Can People with Diabetes Eat Pizza? What to Know

Can People with Diabetes Eat Pizza?

Can People with Diabetes Eat Pizza? What to Know

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Key Takeaways

  • Pizza can be a high-carbohydrate food. The carbohydrates are metabolized into simple sugars, which can increase blood sugar levels. 
  • People with diabetes need to monitor their carbohydrate intake, but they can continue to eat pizza in moderation.
  • Choosing toppings and meal pairings can help to reduce the effect that eating pizza can have on your blood sugar levels. 

People with diabetes should monitor their intake of carbohydrates because they can raise blood sugar levels. Although pizza contains high amounts of carbohydrates, it also includes protein, fats, and fiber, which are essential for blood sugar control.

In this article, you’ll learn how to enjoy pizza when you have diabetes, which ingredients to consider when it comes to crust types, toppings, and meal pairings that can help to reduce the impact that eating pizza can have on your blood sugar levels.

Nourish offers personalized nutrition counseling to help you customize your diet to meet your diabetes needs. If you’re ready to take the next step in your health, consider booking a virtual appointment with a registered dietitian.

Can People with Diabetes Eat Pizza?

Put simply, yes—people with diabetes can continue to eat pizza in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet

Pizza’s Effect on Blood Sugar

Not all pizzas are made using the same ingredients. However, most types of pizza are high in overall carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the only food that directly increases blood sugar levels

There are many types of pizza dough prepared using refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, which has been processed to remove protein, fat, and fiber. Research shows that a high consumption of refined carbohydrates is associated with higher blood sugar levels, HbA1c (a three month average of blood sugar levels), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes when compared with a diet higher in whole carbohydrates.  

Crust Types and Nutrition Facts

Not long ago, choosing which type of pizza to eat mainly involved selecting which toppings you wanted. Now, you also have a wide range of crust options too. Whether you’re ordering from a restaurant or browsing the frozen foods section of your local grocery store, you may find options that include traditional, whole wheat, gluten free, and other types of crusts. 

Below are the nutrition facts for some of the most common pizza dough types available according to the United States Department of Agriculture:

100g of traditional pizza dough:

  • 219 calories.
  • 7.89g of protein.
  • 0.44g of fat.
  • 44.74g of carbohydrates.
  • 2.6g of fiber.
  • 1.75g of sugar.

100g of whole grain ultra thin pizza crust

  • 267 calories.
  • 8.89g of protein.
  • 3.33g of fat.
  • 51.11g of carbohydrates.
  • 8.9g of fiber.
  • 2.22g of sugar.

100g of gluten free pizza crust

  • 351 calories.
  • 5.26g of protein.
  • 1.75g of fat.
  • 78.95g of carbohydrates.
  • 7g of fiber.
  • 5.26g of sugar.

The nutrition facts listed above only show the comparison between different types of pizza crusts. Adding toppings such as cheese, sauce, meats, and vegetables will change the nutritional information. 

In the examples shown above, the gluten free pizza crust is made using brown rice flour (many types of gluten free crusts are made using rice flour), which increases the amount of total carbohydrates in comparison with the wheat-based crusts. 

When possible, it’s important to compare nutrition facts when selecting what type of pizza to eat if you have diabetes to ensure you’re getting an optimal ratio of carbohydrates, fats, protein, and fiber. Per the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the optimal meal ratio consists of one half non-starchy vegetables, one quarter carbohydrates, and one quarter protein. 

How Many Slices Can a Person with Diabetes Eat?

People with diabetes will have different dietary requirements according to their health and medication history, activity level, and other personal factors. Things to consider when deciding how many slices of pizza to eat include:

  • Meal balance: Have you added other fibrous or protein-rich items to your plate, like vegetables or roast chicken, that will help you to reach your fullness cues? 

Tips for Eating Pizza with Diabetes

When eaten in moderation and as part of an overall balanced diet, many people with diabetes can eat the type of pizza that they most enjoy. But there are some tips you can follow to ensure that your meal is balanced and blood-sugar-friendly. 

Use Balanced Toppings

General guidelines for eating with diabetes include eating a balance of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, plant-based sources of protein, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods. You may consider choosing the following to add to your pizza (if you like these foods):

  • Vegetables (popular options include mushroom, spinach, or arugula).
  • Roasted or grilled chicken.
  • Meatless protein substitutes.
  • Artichoke, bell peppers, onions (to increase your fiber intake). 

Try New Crust Options

Experimenting with different types of pizza crusts can help to reduce the total amount of carbohydrates or increase the total amount of fiber and protein in the dish. 

For example, if you’re a fan of deep-dish pizza, trying out a thin crust variety will help to reduce the total amount of carbohydrates. Other crust types, like gluten-free caulifower or whole wheat crusts, may contain more protein or fiber which can help to reduce spikes in blood sugar. But keep in mind that in some cases, the nutritional differences between crust options can be minimal. When possible, checking the nutritional facts label before purchasing can help you to choose a more diabetes-friendly crust option. 

Incorporate a Source of Protein

Protein is an essential component of a balanced diabetes meal plan and can make you feel more full than just eating carbohydrates or fats. Adding lean protein to your pizza, like salmon, tuna, or chicken, can help you to meet your nutritional needs and feel more satisfied after eating.

Pair with a Colorful Salad

Adding a colorful salad full of different types of vegetables will increase your fiber intake during mealtime. Fiber helps to control blood sugar levels, an important benefit for people with diabetes.

What to Look for in a Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizzas can vary greatly when it comes to their nutritional properties. When shopping for a diabetes-friendly frozen pizza, you should review the nutrition facts label as well as the ingredients list. Look for options that contain fewer refined carbohydrates and more protein and fiber.

If you want to learn more about how to safely incorporate pizza and other beloved foods into your diet, Nourish can connect you with a Registered Dietitian specialized in diabetes management. If you need help optimizing your diet, consider booking a virtual appointment today.


Eating foods that bring joy is important. If eating pizza brings you joy, you shouldn’t feel like you have to avoid it at every turn. Understanding how the ingredients can impact blood sugar levels is important to choosing what type of pizza can fit your needs. Equally important is knowing how to pair the food with sources of protein and fiber to make a more balanced and satisfying meal.

Managing Diabetes with an RD

For many people, managing a healthy diet with diabetes can seem overwhelming at first. But working with a registered dietitian can help you to learn how to plan healthy meals and occasionally incorporate pizza and other foods that you enjoy into your diet.

Book an appointment with Nourish and see a registered dietitian through your insurance.

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