blood sugar levels. It plays an important role in providing essential nutrients to cells, including vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Also, some studies show that sugar helps regulate mood, prevent infections and maintain strong immune systems. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other sources of sugar that contain way too much of the white stuff. Here’s a breakdown of common pizza ingredients’ glycemic index ratings.
Frozen Cheese Pizzas – A medium cheese pizza typically consists of around 5 grams of fat and 35 grams of carbohydrate. Of those carbohydrates, only 8 grams come from naturally occurring sugars, which makes it one of the least unhealthy options available.
Freshly Crust Pizza – The dough used for freshly baked pizzas has less sugar than frozen ones. Even still, the crust itself ranges between 7 and 11 grams of carbohydrate per slice.
Meaty Peppers – Pepperonis are usually made with ground beef and processed soy sauce. The peppers add 4 grams of carbohydrate per ounce, making them the biggest contributor to a typical slice’s overall tally.
Mozzarella Cheeses – Most mozzarella cheeses have little added sugar. By comparison, Kraft Singles have 20 times the amount of sugar.
Taco Bell uses corn syrup solids for its taco shells. Corn syrup solids were derived from corn during the refining process. Refined cane sugar is another source of sugar. Both have been stripped of their fiber and turned into sweet syrups.
In addition to being loaded with sugar, fast food meals can be dangerous to eat if you regularly indulge in these choices. Studies show that eating three or more meals from restaurants or drive-through windows increases risk factors associated with heart disease and obesity. Eating away from home can increase the number of calories consumed, leading to weight gain. Additionally, restaurant portions are commonly larger than recommended meal size guidelines. To avoid overeating at restaurants, try ordering salads, appetizers or side dishes instead of main courses.
So, let’s say you love pizza but want to stay within health recommendations. What should you do? There are several ways to cut down on sugar without sacrificing taste. For starters, use lower-fat topping alternatives such as spinach leaves, broccoli florets, bell peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and black olives. You could also go vegetarian and enjoy a veggie pizza instead. If you must have cheese, opt for reduced-fat varieties. And don’t forget to ask for extra veggies and sauces on the side so that you can control portion sizes. Finally, always read nutrition labels carefully before purchasing packaged goods.
According to the National Weight Control Registry, the majority of long-term dieters who successfully lose 30 pounds or more and keep it off for at least five years eat fewer than 800 calories a day. Their diets consist mostly of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, seafood, poultry, eggs and low-fat dairy products. They also seldom eat red meat, fried foods and junk food.
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