The New ‘Healthier’ Pizza

Domino’s Pizza has been in the news for it’s latest offering of a gluten-free pizza. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Many people are sensitive to gluten, so I thought I’d check out the ingredients. I was hopeful the other crust ingredients would be healthful as well.

Because of all the hoopla over trans fats, most fast food pizzas no longer contain them. You’ll usually see soybean oil listed instead. I’m not a fan of soybean oil. Soy and corn are the two most Genetically Modified (GMO) crops. Unless “organic” soybean oil is used, you’re getting a GMO.

Naturally, Dominoes provides a disclaimer for their gluten-free crust: “Pizzas made with Gluten-Free Crust are made in a common kitchen. We do not have a separate area in our kitchens that are guaranteed free from gluten. While the Gluten-Free Crust is certified to be free of gluten, the pizzas made with the Gluten Free Crust use the same ingredients and utensils as all of our other pizzas.”

Ingredients for Dominoes Gluten-Free Crust are “Water, Rice Flour, Rice Starch, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Evaporated Cane Juice, Tapioca Flour, Potato Flour, Fresh Yeast, Avicel, Salt, Calcium Propionate.”

The Secret Ingredient
Dominoes Gluten-Free Crust uses olive oil. I was very happy to see that! But I found one ingredient that was hard to identify: avicel. In fact, I had to look up avicel: “Avicel is a microcrystalline cellulose powder. Available both as a fine powder and a gel, it can be used to replace dry or fat-based ingredients in food preparation. It adds no taste, calories, smell, or nutrition to the food. Wood is chemically treated to extract naturally occurring cellulose to create avicel.”

Ah, I know what cellulose is and I’m not too happy to learn that wood is on the ingredient list. Wood may be “naturally occurring” but it shouldn’t be consumed by humans, maybe woodchucks (woodchucks are even too smart to actually eat wood) or beavers, but not people.

Common Ingredients in Fast Food Pizza
Most fast food pizzas contain dough conditioners, silicon dioxide, sugar, artificial flavoring, stabilizers, calcium silicate, preservatives and the like.

With more people concerned about healthful ingredients, most make health claims. Blackjack Pizza promises no peanuts, peanut oil, nuts or MSG in their pizza ingredients. Papa Johns Pizza promises “Better ingredients, better pizza” and “No trans fats or MSG.” It gets confusing. No trans fats or MSG says something specific. Better ingredients means nothing. The only way to know for sure what’s in their pizzas is to check out the ingredient list online or ask to read it in the store.

Kaylee thinks it’s more fun to make her own pizza.

Zpizza is in 17 states including two stores in Colorado, although there isn’t one near where I live. I wish there was! They use organic flower and olive oil in their regular pizza and they offer a gluten-free pizza, as well. Zpizza uses rBGH-free mozzarella and offer a vegan cheese for those who are lactose intolerant.

Overall, I’d say the pizza industry is making baby steps to improve the quality of their product, largely because of customer demand. The inclusion of a gluten-free pizza an is attempt to widen the slice of the pizza pie. Speak up; tell your favorite pizza parlor what you’d like to eat. Then vote with your dollar. Of course you can always make your own pizza at home using the most healthful ingredients. That’s what I do… Click Here for Papa’s Pizza recipe.

Now, if only I could get Zpizza to open a store near me.



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