Eating pizza can be a pleasurable experience. But if you are diabetic, the question of whether or not you can eat pizza is one that deserves some consideration. For this reason, I’ve put together this article about eating pizza as a diabetic to answer your questions and clear up any confusion on the matter.
In this Diabetic & Me article you will learn about:
- Can diabetics eat pizza?
- Can pizza raise your blood sugar?
- What is the best pizza for diabetics?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin – and ultimately regulate blood glucose levels – becomes impaired. There are different types of diabetes, but all can lead to high blood sugar levels if left untreated. While there isn’t one specific cause for this disease, many researchers believe that poor diet and lack of exercise play major roles in its development.
So what does this have to do with eating pizza? Well, as it turns out, there are many different things that can affect a person’s blood sugar and limit their ability to control glucose levels. And one of those factors is the food we eat – especially for diabetics or people who suffer from prediabetes or insulin resistance. When you combine certain foods into your diet on a regular basis (yes – even pizza!), they can lead to more serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes if eaten too often. But no worries! Not all pizzas were created equally; in fact, some varieties might actually help be a better option compared to regular pizza.
Can Pizza Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels?
Pizza is mainly categorized under fast food items. A pizza often contains twice the amount of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and is high on the glycemic index (GI). Pizza stimulates the release of stomach acid and is high in carbohydrates and sugar, with little fiber to slow absorption. As a result, eating pizza can raise your blood sugar levels. This may well explain that a pizza that is generous in fat and protein can thus shift digestion.
Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are broken down quickly by our bodies when we eat them along with fat, fiber, and protein. We can slow the rate at which carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels by combining carbs with fat, fiber, and protein.
How Can You Have Pizza And Still Follow Your Diet?
The trick here is to make sure you select the right pizza, take your insulin at the right time so it makes managing diabetes a bit easier while you enjoy pizza.
A pizza often contains more than 100 carbohydrates. If you inject or bolus this beforehand, there is a chance that you will first get a hypo. The insulin starts working while the carbohydrates are still waiting in the stomach.
Make sure to contact your healthcare team or registered dietitian to understand how to consume carbohydrates and to regulate your personal diet.
Adjust Your Insulin
A solution can be to inject the insulin after the meal or even better: inject 50% beforehand and also inject 50% 1-2 hours later. You will probably have to arrange an alarm clock or something for yourself because if you forget to spray this second 50%, you are even further from home!
Your insulin pump has settings that you use to divide your insulin over the right and desired time frame.
Limit Your Portion Sizes
You can still enjoy a pizza when you limit your portion sizes. Eat only 4 instead of 6. Add a side salad with some olive oil instead of eating that extra slice of pizza.
How Bad Is Pizza for Diabetics?
In general, pizza can be divided into two major categories: thin crust and deep dish. The main difference between these types of pizzas is the amount of dough involved in their preparation – which ultimately results in a different serving size as well.
Thin crust pizza varieties usually have less dough than those made with a thicker dough or ‘deep-dish’ style crust, for example. In addition to this basic distinction between different pizza styles, there are also other factors that might lead to changes in blood sugar levels after eating pizza such as
- whether it was cooked at home or from takeout/delivery
- how many slices do you eat during one meal
- what toppings were added (extra cheese has been found to raise glucose more quickly)
- if it's a fresh or frozen pizza
- and whether or not you add sugar to your pizza (a no-no for diabetics).
What Is The Best Pizza for Diabetics?
So what makes certain varieties of pizza better than others when it comes to blood glucose levels? Well, according to a study done in 2010 by researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre entitled "Effect on Glucose Control of High Protein Low Carbohydrate Diets," eating less carbohydrate can help prevent spikes in blood sugar after meals.
And this is precisely why many health experts recommend following a low-carb diet if you want to lower your risk for diabetes and insulin resistance.
Choose Different Crusts
For instance, you choose a whole wheat pizza crust or cauliflower crust over a regular dough crust.
Cover The Fat
Try to stay away from the much fat on your pizza, don't use extra cheese, and go for low-fat options. If you make your own pizza you can use chicken, fish, or extra veggies/vegetables as topping instead of using extra cheese or fatty meats.
Make Your Own Pizza
You'll know exactly what's in your own pizza if you make it yourself.
Pizza may be a favorite food for many, but it can pose some risks to people with diabetes. The key is knowing how your body reacts to certain types of pizza and what you should avoid if you have the condition. If you're looking for healthy alternatives that are still delicious, try different crusts or covering up the fat in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady.