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Does the Regular, Everyday Human Need to Count the Carbs in a Slice of Pizza?

PLEASE SAY NO, PLEASE SAY NO, PLEASE SAY NO

About once every two weeks, I’ll treat myself to my regularly scheduled cheat day. The cornerstone of said cheat day is usually a medium pan pizza from Domino’s — either a six-cheese Wisconsin, or a pepperoni pizza with cheddar cheese and feta cheese added to it. Obviously, I love a little cheesy diversity in my flavor profiles.

Being as self-aware as I am, I know that I’m going to wolf down this glorious, steamy mess of eight slices in 20 minutes or less, leaving both my wife and I to wonder aloud how I made all of that food disappear without a trace so quickly, leaving only a grease-soaked cardboard box in its wake.

No matter which version of my preferred pizza makes its way down my gullet and into my stomach, I know what the damage is — about 320 calories per slice x eight slices = 2,560 total calories, give or take a few calories depending upon how generous the Domino’s employee making the pizza decided to be during its construction.

There are a few other considerations I take into account ahead of time, too. First, the total number of calories entering my system at once is probably going to crash it, resulting in one heck of an early evening nap for me. Second, if I don’t want my body to suffer any further consequences from gorging on a caloric feast that exceeds the recommended daily intake for virtually all men, I’m going to need to take some precautions ahead of time. These precautions have ranged from preemptively stepmilling for an hour, to starving myself all day right up until the appointed time for pizza consumption, to simply opting not to exacerbate the problem by drinking anything with any sort of calories in it that day.

All of which is to say: If you’re asking a question like “How many carbs are there in a slice of pizza?” then you’re asking the wrong question. Besides, you already know the answer — too many.

Okay, fine… the actual answer is that the carbohydrate grams in a slice of pizza will generally range from 20 to 30, depending upon the size of the pizza and the toppings added. This equates to 80 to 120 calories from carbohydrates per slice, or 640 to 960 calories per pizza.

But don’t be overly concerned about the number of carbohydrates in that slice of pizza, because we both know you’re not going to eat just one slice, and you need to think about the other 1,000 or more calories hiding therein. Realistically, you should be more concerned about the caloric nuclear bomb you’re about to unleash upon your body, because that’s what you’re really asking about. 

Along those lines, it’s not just the carbs and calories that are working against you, it’s the volume of the food. Per Kelly Bramlet Blackburn of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, your body naturally experiences a host of problems when you overeat (and eating an entire pizza in one sitting is essentially the definition of overeating). When your stomach expands past a point of comfort, you begin to feel fatigued and uncomfortable. Your body will produce more stomach acid, which is likely to cause heartburn, which is a veritable guarantee with pizza due to its high fat content. Then you’ll feel the additional discomfort from the burgeoning gas buildup in your abdomen. You’ll probably even start sweating when your body begins to go into overdrive to defend against the culinary attack it was just besieged by. 

Obviously, these problems aren’t exclusively suffered by people like me who binge on pizza; you’re likely to experience them after nearly any episode of overeating, because your body can only handle so much of any digestible substance before it waves the white flag of surrender. 

So, see what I mean about counting carbs? When a big meal (or pizza) beckons, they’re the least of your worries.

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