If you were stuck on a desert island and could only eat one food the rest of your life, pizza wouldn’t be a bad way to go. But if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s definitely not the obvious choice.
However, according to the New York Post, one New York City chef (and Naples, Italy native) dropped nearly 100 pounds by, among other changes, eating a pizza for lunch every day. Which begs the question: Can eating a slice a day really help you shed pounds?
“If weight loss is your goal, sometimes repetition can be helpful,” agrees Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D. “Some studies have shown that consistency can help when it comes to changing habits. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and never eat breakfast, then eating the same thing every day for breakfast can make the new morning routine easier to get accustomed to instead of trying to think of seven different breakfasts for the week.”
But as far as long-term sustainability and health, the experts are more skeptical. “Eating any food every day won’t net you all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally,” says Zeitlin.
“We are not meant to eat foods in isolation, we are meant to eat a variety of different foods so that we obtain the various amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients our bodies require to maintain a healthy life. So, eating just pizza (or just any one item) every day is not a healthy, sustainable diet.”
After all, we’re omnivores, and our bodies require a variety of nutrients that aren’t all found inside a delivery box. More to the point, boredom is a total diet killer. But if you want to give the slice-a-day diet a try, there are a few ways to pack your pizza with more nutrients and fewer calories.
Customize. Homemade pies will almost always be lighter on grease than delivery styles, says McDaniel. But many chains now offer thin and whole-wheat crusts, leaner meats, and a larger variety of vegetables.
Downsize. Here’s a sneaky way to control your portions: scale down your size. If you usually get a large, go for a medium. People tend to eat the same number of slices so you’ll trim calories without trying. Another tip: Have the pie cut into more slices so each is smaller.
Veg out. More sauce, less cheese is a good start. Then, when it comes to toppings, opt for fibre- and vitamin-rich veggies instead of fatty meats.
Supplement your slice. A traditional piece of pizza is not nutrient dense, so it takes more slices to fill you up, which adds up in calories and sugar which can contribute to weight gain, says Zeitlin. With no fibre or protein, you have nothing to really fill you up and keep you full. So pair your pie with a salad or other fibre-filled option.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US
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