Is Pizza Good for Weight Loss? The Answer Will Surprise You!

pizza for weight loss

Pizza is undoubtedly one of the most popular dishes in the United States, but can it support your weight loss goals? There are mixed opinions about whether pizza is good for weight loss. 

Some experts say that eating a slice of pizza once in a while won’t affect your weight. However, if you overeat this food, it will lead to weight gain. 

Following a healthy balanced diet is not an easy task. That’s why, for many people, the idea of losing weight by eating pizza sounds like a dream come true. This article covers pizza, nutrition, and how to make sure that your next slice is as healthy as possible.

Why Does Pizza Cause You to Overeat?

Before we discuss how you might be able to fit pizza into your weight loss journey, let’s talk about moderation. Despite its ingredients and nutritional makeup, pizza is one of those foods that cause us to eat past fulfillment. Yes, pizza tastes great, but there is more to it than that. Highly palatable foods like pizza lead to the release of dopamine (the feel-good hormone), which is particularly enticing if you are stressed or overwhelmed. Over time, this may lead you to seek out that feeling more and more often. Eventually, you don’t get that same reward and need to increase your consumption to get the same level of dopamine.

Such can create addictive-like or compulsive-eating behaviors that become challenging to control.

Is Pizza Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, it is technically possible to lose weight while eating pizza, but it does come with strings attached. To lose weight while eating pizza, you’ll have to control your portions and choose healthier ingredients and toppings. You’ll also need to work out to cut calories out elsewhere; weight loss isn’t about only about the food choices itself but also about the energy you’re consuming.

If you opt for a veggie-only offering with light cheese and no meat toppings, you’ll be looking at about 235 calories per slice.

The Stats on Pizza 

Pizza, it’s been said, is the second most popular food in the United States (behind only the mighty hamburger) and is a staple in many countries worldwide. Because of its popularity, pizza has had numerous studies devoted to it over the years.

Three billion pizzas are sold in the U.S. annually, and more than 90 percent of Americans have ate pizza at least once in their life. That’s a lot of pizza!

Many people in America have tried going on diets to cut out certain food groups, but it never works. The problem with these diets is that they are too restrictive and don’t allow for any indulgences. 

A better solution is to adjust your diet with time and to get the right balance for you – for long-term sustainability.

A single slice of pizza contains about 300 calories. It’s an indulgent treat for most people, but it’s important not to lose sight of how many calories are in that one slice of pizza. That said, it should be a once-in-a-while food, not an everyday staple food.

But if you look at the ingredients of a typical pizza, it doesn’t seem like such healthy food. There’s flour, cheese, meat, and fried veggies – not precisely what you would consider  “clean eating.” 

What is the Nutrition and Calorie Content of a Slice of Pizza?

Most people would consider that pizza is delicious, but what about the health benefits? Here’s a breakdown of the nutrition facts of a slice of cheese pizza (107g) for simplicity’s sake as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

  • 285 calories
  • Carbohydrates: 35.7g 
  • Fat: 10.4g
  • 2.5g fiber
  • 3.8g Sugars 
  • 12.2g protein
  • Sodium (mg): 640mg

What’s the Deal with the “Pizza Diet?”

The pizza diet consists of exclusively eating pizza for 30 days. It’s a diet we don’t recommend because of its lack of nutritional makeup, which a person needs to remain healthy and to have a balanced sustainable lifestyle choice. However, here are the details on this fad diet that some have used to lose weight for some time.

The pizza diet is a weight loss fad contributed to Matt McClellan. He reported having lost 24 pounds in 30 days by eating only a slice of pizza, topped with vegetables and lean meat (2,400 calories total), every three hours and working out for one hour each day.

The pizza diet has become an urban legend. However, many physicians and nutritionists unanimously agree that this pizza diet is an unsustainable and ultimately unhealthy way to lose weight.

How to Eat Pizza and Not Gain Weight?

Pizza can be delicious without it being bad for you. You can choose how to make your own healthy and delicious pizza at home with some extra ingredients. This way you can have your cake and eat it too!

Here’s how to eat pizza and lose weight while doing it:

1. Control the Portion

Portion size is an essential factor in the calorie intake and weight reduction equation. If you want pizza, go for a thin crust (1-2 slices) and pair it with a large raw vegetable salad with a homemade low-fat salad dressing. 

Avoid super-sized quantities while cutting yourself a piece of pizza. Keep in mind that a thinner crust pizza contains fewer calories than a deep-dish crust pizza. 

2. Make Your Pizza at Home

To cut calories, prepare your pizza at home and swap out the items that are often higher in fat. Such ingredients include choosing low-fat cheese, topping the pizza with different veggies, and switching to leaner meats, if adding meat to your pizza.

The pizza with cheese and pepperoni is a no-no because it contains more than 500 calories per slice. So, you should avoid it if you want to lose weight.

3. Count the Calories 

The most important part is considering the calories. The first step to any effective weight loss program is to create a calorie deficit. Eating a slice of “healthy” pizza and getting your daily caloric intake can benefit weight loss.

On average, one slice of pizza contains around 285 calories. Depending on how many portions you eat in a day, you could easily consume 1,000-1,200 calories within a short period of time.

4. Avoid Dipping Sauce

The sauce is one of the main factors for nutrition in pizza. Avoid garlic butter and ranch sauces. The healthiest option is no sauce at all. 

5. Use Fruits and Veggie Toppings

While a slice of pizza might have around 300 calories, if you choose your toppings carefully and cut out the thick crusts, you can reduce those calories in half.

Replacing the meat with vegetable toppings or other low-calorie whole foods can turn a single slice into a meal with minimal calories. You could go for toppings such as:

  • bell peppers
  • mushrooms
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • green peppers
  • onions
  • tomatoes

6. Use Lean Protein

The point is to go for lean meat, so avoid processed meats like pepperoni and bacon and opt for healthier sources such as:

  • grilled chicken
  • pork (unprocessed)
  • sirloin steak

7. Cut Down the Cheese 

The majority of people overeat cheese. If you want to lose weight quickly, cut down on your cheese consumption; consider raw cheese if you can’t cut it down. 

Some people may even decide to not include cheese on their pizza. Besides the health benefits of cutting out cheese, you may also notice that your skin looks healthier, you may feel less bloated, and feel an improvement in your digestion.

8. Whole-Wheat Crusts Instead of White Flour

Choose whole-wheat crusts over the regular crusts since they are usually full of fiber vital for digestion. Another suggestion is to consider cauliflower crusts.

So Should You Eat Pizza?

Pizza can contribute to anyone’s weight loss journey if you make the right choices and abstain from overeating. Choose a thin crust and eat it with vegetables piled on top. If you do this, pizza can be an occasional treat on your journey to health and balance!

However, keep in mind that while pizza can be part of a healthy diet, you should not exclusively rely on it for health, nutrition, and weight loss.

We’ve covered how you can potentially eat pizza while still losing weight, but that does not mean pizza is always good for you. Weight is not the sole measure of health. Nutritional needs vary from person to person and depend on current health, activity levels, and fitness goals.

Want to Work Together?

Ultimately, we all know that prolonged health takes more than your choice of pizza toppings – it is a journey of good decisions. Are you struggling to make good decisions? Are you a tired, overwhelmed, or stressed woman who’s beginning to experience negative health issues such as digestive problems, chronic inflammation, aging prematurely, and weight gain? After consistently putting in long hours and juggling too many priorities, are you desperate to make a change? 

It’s easy to neglect personal wellness in exchange for what feels good and that never-ending to-do list. The thought of adding one more thing to your list – wellness – may even tip the scale. Take the guesswork out of the individual steps needed to find balance and optimal health and let the Green Balanced Gal Wellness Program lead the way. You are unique, your food and lifestyle choices should be too, and thankfully, the Green Balanced Gal approach to wellness is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Get started today with the coaching support you need to feel your very best – mind, body, and soul! 

I want to guide you through taking back the balance and health in your life. I’d love to jump on a call with you to see how we can work together. Schedule a time here>>

About Amy

I'm an Integrative Health Coach for career-oriented, busy women in search of finding balance, wellness, and lifestyle transformation in an overworked, stressful, and boundary-blurring world.

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