This Person Should Never Eat Pizza, Science Says
There may be no food more comforting and delicious than pizza. Meat, veggies, cheeses, all loaded on top of buttery bread and baked to perfection. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unfortunately, even though it's a beloved favorite, pizza also may cause some health problems or discomfort for people with certain dietary restrictions or complications.
So who should give up pizza?
Well, no one, exactly. We aren't here to tell you that you need to give up one of the most satisfying foods out there—especially because it's important that you eat the foods you love! (And try adding any of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now to your list of favorites.)
"Including your favorite foods in your diet is a crucial part of health because food should also be bringing you happiness and satisfaction," says Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies and founder of Laura Burak Nutrition.
But there are certain types of people who may want to be careful when choosing the type of pizza they eat and how often they consume it.
"If you cannot tolerate pizza for health reasons, there are so many options available these days to accommodate any allergy or preference," says Burak.
Who exactly are the people that need to be careful when it comes to eating pizza?
If you have a gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, or lactose intolerance.
According to the American College of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology, there is actually no such thing as a gluten allergy. There are gluten intolerances or wheat allergies, with one of the most severe being Celiac disease. Celiac deals with your digestive tract, and ingesting wheat gluten can be an incredibly uncomfortable and painful experience for those with Celiac. Many people often diagnose themselves with a gluten intolerance without consulting a doctor, but the ACAAI highly recommends seeing a specialist before eliminating it from your diet.
If someone with a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance were to eat a standard slice of pizza, they may experience symptoms such as hives, nausea, headaches, or a runny nose. The good news is that with all of the options out there, it has become easier to make adjustments. So those who have Celiac can still enjoy pizza! It just has to be a little different.
You can try eating pizza with gluten-free bread crust, cauliflower crust, or crusts made from another vegetable like broccoli or kale crust. It's also a good idea to check and make sure your cheeses and other toppings are gluten-free as well.
If you are lactose intolerant, you'll still be able to eat certain types of cheese on your pizza, but it may require you to cook your own at home. If you're not a fan of dairy-free cheese, you can try cheeses like gorgonzola, aged parmesan, gruyere, or fontina, which all contain <0.1 grams of lactose per 100 grams. Depending on your level of intolerance, you may be OK with mozzarella (0.7 grams per 100 grams) or cheddar (0.5 grams per 100 grams). Some restaurants may use multiple types of cheeses though, so it is always safer to make your own or order something with dairy-free cheese. (If you're looking for more ideas, check out the easy way to make healthier comfort foods.)
And if you happen to have another health condition, you're going to want to monitor your pizza intake…
If you have high cholesterol.
According to Harvard School of Public Health, your cholesterol levels are more heavily influenced by the fat and carbohydrates you consume, not necessarily the actual cholesterol in a food item. And according to John Hopkins Medicine, the best way to eat healthy when you're battling your cholesterol levels is to do your best to lower your saturated and trans fats.
If you're a pizza-lover with high cholesterol, it might be helpful to avoid delivery pizza when possible. While you don't have to avoid Domino's forever, it's important to monitor how often you order delivery and look for ways to make some adjustments. You could always try a pizza night and create your own, which will allow you to control your ingredients.
It would be too cruel of a fate to have to give up pizza forever. But if you have certain dietary complications, it may be good to watch how much you're eating, what type, and how balanced the rest of your diet is.
"My clients often report pizza as one of the foods they love the most [and] tend to avoid because of health and weight reasons, but I know that it can absolutely be part of a healthy diet as long as you balance it out with other foods," says Burak.