Is There Such Thing as a Healthier Pizza?

ByABC News via logo
January 21, 2006, 1:03 PM

Jan. 21, 2006 — -- Pizza may be the most popular food in the United States. In fact, 93 percent of Americans eat it at least once a month, which translates to 350 slices of pizza eaten across the country every second, according to the National Association of Pizza Operators.

Still, although it remains hugely popular, pizza's reputation as a fatty, high-caloric food has caused some Americans to shy away from it over the past 10 years.

Pizza Hut makes the world's most popular pizza -- but some of its varieties pack a caloric wallop. For instance, the stuffed crust meat lovers pizza has 450 calories and 21 grams of fat a slice.

On a lighter note, a slice of Pizza Hut cheese pizza has 240 calories and eight grams of fat. And the chain's newest variety, fit 'n delicious pizza, has only 150 calories and four grams of fat -- but be careful.

"With this pizza, it's really easy to eat three or four slices, so you have to be careful not to fall into the trap," said Heidi Skolnik, a weight-loss coach at Men's Health magazine. "Don't be fooled by the name: You're almost better off eating plain cheese, which has fewer calories and fat grams than two slices of fit 'n delicious."

Dominos offers a comparable slice -- the thin crust veggie has just 130 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. A slice of plain cheese has 210 calories and eight grams of fat. A slice of Dominos deep dish extravaganza feast pizza has 430 calories and 23 grams of fat.

"You know, pizza isn't bad for you when it's normal, healthy portions," said Skolnik. "When you get deep dish with the extra cheese and the double stuffed meat, then it's too much calories and fat, and just too much food."

Skolnik prefers ZPizza and Jules Thin Crust Pizza, both of which are made with organic ingredients. Jules Thin Crust Pizza is ordered by the inch.

"This is where we're really seeing the trend," said Skolnik. "Not just a thinner slice, but healthier slices. ZPizza offers a lot of alternatives, like fat-free cheese or soy cheese, so that's good. But you still have to pick and choose what you want on top."

A slice of ZPizza with organic tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes and mozzarella is 160 calories, with six grams of fat.

American flatbread is a new band of frozen pizza that also is made with organic ingredients. A slice of its homemade organic tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms and cheese pizza has 270 calories and eight grams of fat.

"It's not unhealthy, but it's not that much better for you," Skolnick said. "This really comes down to flavor. Don't be tricked by the whole flatbread thing."