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The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the diets of 507 hospitalised Italians recovering from their first heart attack and 478 controls, and found that the more pizza eaten, the lower their risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The authors of the study could not explain the link with pizza eating, but suggest that some of the ingredients of pizza have been shown to have a favourable influence on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In Italy most pizza is usually consumed in traditional pizzerias, and consumption of "fast food" pizza is unusual. 100 g of a traditional Italian pizza has about 50g of carbohydrates, 20 g of tomato sauce, 20 g of mozzarella cheese, 4 g of olive oil, and 2 g of yeast. In terms of being a healthy meal, a pizza on its own is not ideal, as it contains relatively few vegetables, but combined with a fresh green salad, traditional Italian pizza could score better than a lot of other commonly available restaurant meals. In analysing the contents of a basic traditional pizza, real mozzarella cheese is one of the few cheeses that is acceptable for the diets of most blood groups; the pizza base, although made from wheat, is a relatively small part of the meal when compared with a deep pan pizza or pasta, for example, and more suited to individuals of blood groups A and AB, who have higher risk of heart disease than those with blood groups O and B; tomato is neutral or beneficial for non-secretors (who are at higher risk of heart disease than secretors); olive oil is generally beneficial; and a standard Italian pizza contains about 500-800 Calories, reducing the risk of obesity from calorie consumption. Pizza eaters were classed as occasional (one to three 200 g portions a month), regular (more than one a week), and frequent (two or more a week).
N.B. This is not a recommendation to those at risk of heart disease to eat lots of pizza: the 478 controls who ate more pizza than the 507 who had had a heart attack were also in hospital, so eating pizza does not keep you out of hospital. For specific individualised health advice consult your naturopath, and read the book 'Cardiovascular Disease: Fight It With The Blood Type Diet' by Dr. Peter D'Adamo.
Pizza and risk of acute myocardial infarction. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;58(11):1543-6. Gallus S, Tavani A, Vecchia CL. PMID: 15138460
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