By understanding your cheese options, you have another opportunity to dramatically affect your pizza’s fat and calorie content.
You don’t need to avoid cheese altogether. In moderation, cheese provides a significant amount of the protein that helps make pizza a balanced meal.
But before you order extra cheese, remember that too much of a good thing usually has its consequences. Piling on additional cheese can add an extra 25–30 calories to each slice of pizza.
Instead, consider ordering “half cheese”—meaning half the usual amount of cheese, not cheese on only half the pizza. This is a particularly smart option when eating at restaurants that tend to go a little heavy on the cheese. Conversely, the half-cheese order may not make sense at a restaurant that uses cheese more sparingly.
Other toppings to watch out for include high-fat meats like sausage, hamburger and pepperoni. These are typically high-calorie choices that contain cholesterol-raising saturated fat. They are also included in the red and processed-meat categories—something experts advise us to limit because of their link to colon cancer risk.
Compared to a pizza topped with vegetables, each slice of a meat-lover’s special contains an additional 100–150 calories per slice.
—Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research