Does the ‘pizza diet’ really work?

Does the ‘pizza diet’ really work?

Noted Italian chef Pasquale Cozzolino says he lost over 100 pounds in seven months by eating his homemade pizza every day for lunch.

Cozzolino, known for cooking with natural ingredients, found that several years after leaving his native Naples to move to New York, his weight had jumped to over 370 pounds. He had fallen into the habit of eating processed and fried foods and drinking soda like every-day Americans.

Cozzolino told ABC’s Good Morning America that his doctor warned him that he was at risk for a heart attack. His weight limited his day-to-day lifestyle, causing him to be unable to play with his son at the park. He knew something had to change.

He cut down his calorie intake to 2,700 per day, went back to a Mediterranean-style diet and his own homemade Margherita pizza. The dough is a mixture of only four ingredients: unbleached flour, water, a touch of sea salt and a little yeast. It’s topped with tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella. In total, the 12-inch pizza contains fewer than 600 calories.

Now, Cozzolino weighs about 270 pounds. He says his secret to weight loss is natural ingredients.

“I can tell you, when I go to the grocery store I always look at the label. If they have more than 10 ingredients, I give up,” Cozzolino told GMA.

His diet also included a healthy balance of protein, carbs and fats. He ate his big meal at lunch – the Margherita pizza – while breakfast usually consisted of multigrain cereal with fruit, orange juice and coffee. He saved his smallest meal for dinner, typically a small salad with a side of protein like seafood and a glass of wine.

“The chef’s biggest successes came not necessarily from eating pizza every day, but from the approach he took,” says Lexie Schwartz, a registered dietitian at Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka, Ill.

Schwartz offers the following weight loss tips in line with what worked for Chef Cozzolino:

  1. There is much scientific research on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and its positive effects on health.
  2. By consuming the majority of your calories earlier in the day, it gives your body more time to burn the calories off before going to bed.
  3. Read nutrition labels. Foods that are less processed are more nutritious and contain fewer preservatives.
  4. If we love certain foods and decide to eliminate them because we are going on a “diet,” we often end up binging at some point. “The key to success is moderation,” says Schwartz. “You can have things you really enjoy, but you just may need to cut down on the portion size of those foods.”

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  1. Debbie Sheridan March 17, 2016 at 1:16 pm · Reply


  2. Debbie Sheridan March 17, 2016 at 1:17 pm · Reply


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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.