(Photo and art by RJ Regidor/Very Good Light)

Pizza face!

It’s literally all people said growing up to those who dealt with acne. Which I still don’t get why is an insult because as w know, pizza is sexy AF. Other sexy AF foods: French fries dipped in mayo; potato chips coated with dark chocolate; Ranch dressing on breadsticks. The list goes on.

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Throughout the years, we’ve heard the adage that whatever you eat sticks to your body. And that includes, unfortunately, your face. The thinking is that eating pizza can in turn make you oily and sprout zits the size of pepperoni slices. But can pizza be that bad? According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists found that eating pizza can reduce your risk of a heart attack.

“In a 4-year study of nearly 1,000 Italians, those who ate pizza at least once a week were 30 percent less likely to experience a heart attack than the folks who didn’t partake of the pie. This is contributed to pizza’s cardio protective ingredients, including olive oil and tomato sauce.”

That’s great news, if there ever was one. The reasoning? Tomatoes, it says, help your body absorb lycopene, an antioxidant that prevents heart disease and illnesses. And with the cheese’s fat, it absorbs even better. Cheese, the study said, is all about protein and 15 grams can give you enough energy to repair cells and burn muscle, which is why the scientists actually said eating a few slices for a cheat meal isn’t such a bad idea. THIS IS RANCH DRESSING TO OUR EARS.

Finally, EVOO. That’s extra virgin olive oil in Rachel Ray speak. It’s supposed to mimic the effects of ibuprofen, reducing inflammation, which can decrease disease and cancers.

So, uh, it’s safe to say that pizza is practically a vegetable, right? Congress did once vote that it was?

Okay, not so fast. We spoke to Brooke Alpert, registered dietician to see if she would break our hearts by debunking this seemingly too good to be true European study.

“It’s important to make a few things clear first,” she tells Very Good Light. “The study was in regards to true Italian pizza, not the massive greasy slices that we serve here in the States. In no way can I say that I recommend Pizza is a healthy option when eaten the way we do here in the US.”

The main reason, Brooke says, is because the pizza in Italy is “very different” from the kind we eat here. “Ingredients are fresher, portions are smaller, even the wheat is different.”

She did agree with how tomatoes can be good for you: “Tomatoes contain lycopene which is an amazing antioxidant that helps protect the body, especially the heart from inflammation and oxidation,” she says. “There have even been connections to lycopene helping to protect the skin from sun damage.” That being said, more tomato sauces here, she says, are added with lots of sugar, which is not good for your body or your skin.

When it comes to cheese, Brooke agrees that it can be good for you. But it has to be low in sugar and high in protein.

Finally, olive oil can be “an amazing source of healthy fats.” Brooke says that it’s been linked to lowering abdominal fat, which lowers the risk of heart disease.

“Regardless of where in the world you’re eating your pizza, always remember to watch your portions and have some greens with it,” she recommends.

So that’s that. Pizza can be good for you. Hell, the good European scientists even recommended eating it in between work out sessions (hallelu!). But only – and this is a big ONLY – if you’re eating the right kind of ingredients and in small portions. Healthy ingredients? Smaller portion pizza? Greens? Okay, it’s taco time.

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