This article from Reuters was posted on the Internet. It tells about healthier pizzas. There is a big market for healthy pizzas, which has not been explored by pizzerias yet.

Mats Ingemanson

Pizza Can Rate 'Bravissimo'
for Health

Fri May 17, 3:24 PM ET
By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cheesy, gooey, meat-studded pizza is nobody's idea of health food, but a nutrition watchdog reported on Friday there is at least one American restaurant chain dish that rates a "bravissimo!"

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has previously taken the fun out of movie theater popcorn and Chinese food, gave that accolade to California Pizza Kitchen .

"Creativity replaces cheese," the center said in its Nutrition Action Healthletter. "California Pizza Kitchen's Tricolore Salad Pizza is smothered with arugula, radicchio, red-leaf lettuce, diced tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and a vinaigrette dressing. Bravissimo!"

In a nation where obesity is an increasing problem, one in six restaurants is a pizzeria, prompting the non-profit, Washington-based watchdog to compare the nutrition in various offerings of the Italian-style meal.

Typically, a slice of pizza with pepperoni or sausage has about the same amount of salt and calories as a large burger or breakfast egg sandwich from a fast-food chain, the center said.

Cutting back on cheese, loading up on vegetables and having salads or fruit on the side instead of breadsticks or cheese-bread can help.

One solution that's not on most menus but is widely available is to order pizza with half the regular amount of cheese, the center said. Another possibility is to ask for no cheese except a sprinkle of Parmesan before the pizza is baked.

Ordering two slices of Domino's Hand Tossed Cheese pizza with half the cheese makes this a "best bite," the center said. Other "best bites" are three slices of Hand Tossed Veggie Lover's pizza from Pizza Hut, owned by Yum! Brands Inc., and two slices of Papa John's Original Crust Garden Special.

The serving size varies from restaurant to restaurant, the center found, so that three slices of Pizza Hut's vegetable version were comparable in calories, total fat, saturated fat and sodium to two slices of the Papa John's equivalent.

Americans order 3 billion pizzas a year, most from the more than 60,000 pizzerias that operate in strip malls, food courts and Main Streets around the country.

The report noted that while most people would hesitate to order a second Big Mac or Quarter Pounder sandwich, many reach for a second, third or fourth slice of pizza.

When it came to toppings, cheese, including pizzas with cheese stuffed into the crust, turned out to be worse for your health than some meats.

"You need cheese stuffed into a pizza crust like you need reverse liposuction to force more fat under your skin," the center warned, when discussing Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust pizzas.

And multi-meat pizzas were predictably panned. "These Meat Lover's pizzas with a stuffed crust -- if you eat four or five slices, you will have that stuffed feeling and so will your arteries," said the center's executive director, Michael Jacobson.

By contrast, the increasingly popular chicken pizza was seen as being tasty and less fatty than most red-meat toppings. Only pizzas topped with ham or vegetables had the same relatively low saturated fat as chicken pizza.

Pepperoni and sausage were seen as dietary no-nos, but researchers at the center were surprised to find that pepperoni did not add significantly to the saturated fat total.

But in the case of Pizza Hut's Big New Yorker Sausage Pizza, a two-slice serving had the calories, fat and sodium of a T-bone steak dinner with salad and a baked potato with an added teaspoon of salt.
Pizza Hut President Mike Rawlings took issue with some aspects of the report. "Pizza is America's favorite food. And Pizza Hut is America's favorite pizza because we do offer so much variety and we put a lot of cheese on our pizzas," Rawlings said in a statement.

"And frankly, I think people are a little tired of being told what not to eat -- it's all about balance in life, isn't it?" Rawlings said.

Jacobson said the center took aim at pizza because of its popularity.

"It's such a popular dish and we found some good news, some bad news and some terrible news," he said by telephone.

Tel: 212-675-8282

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