How Many Calories Are in Pizza?

Pizza annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Given its delicious tastes, varieties, and convenience, it's no wonder pizza is one of the most favored foods globally. Traditional pizza is made of dough, tomato sauce and cheese, although there are many different variations. Despite what you may have been told, this entree has its place in a balanced meal plan.

Each variety of pizza will differ in its macronutrient and calorie content, depending on the type and method of preparation. Toppings and style of crust, for instance, can be catered to fit into your specific needs and preferences.

Pizza Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for one slice (107g) of regular cheese pizza from a standard fast-food pizza chain.

  • Calories: 285
  • Fat: 10.4g
  • Sodium: 640mg
  • Carbohydrates: 35.6g
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Sugars: 3.8g
  • Protein: 12.2g

Carbs

According to the above data, one slice of pizza contains around 35.6 grams of carbs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person consuming 1,800 calories a day should around attribute 800-900 toward carbs—200-225 grams daily.

Fats

The fats in pizza are mainly from cheese, typically cheddar and mozzarella—both of which can contain high amounts of saturated fat and salt.

It's recommended that less than 10% of your daily calorie intake should comprise of saturated fat. Instead, it's suggested you focus your fat intake around unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6, found in foods like nuts, olives, fish, eggs, tofu and flax seed.

Protein

The average slice of pizza contains around 12 grams of protein. Your daily protein intake will vary depending on sex, height, activity and calorie requirements. Protein consumption is essential for muscle maintenance, growth, and making connective tissues, among other functions.

You can use this tool to calculate your protein intake needs, and from there, work out what percentage a slice of pizza attributes to your daily requirements.

Vitamins and Minerals

Pizza contains trace levels of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, all of which attribute toward a healthy diet. The majority of your nutrients should come from whole foods.

Calories

Pizza calories and nutrition vary based on the types of cheese used, added toppings, method of cooking, crust density, and size of the pizza slice. For example, a small slice (around 1/8th) of a generic cheese pizza contains about 200 calories, a typical slice of cheese pizza from a chain like Pizza Hut can amount to 300 calories for 1/5th of the pie.

Health Benefits

Pizza Can Offer Healthy Nutrients

Choosing veggie toppings such as peppers, mushrooms, spinach and broccoli can boost your daily fiber and antioxidant intake. High consumption of vegetables, alongside fruits, are said to lower mortality.

Pizza With Wholewheat Crust Provides Dietary Fiber

Replacing regular pizza dough with a wholewheat crust will boost your dietary fiber intake, which can lower cholesterol, promote regular bowel movements, and play a role in managing your weight.

Pizza Contains Protein

Pizza contains protein mainly from its cheese content, alongside any chicken, meat, or fish toppings you might choose to add. Protein is beneficial for maintaining lean muscle mass and optimal growth, though not all sources are equal.

Pizza Contains Calcium

Given its dairy content, pizza provides a source of calcium—essential for the body to build and maintain bone strength, in addition to other functions. In the example by the USDA above, one slice of pizza contains 188 milligrams of calcium; adults ages 19-50 require around 1000 milligrams of calcium a day.

Pizza Can Cater to Vegan & Gluten Free Diets

Gluten free and vegan pizza varieties, which were largely unheard of not too long ago, have become mainstream thanks to restaurants and brands that cater to a variety of diets. The re-invention of your typical pizza means that individuals with these dietary requirements can enjoy a slice.

Allergies

Traditional pizza contains both gluten and dairy. But as mentioned above, gluten-free pizza and vegan (meaning without dairy!) pizza are becoming more popular. To avoid any allergens, look at menus ahead of time to see what options are available to fit any dietary restrictions you have.

Adverse Affects

Balance is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle that sets you up for long-term success. Incorporate pizza, but make sure to include plenty of whole fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains as well.

When It's Best

Although many would argue that pizza fresh from the oven tastes the best, others prefer munching on leftovers the following day. Whatever you decide, make sure that any store bought pizza is within its expiration date (this goes for refrigerating and freezing), and that when re-heating, the cheese is piping hot (above 165°F) to avoid any the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Avoid heating more than once.

Storage and Food Safety

While television may suggest keeping pizza on the counter is the best storage method, there are some food safety tips that are important to remember.

Keep store-bought pizza refrigerated and take note of its expiration date. If ordering fresh from a restaurant, cover the pizza with the box's lid until you eat it (to trap the heat). Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and re-heat the following day. Given its perishable ingredients, it's best to discard any uneaten pizza after two days.

How to Prepare

Making pizza at home can be a fun activity for you and your family. It is also a great a great way to add nutrition boosters and experiment with different ingredients. Consider playing with different types of flour, such as whole grain flour, or adding veggies to your pizza. You may find that you'll feel more satisfied with labor of love both physically and emotionally.

You can use any kind of cheese you like and make your own sauce or experiment with other homemade sauces. Take this as an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen!

To prepare, use a non-stick perforated pizza pan to help the air circulate and heat the crust evenly.

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12 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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