Cauliflower was a magical shapeshifter in the world of low-carb products that could manifest itself as many other popular foods like rice, oatmeal, and probably the most magical of them all: pizza crust. But is cauliflower pizza crust healthy? POPSUGAR asked registered nutritionist Rhyan Geiger, RDN, to weigh himself.
Why are people so obsessed with cauliflower pizza?
Cauliflower Everything has increased in recent years, and this is likely due to the halo of health that surrounds cauliflower products, Geiger explained. “A health halo is the perception that a particular food is healthy even when there is little or no evidence that it is true,” she said. Cauliflower itself is healthy as it is a low-carb, high-fiber cruciferous vegetable that has been shown to help prevent certain types of cancer. But it’s often only added to products for its popularity as a low-carb product, not for its health benefits. “I think it’s great that with this trend people want to eat more vegetables,” she said.
Is Cauliflower Pizza Healthier Than Regular Pizza?
Businesses take advantage of the cauliflower halo of health. However, if you look at the ingredient list for cauliflower crust pizzas, cauliflower isn’t the only ingredient. It’s a flour crust (often refined flour!) With cauliflower, explained Geiger, and cheese and egg are often added as binders to soften the crust, which increases cholesterol and saturated fat. Processed foods are still processed and are not the healthiest option.
The amount of calories and health will also depend on the toppings added. If your cauliflower crust is laden with extra cheese, sausage, hot peppers, buffalo chicken, or ranch dressing, it’s still a high-calorie, high-fat pizza. Because of these toppings, there is not much difference in the nutritional composition compared to normal pizza, since cauliflower crust pizza is not low in calories or low in fat and still contains carbohydrates. That means that eating often does nothing to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
However, homemade cauliflower crust or store-bought crust, which is mostly cauliflower, can be a healthy option, Geiger said. If you want to make your own, try this vegan cauliflower crust recipe, made with a whole head of cauliflower, almond flour, and herbs.
Any pizza can be healthy; Here is how
All foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle. It just depends on how often and how much a person eats, Geiger said. Eating high-calorie, high-fat pizza (cauliflower or regular) every day is not recommended, but eating pizza every now and then is fine. To make the pizza healthier, try to eat fewer slices, with half of the plate being some type of vegetable, and go home-made as often as possible. “Add a variety of vegetables to your pizza toppings and avoid high-fat processed products like meats and cheeses,” she also suggested. Adding vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes to your pizza will increase the fiber and make them fuller without adding tons of calories.