In recent dietary news, one nutritionist claimed that a greasy hunk of pizza is technically healthier for you than a bowl of cereal with milk. Suddenly, it seems, we can all feel better about polishing off that cold pizza slice you found next to your bed when you woke up.
“You may be surprised to find out that an average slice of pizza and a bowl of cereal with whole milk contain nearly the same amount of calories,” blogger and dietician Chelsea Amer told The Daily Meal. “However, pizza packs a much larger protein punch, which will keep you full and boost satiety throughout the morning.” That way, the argument goes, you won’t require a mid-morning snack to alleviate hunger pangs.
Now, it’s important to note that, as Amer acknowledges, a slice of pizza isn’t the most nutritious option out there—it’s just more balanced than a bowl of Frosted Flakes. “Plus, a slice of pizza contains more fat [a major source of energy] and much less sugar than most cold cereals, so you will not experience a quick sugar crash,” Amer explains. (Sugar, it has been noted once or twice, contributes to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as cognitive decline and even some cancers.)
But still: Pizza for breakfast? It simply sounds too good to be true, especially when you consider that both pizza and cereal tend to come in wildly different levels of quality, from greasy puddles of bright orange trans fats/literal bowls of refined sugar at one end, to artisanal, fiber-stuffed creations at the other.
To see what’s what, we calculated the relevant nutritional values for three slices of pizza and their cereal counterparts (with whole milk). Bear in mind, however, that these are the nutritional values for just one slice of pizza and one cup of cereal, which, let’s be honest, is an unrealistically small amount of either. Here’s the rundown:
As you can see, Amer is (somewhat) correct: An average slice of pizza contains less sugar and more protein than a typical bowl of cereal with whole milk. But in reality, it’s hugely dependent on the brand, as is the number of calories and the amount of fat. A cup of Ezekiel cereal with whole milk, for instance, has twice as much protein as a slice of Blaze pizza (which is, admittedly, vegetarian).
Overall, cereal has more potential to be the healthy breakfast option, but only provided you have the willpower to put down the Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and pick the boring brands. “If you choose the right cereal, one that’s packed with fiber, it may help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar,” dietitian Keri Gans told the New York Post. Three grams of sugar (or less), and at least six grams of fiber mean you’re in the clear. “You could top your cereal with berries, which are rich in vitamins,” Gans added. Yogurt, nuts and chia seeds are also healthy add-ons that will generally do your body more good than a day-old slice of 2 Bros.
All of which, of course, is fucking terrible news. The dream of pizza for breakfast is ruined, and the world weeps milky, sugary tears.