This is one HUGE issue in our world! The number of diabetics is growing rapidly year over year, but at the same time, people are consuming more and more pizza because it TASTES GOOD! Hey, I get it. And guess what! I HAVE DIABETES! Now, before we move on, it’s worth a quick outline explaining in brief, simple terms what diabetes is.
What is Diabetes?
There are TWO types of diabetes (there are actually more, but they are just derivatives of the main two, so we’ll just skip them for now). Each of the two types of diabetes is so different, that they may as well be totally different conditions. The only reason they are related is that they both ultimately result in elevated blood sugar levels if left uncontrolled. But, as to how they reach that point, they couldn’t be more different. Depending on which type of diabetes you have, you’ll approach your daily routine very differently.
What are the 2 Types of Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes
The vast majority of people living with diabetes have type two diabetes. This type of diabetes results from your body having what is called “insulin resistance” which means the insulin your pancreas produces is unable to be properly used by your body to facilitate the migration of sugar from your bloodstream into the cells of your body. Here’s a quote from the Diabetes Canada website:
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes. As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.
As a side note, most of the cases of type two diabetes can be virtually cured with a radical change of lifestyle (exercise) and diet (eat what you know you should – like mostly vegetables).
Type 1 Diabetes
Less than 10% (closer to 5%) of all people living with diabetes in North America have type 1. Unfortunately for those people, type 1 is usually more serious and so far, there is no way to heal or cure this condition. It’s also the type of diabetes I HAVE! With Type 1 diabetes, your body has an autoimmune condition where your pancreas is being attacked by antibodies. As a result, your own body kills your pancreas, which in turn makes your pancreas unable to produce insulin. However, insulin is necessary to allow the sugar in your bloodstream to enter your cells for energy. That means you need to inject pharmaceutical insulin into your body after meals for the rest of your life!
Why The Focus on Diabetes and Pizza?
Traditionally, pizza is one of the worst nightmare foods for a diabetic. Pizza crusts are usually extremely high in carbohydrates. Your body turns carbohydrates into sugar (usually very quickly with the type of dough used in pizza) which quickly increases (or “spikes”) your blood’s sugar level which causes huge physical problems over the long term (blindness, amputation, etc.)
Our goal in this article is to offer you some great-tasting pizza options that minimize both the amount of carbohydrate in the pizza, and also the type of carbohydrate (we want the type that slowly raises blood sugar over a longer time rather than “spiking”it immediately). If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me just be blunt; The whiter and thicker the crust, the worse it is for you. Another way of looking at it is this; If you’ve heard of a pizza chain anywhere in North America (ie. Pizza Hut, Dominos, Pizza Pizza, etc.) then you’ll want to stay as far from them as possible! Just trust me on that!!
The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting your carbohydrate intake to 45 to 60 grams per meal. Just one slice of a pizza from one of the chain pizza stores contains up to 37 grams. You can’t help but have 3 pieces or more, and that spells trouble! Diabetes also puts extra strain on the cardiovascular system, raising heart disease risk. Cheese and high-fat pizza toppings, such as sausage, bacon, ham, and pepperoni, contain elevated levels of saturated fat and salt, which need to be limited on a heart-healthy diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends a maximum intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, or 1,500 milligrams if you have hypertension. Most decadent pieces of pizza from a chain restaurant have over 600 milligrams of sodium. You can see how you can get into nutrition trouble quickly if you don’t keep a tight leash on your diet. Saturated fat should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.
What’s the Takeaway?
This is not meant to be an essay on diabetes, but I thought a quick primer would be helpful. Regardless of what type of Diabetes you have, eating healthier should be a huge priority if you’d like to live as long as possible, and enjoy a good quality of life. To that end, we have some great suggestions for those of you who have diabetes or pre-diabetes, and also happen to love pizza!
In this article, we’ll outline 7 life-changing(literally) recipes for diabetics looking to enjoy pizza. These are specifically targeted to diabetics. Generally speaking, the recipes here are better for EVERYONE, not just diabetics, but there are some minor differences in some cases between a “healthy” pizza and a diabetic-friendly pizza. For healthy pizza-making ideas, see our article HERE, where we give you 10 quick tips on how to keep your pizza as healthy as possible.
7 Life-changing (literally) RECIPES for Diabetics
** It may do well for many of these recipes to stock up on thin crust prepared crusts to make your life easier. All the better if you make a healthy crust yourself, but for those who simply can’t take the time to do that, here are some excellent suggestions:
Life-Changer #1. Classic Diabetic Pizza
The idea in this recipe is to keep the saturated fat content low-ish by using low-fat meats. We’re also trying to minimize the amount of carbohydrate in each slice by using a thin crust. We’re not too focused on the content of the crust itself, just that it’s very thin, so there’s no room for lots of carbs!
Life-Changer #2. Goat Cheese Pizza.
If you check out the ingredients on this one, you’ll see we’re really going for the healthy option here. If you use meat at all, we’re suggesting lean white chicken, and again with thin crust to minimize simple carbohydrates.
Life-Changer #3. Thin crust pepperoni and vegetable pizza.
Here’s a fun twist where you don’t need any pizza crust at all. There is a crust, but it’s a tortilla rather than traditional crust.
Life-Changer #4. Low Carb Almond Pizza Crust
We love this almond flour (meal) based pie. Keep in mind this recipe is for the crust only because that’s the main differentiating element to this pizza. You can use any of the other pizza recipes we’ve outlined here for topping ideas.
Almond meal works a whole lot like regular thin pizza crust and it stays pretty crispy like a regular pizza. The almond flour makes this a high-calorie pizza, but the ENTIRE pizza has only 19 grams of carbohydrate (depending on what you put on top). Pretty sweet!
Life-Changer #5. Eggplant Pizza
Okay, this is really a pizza cheat (technically), since it’s really just eggplant topped with good stuff, but we think it’ll kill the cravings to a great extent, and boost your health factor to “way up there”. Just give it a try …. please?
Life-Changer #6. Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Here’s a cheese-less crust that is full of goodness. There’s not even one teensy thing in here that’s not actually good for you, and that will make your body better off for having eaten it! I admit I didn’t discover this on my own since I’m not super hardcore with my pizza nutrition (I don’t eat it every day so you get it right?). This recipe comes courtesy of Michelle from theluckypennyblog.com
Life-Changer #7. Breakfast Pizza
It’s true! This is a bit of a scam because it’s just EGGS! But, it’s a good scam. It’s decadent like any good pizza should be, and it’s healthy. That’s a rare combo these days, so I think you should take it while the gettin’s good!