Frozen pizza is delicious, quick, easy, and usually very affordable. And although it may be the star of the frozen food section, it's also proof not all that glitters is gold.
So while it may be a convenient and yummy treat to have for dinner, it's important to consume frozen pizza in moderation and to read the nutrition label so you can choose one that isn't as bad as the rest.
Read on to learn more about the harmful side effects of frozen pizza, and for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
The love of frozen pizza
It's no surprise that frozen pizza is so popular—or frozen foods in general, for that matter. According to an industry report, frozen and prepackaged foods are being consumed at an increasing rate because of their affordability and convenience, and frozen pizza sales specifically are set to grow significantly between now and 2025.
This report also states that there has been a recent development in the advancement of cryogenic equipment, which helps make the freezing of things like pizza, baked goods, and bread possible. So in other words, frozen foods are here to stay, which is why it's important that we know what to look for when it comes to frozen pizza.
What is in frozen pizza?
One of the most common denominators between frozen pizzas is the extremely high sodium content. Take, for example, DiGiorno Pepperoni Frozen Pizza with Rising Crust. In just one serving, which is about 1/6 of the pizza, you consume a whopping 760 milligrams of sodium.
In a serving of California Pizza Kitchen Sicilian Frozen Pizza, you're looking at 980 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is 43% of your daily recommended value in just a few slices!
What you'll notice next are the fat calories, especially the ones from saturated fat. The DiGiorgno pizza comes with 12 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated fat. And the one from California Pizza Kitchen has 17 grams of fat with 8 of those being saturated.
There are also higher levels of refined carbohydrates in frozen pizza, usually in the form of either enriched white or wheat flour. Refined carbohydrates can be problematic because these are the types of carbohydrates that have been processed to the point of losing a lot of their nutritional value, including their fiber.
What this means for your health
For example, eating too much saturated fat can raise your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, and eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Both of these health conditions can, unfortunately, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
And according to a study from Missouri Medicine, a diet high in refined carbohydrates can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
How to enjoy frozen pizza in a healthier way
Thankfully, pizza lovers don't have to say goodbye to frozen pizza forever. Although you may want to steer clear of the brands packed with sodium, saturated fat, and refined carbs, there are many different types of "healthier" options you can choose from in the frozen food section.
For example, you can try a pizza like Amy's Margherita Pizza, which is lower in saturated fat and sodium than other popular brands.
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, and a member of our medical expert board, recently shared in an article that one of her favorite frozen pizzas to buy is Alex's Awesome Sourdough. Although it's unfortunately still high in sodium and saturated fat, it is made with real sourdough bread, which is known to benefit your gut health.
However, if you prefer buying those name brands you love, an easy way to still enjoy these pizzas and stay healthy is to portion out your slices—and serve your pizza with a hearty side of vegetables, like a side salad or cut up veggies. This boosts the fiber count of your meal, which helps you to feel full and keeps you from overeating.
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