Pizza vs. Burger: Which is Healthier?

Pizza vs burger, which one to eat? That’s a question you might have considered right before indulging in your favorite snack.

If you love a pizza, it draws you no matter the time or season. And if you are a burger person, not even the sugar content would stop you from having a burger when you crave it. It’s only human! But between these two popular fast foods, is one healthier? Let’s find out.

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This article goes deep into the nutritional facts and their impact on your health. From the high sodium content to alarming cholesterol levels, keep reading to make a wiser decision on your next snack.

Pizza Vs Burger: Which Is Healthier?

Pizza Vs Burger Which Is Healthier

Fast-food pizzas and burgers have some excellent nutrients: proteins, energy-giving carbohydrates, essential vitamins, and minerals. But you also get a fair share of saturated fats, sodium sugars, preservatives and high-calorie toppings. These are probably your concerns.

The truth is, fast-food pizzas and burgers may be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the ingredients you have in there. You make your snack unhealthy when you add high-calorie toppings, processed meats and high-sugar sauces. But you can make it healthier by adding loads of vegetables and fruits.

Let’s take a closer look at a typical pizza and a typical burger.

Pizza Vs Burger Nutrients Comparison

I will compare a Pizza Hut 12″ Pepperoni Pizza and a Burger King Cheeseburger.

Here’s the outlook.

Pepperoni Pizza Vs Cheeseburger (Main Nutrients)

NUTRIENT

1 Slice Pepperoni Pizza (Pizza Hut)

1 Cheeseburger 

(Burger King)

Calories

286 Kcal261 Kcal
Calcium140 milligrams

239 milligrams

Carbohydrates

29.3 grams23.87 grams
Cholesterol24 milligrams

37 milligrams

Protein

11.5 grams13.94 grams
Saturated Fats5.06 grams

4.85 grams

Sodium

664 milligrams508 milligrams
Sugars3 grams

4.85 grams

Source: USDA, USDA

Pizza Vs Burger: Vitamin And Minerals

Pizza Vs Burger Vitamin And Minerals

Burgers have reasonable amounts of vitamin A, Bs, C, D, E, and K. They also have essential nutrients like lycopene (antioxidant), beta carotene, zinc, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Bugger patty (meat) is rich in proteins and iron.

Pizzas are a good source of vitamin A, Bs, E, and K. They also have various amino acids, copper, zinc, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and fiber. Pepperoni is a good source of proteins and iron.

What do these figures mean?

Let me break it down for you. I will only focus on the ingredients that make pizzas and burgers ‘unhealthy’.

Pizza Vs Burger: Calories

(I slice Pizza 286 Kcal vs 1 Burger 261 Kcal).

If you ate the whole pepperoni pizza, you would consume 2,320 calories! But eating the entire burger, you only consume 261 calories.

You need calories for energy. But eating too many calories without spending them can eventually lead to obesity and its associated problems (hypertension, clogged arteries, the risk for stroke, etc.).

How many calories is too much in a day?

The FDA recommends a maximum of 2,000 calories in a day. But the amount of calories you consume depends on your height, weight, physical activity levels, etc. Use the MyPlate Plan to know the exact amount of calories you should consume in a day.

The burger has lower calories than pizza, so it’s healthier. But if you add high-calorie cheese, fatty meats, and sugary sauces to your burger or pizza, your calorie intake goes out the roof.

Pizza Vs Burger: Calcium

Pizza Vs Burger Calcium

(1 slice pizza 140mg vs 1 burger 239mg). 

Cheese offers a generous amount of calcium and proteins.

Calcium works with vitamin D to strengthen your bones and teeth. Without enough calcium, your body will start drawing calcium from your bones. This is how you lose bone mass.

But can calcium be excessive?

Experts recommend at least 1,000mg calcium a day. An entire pizza will give you 1,149mg calcium, which is not close to the upper limit of 2,500mg. But notice that pizza has no vitamin D.

Regarding calcium, the burger is healthier than a pizza. Why? Burger also has vitamin D, and one burger has more calcium content than one pizza slice.

Pizza Vs Burger: Carbohydrates

(1 slice pizza 29.3 grams vs 1 burger 23.87 grams)

Carbs are your primary energy source.

The pizza dough and burger bun are the main carb sources. Without the crust, pizza has only 3 net carbs. Likewise, without the bun, a burger has only 2 grams of carbs.

How much carbs is too much?

Part of your calorie intake (45% to 65%) should come from carbohydrates. This means about 300 grams of carbs per day in your 2,000 calories.

You can reduce your carb intake by using whole wheat instead of refined wheat. Or do away with the crust. You can use nut flour pizza crust.

If you ate all of your pizza slices, you would consume 237 grams of carbs. That’s still within the limit. But it also means that you should not take more carbs that day.

With carbs, the burger is the healthier option over the pizza! It is improbable that you eat eight burgers in a day, but you would still be within the limit if you did.

Pizza Vs Burger: Cholesterol

Pizza Vs Burger Cholesterol

(1 slice pizza 24mg vs burger 37mg). 

All the calories in your pizza and burger are in the cheese. Eliminate the cheese, and it’s a problem solved. But how about the taste? Will it still be okay? You choose.

All cholesterol is not bad. Your body needs a little cholesterol to make vitamin D and hormones. But here’s the thing. Your liver creates enough cholesterol for your needs.

In terms of cholesterol, neither a burger nor pizza is healthier. You don’t need to consume any cholesterol. But if you do, keep it below 300mg per day.

Pizza Vs Burger: Saturated fats

(1 slice pizza 5.06 grams vs burger 4.85 grams).

Dairy products (cheese) and fatty red meats (including cured meats like salami, pepperoni, sausages) have many saturated fats.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. They quickly increase your blood cholesterol levels.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 13grams of saturated fats a day. If you take three slices of pepperoni pizza, you are already beyond the limit.

Regarding saturated fats, pizzas are as unhealthy as burgers. It’s best to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats in fish, poultry. Why not eliminate fatty red meat and high-fat cheese?

Pizza Vs Burger: Sodium

Pizza Vs Burger Sodium

(1 slice pizza 664mg vs 1 burger 508mg).

Processed meats are preserved by salting, curing, drying, smoking or canning. They include sausages, pepperoni, salami, bacon, and canned meats.

Processed meats and cheese have very high sodium levels that may be a problem to sensitive people, like those with hypertension. Too much sodium also increases the chances of developing hypertension and its associated ghosts.

Like other nutrients, sodium serves its purpose. You need about 500mg daily sodium intake for your nerves and muscles. But any more than 2,300mg is excessive.

With sodium, the burger is the healthier optionBut both pizzas and burgers have unhealthy amounts of sodium. You can switch processed meats for freshly made meats and cut back on cheese.

Pizza Vs Burger: Sugars

(1 slice pizza 3 grams vs 1 burger 4.85 grams).

Fast-food pizza has some sugar in the crust and the pizza sauce. The burger, too, has sugar in the bun and ketchup.

You don’t need to consume any free sugars in your diet. It’s only a sweetener.

Free sugars are those you add to your food. (They don’t exist naturally in the food). If you have to consume these, the NHS recommends no more than 30grams per day for adults and even less for children.

Pizza vs Burger: Which Is Healthier? The Final Verdict.

Pizza vs Burger Which Is Healthier The Final Verdict.

Compared to burgers, pizzas have higher amounts of calories, carbs, saturated fats, and sodium. But also reasonable amounts of protein, iron, calcium, and other minerals and vitamins.

Burgers have higher amounts of cholesterol and sugars compared to pizzas. Burgers also have higher protein and calcium content.

Overall, burgers are healthier than pizzas. 

But you can control the excessive ‘unhealthy’ nutrients. Pizzas and burgers can be healthier.

Here’s How To Make Your Burger And Pizza Healthier

Make Your Snack At Home

And why not make your pizza at home? It could be the healthiest meal! That way, you control the sugars, fats, sodium, and everything else. You also use healthy fats like olive oil and fresh meats instead of the cured types.

You can use cauliflower or nut flour for your pizza crust. You can also add as many healthy toppings as you desire!

Adjust The Toppings.

  • From red meat to white meat. You can replace the greasy red meat patty with grilled chicken in your burger. Or take a vegan burger instead (e.g. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper).
  • From refined wheat to whole wheat. You can go for whole-wheat pizza crust and burger buns instead of the refined grain.
  • From high-fat cheese to low-fat cheese. You can replace high-fat parmesan cheese with low-fat cottage cheese. Or you can do away with the cheese altogether, or get one cheese slice instead of two.
  • Lots of vegetables and fruits. You can load vegetables on your burger or pizza to boost your immunity. You will never go wrong with a plant-based diet.

But the toppings are not all that matter. You also need to think about the sides.

Adjust The Sides

  • Rather than take fries, why not get a salad?
  • Instead of the excess sugars in a soda, why not take water?
  • Instead of washing down the greasy burger with a beer, why not take fresh fruit juice?

Consume With Moderation

And how much pizza or burgers do you take?

One slice a day is excellent, but three slices? That’s pushing it. The whole pizza? Too much! Any meal when overdone becomes unhealthy.

To avoid overeating your pizza, serve on a plate and chew slowly.

Conclusion

Both pizzas and burgers have good nutrients (proteins, carbs, minerals, and vitamins), but they also contain alarming amounts of cholesterol, sodium, carbs, saturated fats, and calories. And really, these nutrients are found in every other diet we consume.

If I had to choose between a burger and a pizza as my sole meal for a week, I would prefer a burger. But that’s just me. What would you choose, and why? Share your thoughts below!

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