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Monday, November 28, 2011

What is a Vegetable? Pizza is NOT a Vegetable!

Freedictionary.com states this for the definition of a vegetable:

veg·e·ta·ble (vjt-bl, vj-t-) n.
     a. A plant cultivated for an edible part, such as the root of the beet, the leaf of spinach, or the flower buds of broccoli or cauliflower.
     b. The edible part of such a plant.
     c. A member of the vegetable kingdom; a plant.

1. Of, relating to, or derived from plants or a plant.
2. Suggestive of or resembling a plant.
3. Growing or multiplying like plants.

Now, I ask...is pizza a vegetable?  Let's break down the components of pizza starting with it's base or crust.  The crust is not a vegetable as it is made from dough (flour and yeast).  Then comes the tomato paste.  This is where it gets a little sticky and where the U.S. Government has failed when it comes to regulations.  The law put in place allows 2 Tbsp (the amount typically used/slice) to be considered a vegetable.  The 2 Tbsp of tomato paste doesn't measure up to the vegetable regulations from MyPlate.  MyPlate recommends 2 1/2-3 cups of vegetables per person and considers 1 large tomato, 1 cup chopped or sliced to be 1 vegetable or 1 cup of tomato juice to count as 1 vegetable.  No where does it say that 2 Tbsp or 1/8 cup of tomato paste is equivalent to 1 vegetable!  Side note: technically speaking, tomatoes are fruits.

These regulations are actually in place for the school lunch system that feeds many children.  A population base already in danger of obesity and it's related health risks.

Back to the pizza, on top of the tomato paste comes the toppings.  Last time I checked, most people were not topping their pizza with only vegetables.  According to Shareranks.com, cheese, pepperoni, chicken, bacon, and meatballs are the top 5 toppings. Among the top 10 include Canadian bacon/ham, onions, sausage, goats cheese, and mushrooms.  So, out of 10 top toppings, onions (at #7) and mushrooms (at #10) are the only vegetables listed!  I don't believe you would get a cup out of the amount of onions and mushrooms on a slice of most Americans' pizza slices. 

Now that we have the pizza components identified, we can see that counting pizza as a vegetable is quite a ludicrous thing to do.  We encourage everyone to add cups and cups of veggies to their pizzas so that they can, in fact and accurately, count their pizza toppings towards their vegetable count for the day, but we know that may not be reality. 

It's important to know the facts.  Know the facts about what counts as a vegetable and how to get the recommended number in each day.  The only one you end up hurting in the long run is yourself for denying the fact that you thought pizza was a vegetable!

At HNT, we can help you to achieve the goal of getting in 3 full cups of vegetables.  It takes skill and strategy to implement this lifestyle change and we would love to help you make it your lifestyle to get 3 cups in each day. Call our office 317.489.4817 for more detail about our health and weight management program.

(source of definition)


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