Is pizza a junk food?
Why or why not? It is made of wheat dough and cheese, both natural food items. Why is it still considered a junk food?
"Junk" is relative. If you run 10 miles and then go out for a slice or two of Pizza (topped with a ton of vegetables), it's probably just what your body needs. If you don't get much if any exercise, order the meat lovers pizza and eat four slices, then it's likely really not what you should be eating.
Because of that, you have to define "junk" in terms of how you live your life (exercise, general diet, etc.) and how much you eat of it (just a slice or half a pie). For most people in the USA, pizza is really "the worst of the worst".
Pizza contains a lot of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Consumed in the proper quantities with the right amount of exercise, it really doesn't end up being all that bad for you. But based on American eating habits, physical exercise and how the pizza is prepared, it's most certainly the junkiest of junk foods.
I work in an Italian restaurant where the focus is pizza. We have a good selection of pizzas that come in under 500 calories. We use light mozzarella and a very thin base.
The key to pizza not being classed as junk food is the quality and amounts of ingredients plus the way it's cooked. The use of as many fresh ingredients as possible provides a much better pizza experience - It's healthier, it's not as greasy.
Less is more in this case. There's no point in overloading your pizza, there's just too many flavours mixing together. You can't possibly taste them all. Fewer ingredients ensure a more pleasant, full-bodied taste. Pizzas need to be cooked fast for the best flavour and consistency. If you're using fresh ingredients, flash heating them helps to preserve their nutrient.
What makes it junk is:
1. Processed flour instead of natural whole grain flour.
2. All of the additives, fillings and preservatives that go into the cheese and meat toppings as well as the tomato sauce.
If you make the dough at home with 100% whole grain flour, light cheese and fresh veggies, that's a wholesome meal.
Real Italian pizza is by no means junk food. It is made with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, olive oil, spices, real mozzarella, and a variety of toppings, mostly vegetables. It is actually a quite healthy meal. The Americanized version of pizza, however, is junk food. Just like any other type of American food.