Let’s face it: Most of us love pizza. It’s warm, gooey, and topped with whatever it is your heart desires, from pepperoni to pineapple. But with all the bread, cheese, sauce, and salt coming together for a delicious meal, is it bad for your body to chow down on pizza? What really happens when you eat pizza?
We’re breaking down the burning question, once and for all.
You might crave more food that is high in saturated fats and sodium.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, a study on adolescents and young adults who consumed pizza often revealed that on days when they ate pizza, they actually ate more food that was heavy in saturated fats and sodium.
So why did this happen? Well, it could be due to the fact that studies have shown saturated fats to be highly addictive. Essentially, the more saturated fats we eat, the more we will want to eat. And according to an article in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, high saturated fat content can weaken the dopamine functions that are connected to the reward and motivation areas of your brain. Your body will crave these foods more often, and we may naturally want to reward yourself with foods like pizza.
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You may increase your risk of heart disease.
If you eat pizza topped with plenty of meats like pepperoni, you might want to reconsider. According to Pub Med, processed meats like pepperoni, sausage, and cold cuts have been linked to obesity, some cancers, and heart disease. Eating larger amounts of these processed meats, especially if you aren’t aware of the source of the meat, can have negative impacts on your heart health. Combined with the high levels of saturated fats in the bread, butters, and cheese you’ll get in a slice of pizza, this can be a difficult combination.
Your body will process the carbs as simple sugars.
With eating pizza, it’s not necessarily about the amount of calories you’re consuming: It’s the type of calories. Let’s break this down a bit:
Pizza is mainly composed of processed ingredients. So when we eat pizza, the simple sugars (or glucose) are absorbed into our bloodstream within 5-10 minutes. When you eat pizza—which is full of processed sugars in the bread—your body pumps insulin rapidly to help digest the food quickly. This insulin amount can remain raised for hours. Your body absorbs processed chemicals into the bloodstream very quickly compared to more natural, whole foods.
According to a study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, if someone eats processed fats and sugars very often, their body’s insulin response will produce advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in their tissue. Over time, this can eventually cause issues in blood regulation.
Your metabolism will slow down.
When you eat food, your body metabolizes it in order to digest, which burns energy. When we eat a high-protein diet, your body works harder than it would to metabolize fats or sugars, so that’s why eating protein is always a good idea. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, eating a lot of saturated fats causes the body to slow down and not work as hard to metabolize the food you’re consuming. When you eat foods like pizza, which consist almost entirely of saturated fats and sugars, your body doesn’t have to work as hard because it’s absorbed into our bloodstreams quickly. This can lead to more difficult calorie burning and weight loss, and no one wants that!
You’ll lose energy and probably feel sluggish.
For one thing, no one ever eats just one slice of pizza. The high fat and sodium content leaves you wanting more, but then you often feel too full afterward, and this can make you lose energy and feel groggy, sluggish, and unmotivated.
Something else to keep in mind is that a slice of pizza is very low in nutrient density. When foods have higher nutrient counts, your body can use these nutrients to boost and maintain energy levels. But your digestion slows down when you eat foods that are lower in nutrients and higher in processed fats and sugars. Even if you eat pizza with vegetables on it, your body won’t even process the veggies quickly because of the slow digestion it must have with the processed foods. This will keep you from being able to get energy from the food you’re eating in that meal, which will leave you not feeling your best.