Diabetes and Pizza: How to Indulge in Your Favorite Food While Managing Blood Sugar Levels


Pizza is a beloved comfort food enjoyed by many around the world. However, for those living with diabetes, pizza can be a challenging food to navigate due to its high carbohydrate and calorie content. Managing blood sugar levels is essential for people with diabetes to prevent complications and maintain overall health.

Despite the challenges, people with diabetes can still enjoy pizza as part of a balanced diet by making informed choices and practicing portion control. By following a few simple tips, people with diabetes can indulge in their favorite food while still managing their blood sugar levels.

One crucial factor to consider when eating pizza is the type of crust. Thin crust pizza is a better option than thick crust, as it contains fewer carbohydrates and calories. Additionally, watching portion sizes is important, as even thin crust pizza can still contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. Choosing toppings wisely, such as opting for vegetables and lean protein, can also help keep the overall calorie and carbohydrate content in check.

Another factor to consider is the sauce. Some pizza sauces may contain added sugars, which can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Opting for a tomato-based sauce with no added sugars can help keep blood sugar levels in check.

Finally, adding a side salad to the meal can help increase fiber and nutrient intake while also providing a filling component to the meal. It's also essential to avoid sugary drinks and choose low or no-calorie options, such as water or sugar-free iced tea.

By following these tips and being mindful of the timing of the meal, people with diabetes can still enjoy pizza as part of a healthy diet. 

Tips For Eating Pizza In Diabetes

In the following article, we will explore these tips in more detail, providing practical advice for people with diabetes to enjoy their favorite food while maintaining their health and wellness.

  • Choose a thin crust pizza
One way to reduce the number of carbohydrates and calories in pizza is by choosing a thin crust pizza instead of a thick crust. Thin crust pizzas typically have less dough, which means fewer carbohydrates.

Additionally, thin crust pizzas tend to be lower in calories, which can help you manage your weight, another critical factor in diabetes management.
  • Watch your portion size
Portion control is crucial when it comes to managing diabetes, and this is no different when it comes to pizza. Eating too much pizza can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, making it difficult to manage diabetes.

Instead, aim for a small or medium-sized pizza and try to limit yourself to one or two slices. If you're eating pizza at a restaurant, consider sharing a pizza with a friend or family member to control your portion sizes.
  • Choose toppings wisely
Toppings can make or break a pizza when it comes to diabetes management. Some toppings, like vegetables, can be a great addition to a pizza as they provide important nutrients and fiber without adding a lot of calories or carbohydrates.

On the other hand, toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and bacon are high in saturated fat, calories, and sodium, which can negatively impact diabetes management.

Consider choosing toppings like mushrooms, onions, peppers, and spinach instead of high-fat meats. These vegetables are low in calories and carbohydrates, and they provide important vitamins and minerals.
  • Be mindful of the sauce
Tomato sauce is a staple ingredient in most pizzas, and it can be a source of hidden sugars. Many store-bought tomato sauces contain added sugars, which can spike blood sugar levels.

If you're making pizza at home, consider making your sauce from scratch using canned tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. This way, you can control the amount of sugar and sodium in the sauce.

Alternatively, look for pizza places that offer low-sugar or sugar-free tomato sauce options. Some pizza places may also offer alternative sauces like pesto, which can be a great option for those with diabetes.
  • Consider a side salad
Adding a side salad to your pizza can be an excellent way to balance your meal and increase your intake of vegetables. Salads are low in calories and carbohydrates, and they provide important nutrients like fiber and vitamins.

Consider adding a salad with leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other non-starchy vegetables to your pizza meal. You can also top your salad with a light dressing like vinaigrette or lemon juice to keep your meal low in calories and carbohydrates.
  • Don't drink your calories
Beverages like soda and juice can be high in sugar and calories, which can negatively impact diabetes management. Instead, opt for water or unsweetened iced tea to accompany your pizza.

If you prefer something with more flavor, consider adding a slice of lemon or lime to your water or choosing a diet soda or sugar-free iced tea.
  • Mind your timing
The timing of your pizza meal can also affect your blood sugar levels. It's essential to plan ahead and make sure you eat your pizza meal when your insulin levels are at their peak.

For example, if you take insulin before meals, you may want to eat your pizza shortly after taking your insulin dose. This way, the insulin can work to lower your blood sugar levels before the carbohydrates from the pizza can raise them.

It's also a good idea to check your blood sugar levels before and after your pizza meal to see how it affects you. This can help you make informed choices in the future and adjust your insulin doses if necessary.


In summary, enjoying pizza in moderation can be a part of a healthy diet for those living with diabetes. By choosing thin crust pizza, watching portion sizes, choosing toppings wisely, being mindful of the sauce, adding a side salad, avoiding sugary drinks, and minding the timing of the meal, people with diabetes can still indulge in their favorite food while managing their blood sugar levels.

It's essential to remember that moderation and balance are key to diabetes management, and making informed choices about the foods you eat can make all the difference. With a little bit of planning and knowledge, people with diabetes can continue to enjoy their favorite foods while maintaining their health and wellness.

Additionally, it's important to remember that everyone's diabetes management plan may differ, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consulting with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian can help create an individualized plan that takes into account personal preferences, lifestyle, and medical needs.

By following the tips outlined in this article and working with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian, people with diabetes can still enjoy the occasional slice of pizza while keeping their blood sugar levels under control. With a balanced approach to eating and lifestyle, people with diabetes can live healthy and fulfilling lives while still enjoying their favorite foods.

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