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Pizza vs Hamburger - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Pizza
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Introduction

The origin of pizza is traced back to Italy. It is a combination of thin dough, home-made tomato sauce, fresh cheese, meat products like salami, and other types of garnishes. However, nowadays pizzas are also made in the fast-food industry and are consumed during gatherings, and on the go. These pizzas are different than the homemade original pizza, as they have a thicker dough, more cheese, usually processed, and fatty toppings. 

Burgers can be classified as the cornerstone of healthy food, however, it can also be very unhealthy fast food. The healthier option can be made with a chicken breast or low-fat lean ground meat with vegetable and low fat and low carbohydrates sauces. However, it can also be made with fried chicken, high-fat ground meat, bacon, processed cheese, and the unhealthy option of sauces.

In this article, the selected pizza and burger categories are the average type of pizzas and burgers. To give perspective, the pizza that is taken into consideration has some vegetable toppings and average thickness dough. The burger that is taken into consideration is an average homemade cheeseburger. Any additional topping that might affect a certain nutritional category, will be discussed.

This article will include a comparison of the nutritional content, vitamin and mineral contents, health impacts, and general aspects of pizzas and burgers.  

Nutritional content comparison 

What makes the burger richer in protein compared to pizzas, is the burger patty. However, that does not mean that pizzas are low in protein. The cheese is a protein source in pizzas, and additional toppings like chicken or beef increase the protein content of pizzas as well. 



Concerning fats, burgers and pizzas have similar amounts of fats, as they have high amounts of saturated fats. There is a slight difference between both of them, as burgers have a slightly higher amount, 11g of fats per 100g while pizzas contain 10g of fats. Nevertheless, this difference could be considered negligible. However, if toppings are added like bacon and cheese on burgers, pepperoni, and ham on pizzas, these numbers vary according to the added topping. 

Another aspect of burgers is that they have higher amounts of cholesterol compared to pizzas, with 47 mg per 100g with the cholesterol for burgers and 17mg per 100g for pizzas. 

Pizzas have higher amounts of carbohydrates because of the dough and the cheese. The dough is mostly the source of carbohydrate from the pizzas, and the cheese contains some amounts of lactose which is a carbohydrate. The main source of carbohydrate that comes from burgers is the bun and the sauces which might contain sugars in them. 

 

Vitamin content comparison

Pizzas contain a good amount of vitamin A which comes from the cheese and B complex (B1, B3, B9) from its different components. It also contains vitamin C if the toppings include green bell peppers. 

Burgers, on the other hand, contain vitamin B complex family, like B1, B2, B3, B12. However, the common vitamins B1, B3 is far less than the ones that are in pizzas. 

Mineral content comparison

Given that pizzas contain cheese, it has a good amount of calcium. Other minerals in pizza are phosphorus, manganese, and iron. However, the amount of sodium should be taken into consideration while consuming pizzas, as it contains 600mg of sodium per 100g which is an amount to be taken into consideration if someone’s sodium levels have to be controlled.  

Burgers that contain beef as a patty, have a considerable amount of iron in them, 22 mg per 100 grams. Another aspect of a cheeseburger is the amount of calcium that comes from the cheese itself. Burgers also contain a considerable amount of zinc. Similarly to pizzas, burgers contain a high amount of sodium that cannot be neglected, 414mg per 100 grams. 

Health impact 

The sodium content of fast-food chain pizzas and burgers are not usually controlled and have a higher chance of becoming above the recommended values. This increases health issues related to hypertension and other diseases related to high sodium consumptions. (1)

Fast-food chain pizzas and burgers are usually products of highly processed ingredients and big sized portions. This leads to high caloric intake and results in obesity in adolescents and adults alike. (2) 

Pizzas that are made with non-processed and not refined sugars have shown protection against colorectal and upper digestive tract cancers. This is the result of the lycopene in the tomato sauce and the healthy fatty acids in olive oils. (3)

It was observed that the consumption of healthy and nutritionally balanced pizzas that are prepared according to healthy nutritional guidelines decreased the risks of obesity in most adults. (4)

If the pizza is prepared with baker’s yeast, it has an additional nutritional value. The baker’s yeast has many benefits as it acts as an immune booster, metabolic booster, and digestion/absorption enhancer. (5)

Homemade burgers prepared according to healthy nutritional guidelines are highly nutritious and healthy. It provides a good source of proteins, fibers, iron and vitamin B complex. 

General aspects

Pizzas are prepared in various ways, and the recommended method is to prepare it to fulfill healthy cravings. White, unprocessed cheeses such as mozzarella must be used, and vegetables, toppings are always recommended to make the pizza healthier and satisfy your hunger quickly due to all the fibers.  If the dough contains yeast in it, it makes the pizza healthier because of all the additional nutritional benefits that the yeast offers. 

Burgers can be the cornerstone of a good meal, or it can turn into a bad meal full of saturated and trans fats. When the burger is prepared for healthy food purposes, it can be a very balanced, healthy meal given its different components. However, one must be careful of the additional ingredients added such as bacon and sauces in order to avoid turning the burger into an unhealthy one. 

Highly processed burger patties of unknown sources cause health issues in the long run because of the unknown components added during its “manufacturing” process. It is always preferable to order the ground meat of the burger from a trusted supplier or butcher. (6)

Pizzas and burgers have numerous ingredients and components that have a lot of variables. These changes can provide different nutritional values. For example, the dough of the pizza or the bun of the burger can be made with whole-grain wheat or gluten-free, which affect the carbohydrate and sugar content of both. 

Another aspect is the cheese of the pizza. It can be made as non-dairy cheese which affects its vitamin A content and sugar content.

For burgers, plant-based or chicken sources can be options for the patty. These affect the protein, iron, and vitamin content of the burger.

Summary

In summary, burgers are richer in protein, iron, and zinc and contain more cholesterol. Pizzas are richer in vitamin A, B complex, C, and calcium. They are both high in mostly saturated fats. Burgers and pizzas have remarkable amounts of sodium, burgers relatively less. 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780690/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3095143/
  3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ijc.11382
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24160252/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18335702/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18995204/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: November 29, 2020

Infographic

Pizza vs Hamburger 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 Calcium +84.3%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Copper +15.4%
Contains more Phosphorus +58.8%
Contains more Iron +16.1%
Contains more Potassium +31.4%
Contains more Zinc +114.2%
Contains less Sodium -30.8%
Contains more Calcium +84.3%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Copper +15.4%
Contains more Phosphorus +58.8%
Contains more Iron +16.1%
Contains more Potassium +31.4%
Contains more Zinc +114.2%
Contains less Sodium -30.8%

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 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +79.7%
Contains more Folate, total +66.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +28.2%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +153.8%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +242.9%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +79.7%
Contains more Folate, total +66.1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +28.2%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +40.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +153.8%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +242.9%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
29
Pizza
25
Hamburger
Mineral Summary Score
39
Pizza
35
Hamburger

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 the food
Protein
68%
Pizza
102%
Hamburger
Carbohydrates
33%
Pizza
24%
Hamburger
Fats
45%
Pizza
66%
Hamburger

Comparison summary table

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

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

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

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Pizza
Pizza is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 30mg)
Which food contains less Sugars?
Pizza
Pizza contains less Sugars (difference - 0.57g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pizza
Pizza is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.631g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Pizza
Pizza is lower in glycemic index (difference - 36)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Hamburger
Hamburger contains less Sodium (difference - 184mg)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in minerals. See charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Pizza Hamburger Opinion
Calories 266 295 Hamburger
Protein 11.39 17.08 Hamburger
Fats 9.69 14.36 Hamburger
Vitamin C 1.4 0 Pizza
Carbs 33.33 24.1 Pizza
Cholesterol 17 47 Pizza
Vitamin D 0 Pizza
Iron 2.48 2.88 Hamburger
Calcium 188 102 Pizza
Potassium 172 226 Hamburger
Magnesium 24 20 Pizza
Sugars 3.58 4.15 Hamburger
Fiber 2.3 0.9 Pizza
Copper 0.105 0.091 Pizza
Zinc 1.34 2.87 Hamburger
Starch 26.95 Pizza
Phosphorus 216 136 Pizza
Sodium 598 414 Hamburger
Vitamin A 358 0 Pizza
Vitamin E 0.83 Pizza
Vitamin D 0 Pizza
Vitamin B1 0.39 0.217 Pizza
Vitamin B2 0.195 0.25 Hamburger
Vitamin B3 3.825 5.365 Hamburger
Vitamin B5 0.31 Hamburger
Vitamin B6 0.08 0.203 Hamburger
Vitamin B12 0.42 1.44 Hamburger
Vitamin K 6.7 Pizza
Folate, total 93 56 Pizza
Folic acid (B9) 52 Pizza
Trans Fat 0.241 0.814 Pizza
Saturated Fat 4.465 5.096 Pizza
Monounsaturated Fat 2.608 5.495 Hamburger
Polyunsaturated fat 1.681 0.38 Pizza
Tryptophan 0.206 Hamburger
Threonine 0.41 0.666 Hamburger
Isoleucine 0.564 0.716 Hamburger
Leucine 1.139 1.319 Hamburger
Lysine 0.77 1.226 Hamburger
Methionine 0.264 0.37 Hamburger
Phenylalanine 0.664 0.677 Hamburger
Valine 0.72 0.823 Hamburger
Histidine 0.355 0.505 Hamburger
Fructose 1 2.03 Hamburger

References

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

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

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