If you’re going to make a concerted effort to eat a healthy and well rounded diet, it’s important to make sure that the foods you’re choosing are actually good for you. Making healthy swaps in your eating routine is one of the best ways to easily create a weight loss plan you can stick to that doesn’t hinge on deprivation. However, sometimes the swaps you make don’t end up being as healthy as you initially thought they were, actually standing in the way of weight loss.
Falling into a weight loss plateau or even gaining weight after you’ve worked to streamline your diet can be extremely frustrating, so it may be time to evaluate your eating choices to make sure that the meals you’re turning to each day actually provide you body with the nutrients it needs for weight loss. If you’re feeling stuck in your diet, there’s one ‘healthy’ meal you may be eating which isn’t actually as good for you as you may have thought, and dietitians warn you should steer clear in order to see real results.
In recent years, cauliflower crust pizza has become increasingly popular as a healthier alternative to a traditional pie. It’s often regarded as lower in calories and carbs, making it a valuable addition to your diet for weight loss. However, cauliflower crust pizza may not actually be as healthy as it seems, explains registered dietitian Jana Mowrer, MPH, RDN, CDCES. “While this swap may be lower in carbs than a regular pizza crust, it’s often much higher in total fats, saturated fats and overall calories because the second ingredient is often cheese,” she explains. “While it’s lower in carbs, many people think serving sizes do not apply and will overindulge, actually consuming more calories (which can lead to weight gain) despite it being a healthier or lower carb option.”
Seeing as this crust has ‘cauliflower’ in the name, it can create a misconception that you’re essentially eating a serving of vegetables with this meal. However, the reality is that cauliflower crust really does not contain many more benefits than a traditional whole wheat crust, and when it comes down to it, pizza is pizza. “Some cauliflower crusts are higher in calories and may have just as many carbs as a thin, 100% whole-wheat pizza crust. Alternative crusts that are high in calories won’t help you with weight loss, since calories have the most direct impact on weight. If too many of your calories come from fat and protein, you can gain weight — even when you’re on a low-carb diet,” Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE tells Cleveland Clinic.
Factoring in the other ingredients in a cauliflower crust as well as the toppings of your pizza makes the meal markedly less nutritious, and although it is often touted as a healthy alternative to a traditional pizza dinner, the reality is that even recipes containing vegetables can still be considered unhealthy. “Companies use the health halo of cauliflower to their advantage, but if you look at the ingredients list on cauliflower-crust pizzas, cauliflower isn’t the only ingredient. It is a flour (often refined flour!) crust with cauliflower added,” registered dietitian Rhyan Geiger RDN tells Popsugar. “Often cheese and egg are added as a binder and to make the crust softer, which increases the cholesterol and saturated fat. Processed food any way you look at it is still processed and not the healthiest option.”
It’s important to remember that you can still enjoy foods that may not fall under the traditional umbrella of ‘healthy’ even when you are working to lose weight. Categorizing items into the titles ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ can have a polarizing effect and make it difficult to create a positive relationship with food, so it’s best to approach eating with openmindedness and find ways to exercise moderation in your habits. While cauliflower crust does contain vegetables as a primary ingredient, it is also made of a variety of other less nutritious ingredients, and when eaten in excess under the impression of it being a healthy meal can cause inadvertant weight gain. For better success, try building your dishes around actual fresh vegetables that don’t contain a slew of processed ingredients. And if you want pizza, get the real thing!