Health warning on takeaway pizzas
A single 12 inch takeaway pizza contains more than the total daily requirement of calories, saturated fat and salt, health chiefs have warned.
A survey of fast-food outlets by north-south body safefood has found only 10% of pizza shops offered a healthy option.
The research also found that more than half of people who order a takeaway pizza choose a 12 inch and one in five of us are now ordering large.
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health and Nutrition, safefood, said when it comes to takeaway pizzas, size matters.
"We're tending to choose bigger sized pizzas and more processed meats for toppings. It's also concerning that we don't realise the high level of calories, salt and saturated fat that we're consuming in the pizza," she said.
"And that's before you begin to consider the side orders like chips, wedges and garlic bread that we are frequently tempted to buy to accompany a pizza."
The survey is part of a series of reviews of the takeaway sector by the food safety promotion agency across the island of Ireland. It found 40% of the population are eating pizza at least once a week.
Researchers looked at 240 takeaway pizzas of three varieties from 60 different outlets and found only 10% offered healthier options such as lower-fat cheese, thin base or additional vegetable toppings. Only 7% offered children's size options.
In general, pizzas from takeaway outlets were higher in calories, salt and fat when compared to the equivalent shop bought pizza.
Dr Foley-Nolan said: "Sharing a 12 inch pizza is a reasonable portion size and pizzas should be eaten as an 'occasional' food in moderation, maybe once a week or less frequently."