Eat A Whole Pizza And Lose Weight? Fun With A Pizza Calculator

Last night I was hungry for some pizza and decided to give Papa John’s a whirl.  One of the interesting things about Papa Johns is that they have a nutrition calculator that will provide you the nutrition facts of a pizza given any particular combination of toppings.  I thought it would be fun to compare the kind of pizza I used to eat to the one I ordered last night.  I knew there would be some major differences, but I was stunned just how drastically the nutritional profile of a pizza changes based on the topping selection.

In my previous life, I would have ordered this beast:

  • Original crust, large 14″
  • Regular pizza sauce
  • Extra cheese, three cheese blend + Parmesan
  • Bacon and Pepperoni
  • Black olives, mushrooms, green peppers and onions

Last night, I ordered a veggie pizza like this:

  • Original crust, large 14″
  • Extra pizza sauce
  • No cheese
  • mushrooms x 2, green peppers and onions

The first thing about the veggie pizza that surprised me was the taste.  I was completely satisfied with the pizza.  I didn’t even miss the cheese not being on it.  Papa’s has such great crust, and their garlic sauce (which is also veggie) tastes so good on it, that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  However, as you will see, I was missing out on quite a bit…

Here’s the nutritional breakdown of the meat and cheese pizza:

  • Total Calories 3320 Cal
  • Calories From Fat 1320 Cal
  • Total Fat 136.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 56.0 g
  • Cholesterol 360 mg
  • Sodium 7880 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 304.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 8.0 g
  • Sugars 32.0 g
  • Protein 128.0 g

Look at the saturated fat!  If we throw in the garlic sauce, the total comes to 60 grams!  That’s an absolutely enormous amount artery clogging fat.  The AHA guidelines state that no more than 5% of your calories should come from saturated fats.  Since fat contains 9 calories per gram, the total calories from saturated fat in this pizza comes to 540, which is around 16%.  It’s worth noting that your ideal saturated fat intake should be zero.  You don’t need it, and any amount is bad for you.

As a relatively big guy, I used to kill an entire pizza like this on my own.  Even if I did a moderately intense workout and ate nothing all day except for this pizza, I would still be well over my calorie budget of 3000 calories.

Here’s the breakdown from the veggie pizza:

  • Total Calories 1720 Cal
  • Calories From Fat 240 Cal
  • Total Fat 24.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.0 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 3720 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 304.0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 16.0 g
  • Sugars 40.0 g
  • Protein 40.0 g

+ 1 Garlic Sauce cup, with 150 calories and 3 grams saturated fat

The first thing that jumps out is the calorie difference.  The day I ordered this pizza I ate pretty sparingly during the work day, consuming a box of refried beans, a few coffees and a handful of walnuts, which came to around 500 calories.  However, even after consuming this entire pizza, along with the additional 500 calories I previously ate, my total caloric intake for the day only came to 2400 calories.  So even though I didn’t workout that day, I still came in 300 calories under my budget of 2700.  In other words, I ate a whole pizza and still managed to lose weight without a workout.

I dropped my total saturated fat intake for the day to just 3 grams from the garlic cup, and I slashed my sodium intake in half.  I also dropped my cholesterol intake to zero, which is probably why my blood work says I have a total cholesterol below 150 now.

As we can see from the calculator, simply dropping the cheese and meat from the pizza cut the calories in half and slashed the bad fats and cholesterol to virtually nothing.  I came away completely satisfied and I managed to loose weight to boot!  Next time you sit down to a big fat slice of pizza, I hope you keep these facts in mind.

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