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Pizza vs Burrito - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Introduction

Pizza has originated in Italy but today it is spread all over the world and is one of the most common fast foods. The original pizza is not categorized as fast food. The basic element of pizza is the dough, the sauce, and the cheese. It is highly versatile and can be vegan, vegetarian, and with meat products. 

The burrito, on the other hand, is Mexican. It is a tortilla wrapped around various elements that could be Mexican rice, beans, vegetables, cheese, and meat which can be beef, chicken, or pork. Burritos are described as savory filling and salsa-rich wraps that have a wide range of tastes and flavors. 

Culinary world

Both these can be modified from being healthy foods to junk food. This is due to the various ingredients present in them. 

Pizzas are the cornerstone of friend gatherings as there is no gathering without pizza however, most of the time delivery pizza is a fast-food pizza that is not considered to be healthy food. So be careful of the number of slices you eat, they are irresistible.
Burritos on the other hand are not as popular around the world as much as pizza is. However, they are mostly prepared as fast food and not healthy foods. Some cuisines have taken the concept of the burrito, made it into a burrito bowl and turned it into healthy food. This will be discussed in the diet section. 

In this article, we are going to compare the differences between pizza and burritos based on their nutritional data, weight loss and diets, and health impacts. 

Nutritional data

In this part of the article, the nutritional data is going to be discussed based on a comparison between 100g of pizza and burrito. The pizza taken into consideration is a fast-food pizza with cheese topping and regular crust and this would be compared to burritos with beans.
The serving size of each is important. 1 serving of pizza which is 1 slice is about 107g and 1 serving of a burrito is 217g

Calories

Pizza and burrito are considered to be moderate in calories, of course, this is based on 100g. 

Pizza has 266 calories compared to burritos which have 206 calories. Pizzas are higher in calories.

Glycemic index

The glycemic index for both has a range depending on the ingredients that are used. It is hard to pinpoint an exact glycemic index. Keeping in mind the portions of the pizza and burrito mentioned above, pizza has a higher glycemic index, which is 60, compared to burritos which have a glycemic index of 37.  

Carbs

Pizza and burrito have nearly similar carbs. Pizza has 33.33g of carbs whereas, the burrito has 32.92g of carbs. They are high in carbs. Nearly 100g of either would satisfy around 11% of the daily required carbs.

Proteins

Pizza has higher protein amounts compared to burritos. 

Fats 

Pizza has higher amounts of fats mostly due to the cheese topping.

The saturated fat in pizza fills 20% of the daily value, whereas, in burritos, it is lesser as it is 15% of the daily value.

It is important to take into consideration the amounts of trans fats when it comes to both foods.

Pizza has 0.24g of trans fats which makes around 12% of the daily required value. However, the burrito has a higher trans fat content of about 1.1g which is 55% of the daily value.

Minerals

Pizza and burritos are high in sodium. The recommended daily intake is about 2300 mg, and the sodium amount of pizza is 589mg, filling nearly 25% of the daily value. So 4 slices of pizza would fill 100% of the daily required value. The sodium amount of pizza has to be taken into consideration not only for hypertensive people but also for individuals who don’t suffer from any health problems. 

In the case of burrito, the sodium content is lesser compared to pizza yet it is still considered high since 100g of a burrito would make 19% of the daily value.

The mineral amount can vary but we are going to take into consideration the standard types of both foods as mentioned above.

Pizza is richer in calcium, iron, and phosphorus, whereas, the burrito is richer in magnesium.

Vitamins

Pizza is richer in vitamins B1, A, C, and folate. Whereas, the burrito is richer in vitamins B2 and B5. Although these can vary with the toppings and elements added to them.  

Weight loss and diets

Both pizza and burrito are not usually associated with weight loss. In a sentence together they are considered oxymorons. Although usually most pizzas and burritos are high in calories, some adaptations can be made to make them suitable for people who are craving them even when on a diet.

Pizzas are considered one of the most versatile foods. They can be adjusted to fit a healthy diet if required. Although a sacrifice would be made on most of the good parts of the pizza, like the pepperoni, the extra cheese, and the crust dipping in sauces. The goal of maintaining a certain diet for the long term is to have the least amount of restricted foods. The more restricted elements are in a certain diet, the more cravings for that particular food will happen. 

So a healthy alternative to a classic fast-food pizza would be a homemade one. Knowing what ingredients are being used helps with the process of preparation. A thin dough, less cheese, more vegetable toppings are the way to go. Of course, one should also control the number of slices consumed.  

Burrito, on the other hand, can be made to be healthier without sacrificing the best parts of it. Some people eat burritos with rice, which is not the normal standard. However, if that is the case, the rice has to be removed. Consider using leaner meat, less cheese, low-fat sour cream, or a little bit of sour cream, and fewer beans.  

Vegan

Both of them can be made into vegan versions. In the case of pizza, vegan cheese can be used with vegetable toppings. For a burrito, it can be made with mushrooms, or instead of ground beef, you can add extra red beans with the salsa. Sour cream and cheese have to be sacrificed in this case. The point is that you can still have a pizza or a burrito even on a vegan diet, however, a couple of modifications have to be made. 

Keto

Pizza made the keto list, with a couple of modifications of course. The carb source of pizza is the dough, so the challenge is to change the wheat-based dough. The alternative is cauliflower-based dough or almond flour-based dough. For the cheese, low-carb high-fat cheese can be consumed. 

When it comes to toppings it is important to find alternatives for high-carb toppings, like corn and you have the green light to stay away from pineapples on top of your pizza. 

Burritos on the other hand have a challenge with the tortilla wrap. An alternative to that would be a burrito bowl with fewer amounts of carbs sources and more protein. 

Gluten-free diets

People who suffer from celiac disease cannot consume gluten. Consumption of gluten would lead to severe symptoms thus gluten should be avoided for them. When it comes to the dough in pizza, which is made of wheat, it should be avoided by consuming gluten-free dough. 

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health

Pizza, as fast food, is one of the main concerns of deteriorating cardiovascular health among adults. Pizza has negative effects on cardiovascular health. (1) 

Pizzas are considered high in sodium. If the amount of sodium remains unmonitored over long periods of time, the risks of developing hypertension will be increased. (2) (3) 

On the other hand, the burrito has nearly 55% of the required daily trans fat which is associated with developing cardiovascular diseases. (4)

This paper shows a direct correlation between consuming burritos frequently and having a high BMI. High BMI is associated with an increased risk of hypertension. (5) 

Obesity

Pizza consumption has a direct link with increased risks of obesity. (6)

In addition to that, burrito consumption also has a direct link with obesity. High BMI is associated with frequent consumption of burritos. (7) 

Diabetes

Measuring blood glucose levels after consumption of pizza has shown a high increase in blood sugar levels, resulting in high thresholds of hyperglycemia. This hyperglycemic state on a constant and regular basis would lead to type 2 diabetes. (8) 

Similarly as mentioned above, a direct correlation between burrito consumption and high BMI is present and this leads to increased risks of developing diabetes. (9)

Cancer

Consumption of fast foods, including pizza and burrito, over long periods of time and in large amounts are associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer. (10)

Mental health

Sometimes consuming fast foods is considered as comfort food after a stressful day. However, this is proven to have negative long term effects associated with depression and stress.

Consumption of fasts foods is also associated with violent behaviour in children. (11) (12) 

Miscellaneous health benefits

Eating well-balanced homemade healthy pizza has its benefits.

Data shows that eating the above-mentioned healthy pizza reduces the risks of obesity. (13) 

The baker’s yeast added into pizzas have positive benefits on the overall health. It acts as an immune booster, metabolism booster, and enhancer for digestion and absorption of food. (14) 

An alternative to the fast-food burrito is the burrito bowl which is a healthier version. Cutting down the elements that give high fat and high carbs and replacing them with elements that satisfy the macronutrients and essential elements of diets is a better option. 

Summary

In summary, pizza has higher calories, proteins, carbs, fats, sodium, and is richer in vitamins and minerals. Burritos, on the other hand, have a lower glycemic index, lower saturated fats but they are higher in trans fats. Both are highly versatile and can be modified to be healthier.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772793/ 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381762/  
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770596/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23531781/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316192/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772793/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1397859/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8462382/ 
  9. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0229716
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29374411/ 
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25280418/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7041096/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24160252/ 
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18335702/ 
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: April 6, 2021

Infographic

Pizza vs Burrito infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Pizza
4
:
Contains more Iron +19.2%
Contains more Calcium +261.5%
Contains more Zinc +91.4%
Contains more Phosphorus +380%
Contains more Potassium +75%
Contains more Magnesium +66.7%
Contains more Copper +65.7%
Contains less Sodium -24.1%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 93% 57% 16% 18% 35% 37% 93% 78%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 78% 16% 27% 29% 58% 20% 20% 60%
Contains more Iron +19.2%
Contains more Calcium +261.5%
Contains more Zinc +91.4%
Contains more Phosphorus +380%
Contains more Potassium +75%
Contains more Magnesium +66.7%
Contains more Copper +65.7%
Contains less Sodium -24.1%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Pizza
8
:
Contains more Vitamin C +55.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +134%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +34.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +104.5%
Contains more Folate +132.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +43.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +75%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +19%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 5% 22% 17% 0% 98% 45% 72% 0% 19% 53% 17% 70%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 3% 10% 0% 0% 73% 65% 36% 56% 33% 63% 0% 30%
Contains more Vitamin C +55.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +134%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +34.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +104.5%
Contains more Folate +132.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +43.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +75%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +19%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
35
Pizza
30
Burrito
Mineral Summary Score
53
Pizza
38
Burrito

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
68%
Pizza
39%
Burrito
Carbohydrates
33%
Pizza
33%
Burrito
Fats
45%
Pizza
29%
Burrito

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Pizza Burrito
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price Equal
Rich in minerals Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Pizza Burrito
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food is richer in vitamins?
Pizza
Pizza is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Burrito
Burrito is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 15mg)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Burrito
Burrito is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.58g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Burrito
Burrito contains less Sodium (difference - 144mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Burrito
Burrito is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.291g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Burrito
Burrito is lower in glycemic index (difference - 23)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Pizza Burrito Opinion
Calories 266 206 Pizza
Protein 11.39 6.48 Pizza
Fats 9.69 6.22 Pizza
Vitamin C 1.4 0.9 Pizza
Carbs 33.33 32.92 Pizza
Cholesterol 17 2 Burrito
Vitamin D 0 Pizza
Iron 2.48 2.08 Pizza
Calcium 188 52 Pizza
Potassium 172 301 Burrito
Magnesium 24 40 Burrito
Sugar 3.58 Burrito
Fiber 2.3 Pizza
Copper 0.105 0.174 Burrito
Zinc 1.34 0.7 Pizza
Starch 26.95 Pizza
Phosphorus 216 45 Pizza
Sodium 598 454 Burrito
Vitamin A 358 153 Pizza
Vitamin E 0.83 Pizza
Vitamin D 0 Pizza
Vitamin B1 0.39 0.29 Pizza
Vitamin B2 0.195 0.28 Burrito
Vitamin B3 3.825 1.87 Pizza
Vitamin B5 0.92 Burrito
Vitamin B6 0.08 0.14 Burrito
Vitamin B12 0.42 0.5 Burrito
Vitamin K 6.7 Pizza
Folate 93 40 Pizza
Trans Fat 0.241 Burrito
Saturated Fat 4.465 3.174 Burrito
Monounsaturated Fat 2.608 2.184 Pizza
Polyunsaturated fat 1.681 0.551 Pizza
Tryptophan 0.079 Burrito
Threonine 0.41 0.244 Pizza
Isoleucine 0.564 0.27 Pizza
Leucine 1.139 0.504 Pizza
Lysine 0.77 0.343 Pizza
Methionine 0.264 0.107 Pizza
Phenylalanine 0.664 0.351 Pizza
Valine 0.72 0.319 Pizza
Histidine 0.355 0.172 Pizza
Fructose 1 Pizza

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Pizza - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173292/nutrients
  2. Burrito - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172038/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.