Pizza vs. Hamburger — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Burgers and pizzas have high amounts of sodium, and burgers are relatively less. Burgers are richer in protein, iron, and zinc and contain more cholesterol. Pizzas are richer in vitamins A, B complex, C, and calcium. They are both high in saturated fats.
Table of contents
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 particular nutritional category will be discussed.
This article will compare the nutritional content, vitamin and mineral contents, health impacts, and actual differences between pizzas and burgers.
The origin of pizza is traced back to Italy. It is a combination of thin dough, homemade tomato sauce, fresh cheese, meat products like salami, and other 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 from the original homemade pizza. They have a thicker dough, more cheese, usually processed, and fatty toppings.
Burgers can be classified as the cornerstone of healthy food; however, they can also be very unhealthy fast food. We can make the healthier option with chicken breast or low-fat lean ground meat with vegetables and low-fat and low carbohydrates sauces. However, We can also make it with fried chicken, high-fat ground meat, bacon, processed cheese, and the unhealthy option of sauces.
Pizzas are prepared in various ways, and the recommended method is to prepare them to fulfill healthy cravings. We must use white, unprocessed cheeses such as mozzarella 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, it makes the pizza healthier because of all the yeast's additional nutritional benefits.
Burgers can be the cornerstone of a good meal, or they 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, to avoid turning the burger into unhealthy.
Highly processed burger patties from unknown sources cause health issues in the long run because of the unknown components added during the "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. For example, the dough of the pizza or the burger's bun can be made with whole-grain wheat or gluten-free, which affects the carbohydrate and sugar content of both. These changes can provide different nutritional values.
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.
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 them, as burgers contain a slightly higher amount, 11g of fats per 100g, while pizzas contain 10g of fats. Nevertheless, this difference could be considered negligible. However, suppose toppings like bacon and cheese on burgers, pepperoni, and ham on pizzas. In that case, these numbers vary according to the added topping.
Another aspect of burgers is that they have higher amounts of cholesterol than pizzas, with 47 mg per 100g of cholesterol for burgers and 17mg per 100g for pizzas.
Fat Type Comparison
Pizzas have higher amounts of carbohydrates because of the dough and the cheese. The dough is the source of carbohydrates from the pizzas, and the cheese contains some amounts of lactose, which is a carbohydrate. The main source of carbohydrates in burgers is the bun and the sauces, which might contain sugars.
Carbohydrate type comparison
Vitamin content comparison
Pizzas contain a good amount of vitamin A 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.
On the other hand, Burgers contain vitamin B complex family, like B1, B2, B3, and B12. However, the common vitamins B1, and B3 are 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 considered 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 containing beef as a patty have a considerable amount of iron, 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. Like pizzas, burgers contain a high amount of sodium that cannot be neglected, 414mg per 100 grams.
The sodium content of fast-food chain pizzas and burgers is not usually controlled. It has a higher chance of becoming above the recommended values. This increases health issues related to hypertension and other diseases related to high sodium consumption (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 made with non-processed and not refined sugars have shown protection against colorectal and upper digestive tract cancers. This results from 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. 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.
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in price||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||69µg||0µg|
|Omega-3 - EPA||0.004g|
|Omega-3 - DPA||0.004g|
|Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid||0.003g|
|Omega-6 - Linoleic acid||1.367g|
|Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid||0.003g|
|Omega-3 - ALA||0.175g|
|Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid||0.009g|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.