Healthy living

Thin crust pizzas can be 'unhealthy'

Thin crust pizzas may not be the health option Laden with fat, saturated fat and salt

Eating a thin crust or fresh pizza may not be a healthier option, a study has found.

Deep-pan, stuffed crust and frozen pizzas can contain less fat, saturated fat, salt and calories than the thin crust varieties which are often assumed to be healthier.

Experts from the consumer watchdog Which? analysed the nutritonal content of 162 cheese and tomato and pepperoni pizzas available in the major supermarkets and take-away chains in the UK.

They found that thin pizzas could be higher in fat and saturated fat than the deep pan and stuffed crust versions. Tesco’s Italian Romana Margherita, which has an "ultra thin" base, was found to contain twice as much fat and saturated fat per 100g as its Trattoria Verdi Deep Pan Cheese pizza.

Frozen supermarket pizzas also tended to be healthier than fresh ones. Morrison's frozen Thin and Crispy Pepperoni pizza contained less fat, calories and salt than its fresh Thin and Crispy Pepperoni pizza.

And supermarket pizzas weren’t always healthier than those from take away chains. Gram for gram, Dr Oetker’s Chicago Town Edge to Edge Thin & Crispy California Cheese contained more fat and saturated fat than any of the cheese and tomato options, including those from Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

Pizzas with the same topping could contain up to three times more fat and salt, depending on the brand. Sainsbury’s fresh Basics Cheese & Tomato pizza had 5g of saturated fat per 100g, while Tesco’s fresh Full-on-Flavour Cheese Feast Deep Crust Pizza had 14g.

Which? also found an "enormous and often unrealistic" range of portion sizes and different front-of-pack nutrition labelling schemes, even by the same manufacturer.

Goodfella’s and Chicago Town were among the worst offenders for portion size, according to Which?, as they suggested that people eat a quarter of a pizza which the consumer watchdog considered unlikely. Some supermarket own-brand pizzas were also guilty of doing this.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “You can’t expect people to stand poring over pizza labels in the supermarket to see which one has more fat or salt in it.

"We want clear, front-of-pack labelling, including traffic light colours, and consistent portion sizes so people can easily compare like with like.”

This article was published on Thu 20 January 2011



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