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Pizza may be one of the healthiest fast-food options -- if you make the right choices. Toppings such as cheese, sauce and meat, as well as any condiments, all contribute to the caloric content of pizza, as does the crust. Whole-wheat pizza may be a fairly healthy choice if it is topped with fiber-filled vegetables, tomato sauce and a small amount of cheese.
Although whole-wheat pizza may contain many beneficial nutrients, it also may contain a great deal of fat due to the cheese topping. For example, one-quarter of a whole-wheat Margherita pizza contains a whopping 13.3 g of fat, of which 4.6 g are saturated. Saturated fat should be limited in your diet due to the increase in heart-disease risk with high consumption. If possible, choose low-fat cheese instead.
Whole-wheat pizza may contain a good deal of protein, which is found in the crust, cheese and toppings such as meat. A serving of one-quarter of a whole-wheat Margherita pizza contains 15.4 g protein, which is about 28 percent of the protein a 150-lb. person needs daily. Protein helps to keep you satisfied after eating and slows the rate at which food leaves the stomach. It is also needed to build and repair the body's tissues.
Whole-wheat crust is desirable over regular crust because of the increased fiber content. White flour has been refined, stripping it of nearly all of its beneficial fiber. A serving of one-quarter of a whole-wheat Margherita pizza contains 7 g fiber, fulfilling 28 percent of your daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Like protein, fiber helps you stay satisfied after eating and creates a sensation of fullness. It is also needed for healthy digestion.
Vitamins and Minerals
Whole-wheat pizza is a source of many essential vitamins and minerals. The crust is a source of whole grains, which contain B vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium. The cheese provides calcium, which is important for bone health. If you choose to top your pizza with vegetables, it will also contain additional vitamins. Tomato sauce is another source of vitamin C. Meat also contains B vitamins, vitamin E and zinc.
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- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Whole Wheat Pizza Margherita
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety; Douglas Paddon-Jones, et al; May 2008
- United States Department of Agriculture: Why Is It Important to Eat Grains, Especially Whole Grains?
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber, Essential for a Healthy Diet; November 2009
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vitamins and Minerals; February 2011
Jinan Banna began writing professionally in 2009. She has contributed an article on perceptions of fast food among university students to "JO" magazine in Amman, Jordan. Banna is currently teaching nutrition online through the University of Phoenix. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in nutritional biology from the University of California, Davis and is also a Registered Dietitian.
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