Pizza is an extremely popular food choice, yet many people think of it as a dreadfully unhealthy meal.
Is pizza the very worst you can do, though? Hardly. One common option many people feel great about eating, as they consider it to be a perfect and healthy start to the day, was actually found, on average, to be far more damaging than pizza.
It’s true! When you look at the calories your typical pizza or cereal will add to your tally, they are surprisingly similar. Not to mention that pizza has a higher nutritional value when compared to cereal.
Sandwiches are also usually considered healthier than pizza, despite having similar ingredients. Why is it that people are always made to feel guilty about chomping into a slice of pizza (or, OK, the entire thing), while sandwiches may be just as unhealthy?
The Difference Between Pizza and Cereal
Cereal, while a popular breakfast food, doesn’t actually give you that much energy to get you started for the day — it’s empty carbs. The cereal itself is very high in sugar, while pizza contains a lot less of that.
Most cereals load you up with about 150 calories per serving, but the reality is that most people eat more than the recommend serving size, bumping the calories up to about 250. Pizza isn’t on the low end of the calorie spectrum, either. One slice from Pizza Hut is packed with around 290 calories, while a frozen pizza comes out at a whopping 380 calories.
Pizza is technically a lot healthier than cereal, but that certainly does not make it healthy. In fact, frozen pizza and fast food pizza are among the unhealthiest foods you could possibly pick. Eating pizza (way) too often may also increase your risk of heart disease and raise your blood-sugar levels.
Pizza is known to be unhealthy though, while sandwiches are mostly considered to be an excellent lunch choice. When you really think about that, you know you’re deceiving yourself; grilled cheese? Healthy? Really?
Just How Unhealthy Are Sandwiches?
This is a trick question. Sandwiches can be very nutritious. They can also be extremely unhealthy. It entirely depends on what ingredients you decide to put in your sandwich, including the bread. With so many different choices, how healthy your sandwich is varies on the bread meat vegetables and cheese you choose.
When it comes to fast food sandwiches, almost all of them contain unhealthy ingredients and have shocking calorie amounts. Burger King’s Triple Whopper With Cheese, for instance, has an astonishing 1299 calories. The Triple Whopper contains 90 grams of fat and a lot of cholesterol and sodium, making it a very bad choice. This is only one of many fatty and downright unhealthy sandwiches.
The unhealthiest sandwich ingredients include:
- White bread — Let’s be honest; white bread tastes good, and whole grain bread may not seem so appealing. Despite it’s tastiness, white bread doesn’t really have any nutritional value. White bread is made from “refined wheat” which means certain layers are removed, getting rid of the protein and fiber. It can also increase your blood-sugar levels because of the low fiber and protein. White bread is also shown to increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Given its very low nutritional value, white bread is not a good choice.
- Processed meat — Processed meats are preserved by either drying, salting, curing, canning, or smoking. While some meats themselves can actually be very healthy, processed meats are among the worst foods you can eat. Processed meat is full of many harmful chemicals which are certainly not good for you. Many studies have linked eating processed meats with various chronic diseases such as bowel and stomach cancer, high blood pressure, heat disease, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Processed cheese — Cheese is actually healthy, as long as you don’t have too much of it, and filled with nutrients. However, just like the processed meat, processed cheese is nowhere close to healthy. Processed cheese isn’t even real cheese and is mostly filled with chemicals. Some of these chemicals are to make sure it melts properly while others give it that classic yellow look. The food colorings used in this “cheese” are called Yellow 6 and Yellow Tartrazine. Sodium phosphate is another chemical included in your fake cheese, which is shown to be safe for regular people by the FDA, but could be a risk for those with high blood pressure and kidney problems.
- Ranch Dressing — Ranch dressing is another popular sandwich ingredient that is both unhealthy for you and contains a lot of calories. This unhealthy dressing is full with sugar, preservation, and sugar. Only one tablespoon of ranch dressing is about 65 calories!
At the end of the day, none of these food “types” are unhealthy in and of themselves.
Cereal? A nice, low-sugar, home-cooked oatmeal with fresh fruits can be pretty good.
Pizza? If you make your own with wholegrain flour, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and some tender mozzarella, that can be healthy too, so long as you don’t have it every day.
Sandwiches? Sure! Your homemade sourdough bread loaded with alfalfa and avocado is going to be healthy, too.
What you want to stay away from, ultimately, is the fast food rip-offs that masquerade as real meals.