Food & Drink Health

Shock News. Pizzas Are Bad For You.

So pizzas are bad for you, are they?  Well, who knew?  There I was, thinking that Pizza was the healthy food group with magical weight-reducing properties.  The one food guaranteed to lower your cholesterol.

Pizza is tasty.  Pizza is nice.  Pizza is packed full of every fatty heart-clogging thing we know, and that’s fine, because we like it and we take the chance.  Let’s see now.  Will this slice kill me or can I safely slurp it back and enjoy its delicious cheesy, tomatoey unturndownableness?  Yum dammit yum.

The nicest pizza I ever had was about twelve years ago when I went to New York with my good buddy Wrinkly Joe.  It was a hard journey involving a hop to Paris and a long Air France flight to Newark, where we were picked up by our host and transferred straight to an old converted bank in Brooklyn.  What was happening there?  It was a recording of a new album by the young Freedy Johnson in front of a live audience.  There were barrels of iced water full of beer and assorted general coolness, after which our host drove us into Manhattan, pulled up on the sidewalk and we ordered lunch/dinner/breakfast from a street-corner pizzeria window.

It was the best pizza I ever had, with a thin base and an irresistible topping of mozarellla and pizzaiola sauce, with the added piquancy of jet-lag and New York never-sleeping coolness.

I know a little place in Croatia where another friend has an apartment.  I haven’t been there in three years due to tightness of money but I’m hoping to get back there in 2012 with any luck.  The proprietor, Dragan, serves you up a delicious 300mm pizza, bubbling and delicious with all the trimmings and toppings at a reasonable price.  He does it with panache and aplomb, and he doesn’t have to charge you the earth because, unlike in Ireland, he’s not beset with silly health regulations and with insurance restrictions.  He runs a clean, efficient restaurant and he does it well.

Meanwhile, back home, our restaurants have to comply with the most onerous requirements in all Europe because that’s how we do things.  Our inspectors, unlike those in France, Belgium, Spain or even Germany, employ no discretion whatever.  Your kitchen is one square metre too small?   You must close!

That’s how they roll here in Ireland, despite being part of a country that prides itself on its anti-establishment stance.

But I digress.  What’s all this about pizzas being bad for us?  Well, according to Safefood, a 12-inch deep-base Hawaiian pizza contains more than twice the daily amount of calories, salt and fat required by the average adult.  Even a thin-base Margherita has at least half the total daily intake of calories, salt and fat.  As if that’s not bad enough, two out of every five Irish people eat pizza once a week, although if you exclude fat IT-support guys in Slayer T-shirts, that figure falls to one in fifty.

What does this say about us?  Well, probably not very much.  We’ve always eaten shit and while the shit we ate in the past was less fattening, that was only because we couldn’t afford better shit.  We have yet to develop a culinary tradition, although that isn’t necessarily  a guarantee of healthy eating.  Have you ever seen the state of some Italians?  Years ago, when I first visited Italy, the thing that struck me was the sight of fat little boys following their mothers by the hand. I’m not so sure about this Mediterranean diet.

Some people will tell you that this phenomenon is due to poverty but I have to say, I don’t swallow it.  If you can afford a take-away pizza, you have enough  money to make a nutritious meal for four people, if only you knew how.  And therefore, I think the issue is ignorance.  Is it that people don’t know it’s possible to cook good food cheaply or are they simply too lazy?  Perhaps it’s a combination of both.  I can’t cook but I can use a phone.  Let’s call Domino Pizza.

What am I trying to say?  Probably much the same as the Safefood people.  Have your pizza every now and then.  Enjoy it, but don’t do the complete hound on it.




24 replies on “Shock News. Pizzas Are Bad For You.”

It doesn’t have to be take away pizza Bock. You can buy three pizzas for a fiver in Lidl. That makes it poverty comfort food.

A lot of those take out places don’t use real cheese either. Some condensed fat type stuff that has the consistency of cheese.. but it aint cheese.
Very easy to make your own pizza, with real mozz and some basil and maybe some carne for the non rabbit food eaters.

Am I missing the point here, don’t most people share a 12″ pizza (particularly in the current climate.

We have Pizza as a familly once a week and share a 12″ Pizza or two between 4 or whoever is around.

Don’t know if I could manage a whole one on my own.

I agree, non expensive good fresh food can be sourced and prepared more easily now, a benefit of the recession.

Takeaway / delivery Pizzas have become so expensive compared with very well made supermarket Pizza’s.

Never did think it was a great idea to put cheese in the crust, there’s the excess calories right there.

Your point regarding poverty is bang on the money as far as I’m concerned.

I live in one of those interesting fault-line areas of Dublin where the unemployed under-classes live tooth by jowl with their upper-middle class neighbours.

The checkout at Tesco provides a fine illustration of the very different purchasing patterns of two very different socio-economic groups.

As I wait in line at the checkout invariably I will observe the following.

Woman A (well healed and healthy looking) is unloading a trolly containing fresh meat, fish, cheeses (some of the finer Irish or French varieties), various fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, salads, pasta (often fresh) brown breads, rice, potatoes and a bottle or two of wine, etc.

Woman B (obese and accompanied by an overweight nine year-old) is waiting behind woman A with a trolly containing pre-prepared dinners, processed meats, shrink rapped pizzas, frozen and tinned vegetables, numerous 2 litre bottles of soft drinks, multi bagged crisps, sweats, cans or beer or bottles of spirits, etc.

I see the above every other day and given that both trolly contents command a similar price I can only conclude that it is the simple lack of an ability or interest in cuisine and cooking that influences the choices woman B.

But the choices are stark and the long-term consequences frightening.

Processed pizza cheese-that-is-not-cheese; yuck. Friend of mine was taken on a tour of some factory that produces these things; they were very proud of their vulcanisation process for the cheese which contains 0% dairy content. They had borrowed most of the process from tyre manufacturers!

I think the issue with the pre-processed foods must be a bit of both; on the one hand you have the apathy, ignorance and laziness but on the other hand, you have the (mostly false) assumption that the ready-made stuff is cheaper and therefore fresh food is only for rich folks. It’s pretty sad but toally understandable that people would favour quantity over quality.
Whilst my family does indulge in the odd pizza or chinese, the vast majority of what we eat is made freshly made, from scratch. and we’re both working (I’m doing 1.5 jobs at the moment) and looking after an 8 month old baby. So not having time isn’t an excuse either – I can see though how it would be very easy to take the easy route!

Maybe we need a more concerted effort to educate the general populace on how to eat properly, and I don’t mean some stupid show hosted by some “celebrity” chef that tells us how simple, easy and healthy it is to prepare fresh langustine with a simple organic basil pesto because, fuck you chef, no-one can actually afford that shit.
The missues got me Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute meals a year or so ago and, although it’s got some really great recipies in it, it makes me sick how he goes on and on about how cheap all this stuff really is to make – and then tells you that you “only” need to spend about 300 quid or so to get all the gear you’ll need to use in the recipies. Or just to pop out into the garden and grab some fresh dill. I don’t even have any fucking grass in my garden after the dog is done with it! Is is any wonder many people would say “bugger that, I’m off to tesco for a frozen lasagne”?

Just to say too, there are plenty of over weight wealthy people.
Niall, that basket from the “well healed” woman doesn’t sound particularly healthy either.
Meat isn’t that good for you. Either is cheese, regardless of how fine it is.
Salads? What type of salads? You mean some type of ready made salad? Salads don’t pop up out of the soil like. :)
It would have been better to see some fresh spinach, some leeks, cherry tomatoes for instance than a ready made salad.

The same thing with drink. It’s very possible that there are some wealthy alcos.
I mean in terms of the recent debate about the changing of legislation to prohibit the sale of cheap drink in supermarkets.
Like somehow it’s more respectable to be getting wasted from a bottle of expensive brandy or whiskey. Or that that’s not happening.
I don’t think so.

Here I come to save the day! Mighty mouse is on the way!
Pizza is not bad for you.
Well this one isn’t.

Make you pizza dough. Use olive oil in the mix.
Shape you dough ( I can never get it round) but that doesn’t matter.
Its looks more authentic slightly misshapen.
Drizzle olive oil on the dough.
Add really really thin slices of fresh tomatoes on the pizza base and drizzle with olive oil.
Then add your cheese (whatever kind floats your boat).
Next add olives, fresh basil leafs and pepperoni (my choice, again whatever you like).
And give her another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Its not expensive. One bottle for 3 or 4 euros will last for weeks.

Into the hot oven and lash into her when she’s cooked.

@ Labrat, good fresh food was always less expensive than pocessed food cooked by some one else.

But, like shopping centres, it’s about convenience, it’s the future like it or lump it

@No.8 Possessd food may well have been more expensive, that would be the added demons.

I was referring to how Aldi, Tesco & sometimes Dunnes do loss leader cheap fresh veg for a euro now which they wouldn’t be available before.

Now that’s convenient

Pizza is for Italians, if you can’t sit down to a “pigs head, a stone of potato’s and a head of cabbage”, then your out of your health.

Oops. Yeah.. that vicinity anyways.

Who the hells knows really.
Tomatoes (or tomato sauce) are a prerequisite for pizza anyways right?
And they came from South America.
So whatever the Italians were putting on bread before the 16th century, you wouldn’t be calling a pizza.

Name dropping here, I’ve had pizza I’m Lombardi’s in NYC. Excellent. Cooked in a coal oven. Queues are often out the door.

@FF1 Lombardi’s in New York is the best Pizza I ever had. One of the first things I recommend to any friend or family going there.

As for the difference in diet I think it’s either laziness or not having the time. If both parents are working, or if you are a single parent you might not have the time to cook a proper dinner. Or you could just be knackered after a long day and it’s easier to eat a ready made dinner. The leftovers keep better too.

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