How Many Calories Are In Pizza?
Pizza is a favorite food for many of us. But what if you're trying to lose weight or improve your eating habits? Is pizza healthy? And how many calories are in a slice of pizza? A few simple tips can help you boost the nutrition in pizza to keep your healthy eating program on track.
Pizza Calories and Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for one slice (g) of regular cheese pizza from a typical fast-food pizza chain.
- Fat: g
- Sodium: mg
- Carbohydrates: g
- Fiber: g
- Sugars: g
- Protein: g
Pizza calories and nutrition can vary substantially based on the toppings, the cooking method, the crust, and the size of the pizza slice. A very small slice (1/8th of the whole pizza or 80 grams) of cheese pizza is likely to provide only calories. Other types of cheese pizza, depending on the serving size and where you find them, might have calories a serving or more.
But a typical slice of cheese pizza from many popular pizza chains like Pizza Hut (1/5th of the pie or grams) is more likely to provide calories or more. A single ounce slice of Costco cheese pizza provides over calories.
The following table is a breakdown of the nutrition facts for different toppings and various styles of pizza, according to USDA data. Note that these numbers can also vary depending on where the pizza is made—whether it's served at a restaurant or fast-food establishment or pre-made, packaged, and sold at a grocery store.
|Nutrition Facts for Pizza Toppings Per Slice|
|Meat and Veggies||g||mg||g||g||g||g|
Pizza With the Highest Calories
Pizza that is loaded with meat will not only add calories, but will increase your intake of saturated fat. For this reason, a pizza loaded with processed meats is generally going to be some of the unhealthiest pizza you can eat. The style of pizza (thin or thick crust, deep dish, etc.) also makes a difference in the calorie count. Here's a look at how different toppings and preparation styles can increase your calories per slice.
- Processed meat: A typical slice of sausage or pepperoni pizza contains between – calories.
- Extra cheese: A slice of plain cheese pizza is one of the lowest-calorie options you can choose from, but when you double the cheese you ramp up your calorie intake to or more per gram serving.
- Fast-food pizzas: A slice of cheese pizza from a fast-food chain is calories.
- Frozen pizzas: Frozen pizzas, while not fresh, are slightly lower in calories. A gram serving of store-bought frozen pizza contains around calories.
- Deep dish: A slice of deep dish pizza from fast-food chains like Domino's contain calories. But other deep dish pizzas can be much lower at calories in a single serving.
For the sake of counting calories, assume that each type of meat that you add to your pizza adds about 40 calories per slice. Of course, that number can vary quite a bit. Your pizza chef might be heavy-handed and adds a lot of sausage or pepperoni, or maybe they go lighter on the toppings depending on their style. If exact nutrition information isn't readily available, it's a good estimate.
The calorie count of pizza can vary according to the toppings, style, and serving size. You can also choose to cut a few more calories by not eating the crust.
The Lowest Calorie Pizza Per Slice
Your lowest calorie pizza choice, aside from a plain cheese pizza, will almost always be a vegetarian cheese pizza. A slice from most veggie pizzas provides around – calories. Vegetables provide flavor with very few calories compared to meat toppings.
Choosing veggie toppings like green peppers, tomatoes, and onions will also add diet-friendly fiber and antioxidants while cutting calories. You might even try spinach or broccoli. Eventually, you may find you prefer veggies like bell peppers and mushrooms on your pizza instead of heavier meat toppings.
Foolproof Ways to Make Vegetables Taste Good
Tips to Reduce the Calories in Pizza
So what's the easiest way to cut calories in a slice of pizza? Reducing the cheese by half will save calories, saturated fat, and sodium. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at how much cheese is still left on your pizza after cutting it by half. If you don't want to reduce the amount of cheese on your pizza, request part-skim cheese instead of whole-fat cheese, if possible.
For the lowest-calorie pizza choices, go cheese-free. Order no cheese on your pizza and then dust each slice lightly with grated Parmesan. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top to add extra zip if you need it. Other lower-calorie options include extra lean ground beef, ground turkey breast, and grilled or roasted chicken.
If you can't order a leaner meat, you can still cut calories from your pepperoni or sausage pizza. Use an absorbent paper towel or several paper napkins to soak up some of the grease from your slice. The amount of calories you save will be tricky to calculate and will vary based on how much grease you dab. But you might remove anywhere from 15–40 calories.
At home or in a restaurant, use these additional tips to enjoy lower-calorie, healthier pizza:
- Order thin crust pizza to consume fewer carbs, calories, fat, and sodium.
- Replace regular crust with a whole-wheat crust to get nearly 20% of your fiber needs for the day.
- Swap the toppings. Instead of pepperoni or sausage, try Canadian bacon or chorizo—a spicy Mexican smoked sausage variety—which will save you a few calories per serving while still providing a smoky flavor.
- Avoid dipping sauce like garlic butter or ranch to save hundreds of calories (especially if you double or triple dip your slices).
- Skip the breadsticks. Indulging in just one large breadstick will add almost calories to your meal.
- White pizza can be higher in calories than traditional pizza because pesto, extra cheese, or olive oil is used in place of low-calorie tomato sauce. With just one vegetable topping, a typical slice of white pizza with a thick crust provides close to calories. Order regular or thin crust to save on the calories.
- Visit a locally owned pizzeria. A small restaurant may offer a greater variety of healthy toppings and options for customization than chain restaurants. Options might include grilled shrimp, green peas, asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, black beans, corn, spicy fajita chicken, lemon grilled chicken, or fresh minced garlic.
How to Make Pizza at Home
Of course, the healthiest option for pizza is to make your own at home from scratch. To make a healthier pizza, use a non-stick pizza pan. A standard non-stick pan works well, too, but there are also brands like T-Fal that make perforated round copper pans just for pizza. The perforation helps air circulate so the crust heats evenly, and the surface reduces the need for oil and makes cleanup easier. You also cut up to calories per slice if you skip the olive oil when you bake.
Load up on healthy toppings like colorful vegetables and lean meat. Get as creative as you like—you might swap marinara and mozzarella for a low-fat pesto and butternut squash option, or skip the wheat flour altogether and try a low-carb "meatza."
A Word From Verywell
Pizza of any kind can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in moderation. But making healthier choices about toppings and watching portion sizes can help ensure that you can savor every bite of your pizza pie without consuming too many extra calories.
While many people have advocated for a "pizza diet" to lose weight, nutrition and health experts don't recommend it. As always, the best diet is one that is nutrient-dense and well-balanced and suits your individual lifestyle.
The Basics of a Healthy, Balanced Diet
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How Many Calories Are in a Slice of Cheese Pizza?
The number of calories in a slice of cheese pizza depends on the brand, however it's typically around calories.
Image Credit: Nadinlargo/iStock/GettyImages
There's no debating it: Cheese pizza is delicious. The calories in a slice of pizza, however, aren't quite as mouth-watering to think about. That's because most pizza nutrition facts are anything but healthy — even with just cheese toppings.
The number of calories in a slice of cheese pizza depends on the brand, however it's typically around calories.
Cheese Pizza Calories by Slice
To state that the number of calories in a slice of pizza is identical across the board would be a disservice to you, the reader. So bear with us as we discuss not one, not two, but five popular pizza brands, to uncover the number of calories in a piece of cheese pizza.
Let's start with Domino's. According to the brand's cal-o-meter, one slice from a medium hand-tossed cheese pizza (one-eighth of the pie) comprises calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, 9 grams of protein and 20 milligrams of cholesterol. With thin crust, you're looking at calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of protein and 35 milligrams of cholesterol for one-quarter of the pie.
According to Pizza Hut's nutritional information, one slice from a medium hand-tossed cheese pizza (one-eighth of the pie) contains calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 10 grams of protein and 25 milligrams of cholesterol. If you opt for a Thin 'N Crispy crust, you're looking at calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 9 grams of protein and 25 milligrams of cholesterol for one-eighth of the pie.
Then there's Papa John's. A medium slice of original crust cheese pizza (one-eighth of the pie) consists of calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 8 grams of protein and 20 milligrams of cholesterol. A slice of thin crust contains calories, 20 grams of carbs, grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, 8 grams of protein and 25 milligrams of cholesterol for one-eighth of a large inch pizza, as that's the only size their thin crust is available in, according to the calculator.
It's not delivery, it's Digiorno. And, while this option might seem like a better choice, one slice from a rising crust four cheese pizza (one-sixth of the pie) comprises calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, 14 grams of protein and 25 milligrams of cholesterol. If you opt for a classic thin crust, you're looking at calories, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 15 grams of protein and 30 milligrams of cholesterol, for one-fifth of the pizza.
Last but not least, let's look at Red Baron. One-fourth of a classic crust four cheese pizza contains calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 16 grams of protein and 45 milligrams of cholesterol. If, instead, you choose a thin and crispy crust, one-third of the pizza contains calories, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 16 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 13 grams of protein and 25 milligrams of cholesterol.
Pizza Nutrition Facts
In order to understand pizza nutrition facts, it's important to consider the daily recommended dosages of each nutrient. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, female adults should be consuming between 1, and 2, calories a day, whereas males should be eating between 2, and 3, Of those calories, carbohydrates should account for between 45 and 65 percent, fats should account for 20 to 35 percent and proteins should make up the remaining 10 to 35 percent.
What's more, the guidelines recommend that adults ages 19 and older consume no more than grams of carbohydrates a day to maintain optimal health. Again, considering that most people eat a couple (if not a few) slices of pizza in one sitting, it's easy for those carbohydrates (and calories) to add up.
Then there's the cholesterol angle. While there is no set recommendation for cholesterol in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the authors suggest consuming no more than milligrams per day. Since a single slice of cheese pizza has between 25 and 45 milligrams of cholesterol, this is another nutrient that adds up fast — not to mention one of the most concerning, since, according to MedLinePlus, high cholesterol foods are associated with obesity, heart disease and more.
The same is true for saturated fat. According to MedLinePlus, saturated fats should make up no more than 7 percent of your daily calories, which comes out to about 16 to 22 grams per day. That's because diets high in saturated fats are linked to a risk of heart disease and weight gain.
As much as you might love pizza, even plain cheese slices can wreak havoc on your health if consumed regularly. That said, do your best to save this savory dish for special occasions, and to look for ways to create your own at home with healthier, fresher ingredients.
Although pizza gets a bad rap as a guilty pleasure food, it can have some nutritional value depending on the sauce and toppings. How the pizza crust is made will also affect the number of calories and overall health benefits. Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour increases the amount of complex carbs. This also increases nutrient density, and whole grains are linked to reduced risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes. What you put on top of the pizza makes the biggest difference in overall nutrition of the slice you’re eating. High-calorie toppings include cheese, greasy sausage, alfredo (white) sauce, and salamis such as the ever-popular pepperoni. Pizzas with less calories are topped with lots of veggies like peppers, fresh greens like spinach, and mushrooms. Because the number of calories in pizza can vary so widely, this calorie chart should be used as a general guideline, except in the case of specific restaurant items, for example Pizza Hut.
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