Indulging in Pizza if You Have Diabetes

Tuesday Jul 23, 2019

For those who are living with diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2, pizza is food that can leave you second guessing if it’s safe to eat. The reason pizza becomes questionable is because it comes in so many different sizes and thickness.

The toppings, even just sauce and cheese, can contain varying amounts of sugar and fats, which can slow down digestion and affect sensitivity to insulin. The dough, usually made of white flour, is nearly all carbohydrates, while tomato sauce contains sugar and additional sources of blood-sugar-rising carbohydrates.

If you’re hoping to enjoy a cheesy, mouth-watering slice every once in a while, here are a few ways to fit pizza into your diabetic diet. However, this is not medical advice and you should always speak with your doctor about dietary suggestions.

Counting Carbs

Carbohydrates are nutrients that provide energy and can influence blood sugar levels. Check the nutritional information to find out how many carbohydrates are in each slice of pizza. Choosing a thin crust or a gluten-free pizza might also reduce the number of carbs in the crust.

Moderation is Best

If you can fit pizza into your diabetic diet, do so, but only in moderation. Fitting something into your diet doesn’t mean eating a large pizza by yourself. Consider eating a slice of plain cheese pizza with a side salad or some vegetables, if your doctor says it is safe.

Make Specific Requests

Indulging in pizza doesn’t mean accepting the pizza as it comes. Request less sauce or only half the amount of cheese typically used. Go heavy on vegetable toppings and if you need some meat on a pizza, skip the traditional pepperoni and opt for a lean protein instead.

Make Your Own Pizza

While ordering take out is the easier option, you may want to make your own on family pizza night. While the rest of the family enjoys take out, try making your own pizza with a veggie or whole wheat crust, low sodium pizza sauce, low-fat cheese, and lots of vegetable toppings.

The high saturated fat content in cheese can cause a temporary insulin resistance and slow down the initial blood sugar spike. Unfortunately, that means that after eating pizza, your blood sugar can crash. Then, if you attempt to balance it out, it could quickly spike.

Pizza can be a challenge when you have diabetes. Talk with your doctor about how you can still enjoy one of your favorite foods without sacrificing your health. Small changes could be a great way to enjoy a slice every once in a while.