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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Fast Food Wars: Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is the fourth pizza restaurant to be subjected to analysis in the Fast Food Wars because it was recently ranked as the pizza chain with the most stores by Pizza Magazine. In fact, I was surprised to learn that in 2008, Pizza Hut had almost twice as many stores (14,759) than Domino’s Pizza (8,641). According to the Pizza Hut Wikipedia entry, they have approximately 34,000 restaurants, delivery/carry-out locations, and kiosks in 100 countries.

As a reminder, the analyses conducted below are based on a formula I created called the UHI (UnHealthy Index). The UHI is calculated by taking the six most common nutritional concerns that people have (total calories, saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates), adding them together, and dividing by six. Higher UHI scores reflect unhealthier foods and scores closer to zero (i.e., water) reflect healthier foods.

UNHEALTHIEST FOODS OVERALL:

First, let’s start with the five foods on the Pizza Hut menu with the highest UHI scores. By far, the absolute unhealthiest food you can purchase at Pizza Hut is the...

1. 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version. It contains pepperoni, beef topping, mild sausage, ham, Italian sausage, bacon bits and mozzarella cheese. The serving size for analysis is the entire pie, which is appropriate because it is a personal pizza. This bad boy has 1470 calories, 30 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 175 mg of cholesterol, a whopping 3670 mg of salt (!), and 123 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI score: 911.58.

The remaining unhealthiest foods at Pizza Hut are also all members of the 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza, so this is really something you want to veer away from. Here are the stats.

2. 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Spicy Italian version: Total calories: = 1220, saturated fat = 22 grams, trans fat = 1.5 grams, cholesterol = 115 grams, sodium = 3150 mg, carbohydrates =126 grams. Total UHI = 772.42.

3. 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Triple Meat Italian version: Total calories = 1280, saturated fat = 23 grams, trans fat = 1 gram, cholesterol = 135 grams, sodium = 3070 mg, carbohydrates = 123 grams. Total UHI = 772.

4. 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Supreme version: Total calories = 1270, saturated fat = 24 grams, trans fat = 1.5 grams, cholesterol = 130 grams, sodium = 2920 mg, carbohydrates = 125 grams. Total UHI = 745.08.

5. 9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Dan’s Original version: Total calories = 1270, saturated fat = 23 grams, trans fat = 1 grams, cholesterol = 125 grams, sodium = 2810 mg, carbohydrates =124 grams. Total UHI = 725.5.

No other Pizza Hut menu item had a UHI in the 700 range.

UNHEALTHIEST ITEMS BY NUTRITIONAL CATEGORY:

Highest calories: 1470 (9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version)

Highest saturated fat: 30 grams (9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version)

Highest trans fat: 2 grams (Fried Cheese sticks, 4 pieces)

Highest cholesterol: 175 mg (9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version)

Highest sodium: 3670 mg (9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version)

Highest carbohydrates: 129 grams (9" Personal PANormous™ Pizza Meat Lover’s version)

UNHEALTHIEST APPETIZERS AND SIDE ITEMS (includes chicken wings and stuffed pizza rollers):

1. The unhealthiest appetizer or side item you can purchase at Pizza Hut are the cheese sticks (4 pieces). It contains 380 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 40 mg of cholesterol, 1020 mg of salt, and 29 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI score: 246.6.

The remaining unhealthiest appetizer of side items you can purchase at Pizza Hut are all in the Crispy Bone In Wings section. The following information is for every two chicken wings you eat.

2. Crispy Bone In Wings Buffalo Mild version: Total calories = 230, saturated fat = 3 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 45 grams, sodium = 1040 mg, carbohydrates = 16 grams. Total UHI = 222.33.

3. Crispy Bone In Wings Buffalo Burnin Hot version: Total calories = 230, saturated fat = 3 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 45 grams, sodium = 1020 mg, carbohydrates = 16 grams. Total UHI = 219.

4. Crispy Bone In Wings Buffalo Medium version: Total calories = 230, saturated fat = 3 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 45 grams, sodium = 1010 mg, carbohydrates = 16 grams. Total UHI = 217.3.
   

5. Crispy Bone In Wings Spicy BBQ version: Total calories = 240, saturated fat = 2.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 50 grams, sodium = 950 mg, carbohydrates = 19 grams. Total UHI = 210.25

DESSERTS:

Pizza Hut essentially has two desserts to choose from: Cinnamon Sticks (2 pieces) or HERSHEY'S® Chocolate Dunkers® (2 pieces). If you had to choose, the healthiest choice is the Cinnamon Sticks, which has a UHI of 66.25. The Chocolate Dunkers have a UHI of 73.3. If you add the 2 oz white icing for the cinnamon sticks or the 1.5 oz of HERSHEY'S® Chocolate Sauce®, you are adding 36 and a half UHI points for each.

HEALTHIEST FOODS OVERALL:

1. The healthiest item you can purchase at Pizza Hut (excluding beverages, dipping sauces, and small desert glazes) would be 2 pieces of Cinnamon sticks. It has only 170 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 200 mg of salt, and 26 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 66.25.

2. Assuming you’re fast food hunger will not be satisfied by two cinnamon sticks, then you can move up to the second healthiest item which is the healthiest appetizer on the menu: the Traditional Wings All American version. Every two wings have only 80 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 mg of cholesterol, 290 mg of salt, and 0 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 68.58.

3. HERSHEY'S® Chocolate Dunkers® (2 pieces). Every two pieces have 200 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 210 mg of salt, and 26 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 73.3.

4. The apple pie side item. Every two pies have 330 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 190 mg of salt, and 40 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 94.16.

5. “BUT I CAME HERE FOR PIZZA!” you proclaim. Well, you’re in luck. The fifth healthiest item on the menu is a slice of the 12” Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza (Green Pepper, Red Onion & Diced Red Tomato version): Each slice has 150 calories, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 mg of cholesterol, 400 mg of salt, and 24 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI: 97.58.

HEALTHIEST PIZZAS OVERALL:

1. As noted above, the healthiest pizza at Pizza Hut is the 12” Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza(Green Pepper, Red Onion & Diced Red Tomato version) with a UHI of 97.58.

2. One slice of the 9” Pizza Mia Pizza, cheese only. Each slice has 200 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 490 mg of salt, and 24 grams of carbohydrates. Total UHI score: 122.16.

The remaining most healthiest pizzas are all from the 12" Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza, so it is nice to see that it objectively lives up to its advertised name. Serving size is 1 slice.

3. 12" Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza, Chicken, Red Onion, & Green Pepper version (one slice): Total calories = 180, saturated fat = 2 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 20 grams, sodium = 510 mg, carbohydrates = 23 grams. Total UHI = 122.5.

4. 12" Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza, Ham, Red Onion, & Mushroom (one slice): Total calories = 160, saturated fat = 1.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 15 grams, sodium = 550 mg, carbohydrates = 23 grams. Total UHI = 124.9.

5. 12" Fit 'n Delicious® Pizza, Ham, Pineapple, & Diced Red Tomato version (one slice): Total calories = 160, saturated fat = 1.5 grams, trans fat = 0 grams, cholesterol = 15 grams, sodium = 550 mg, carbohydrates = 24 grams. Total UHI = 125.08.

Note: Soft drinks were not subject to analysis.

From the Pizza Hut website: Nutritional values not applicable to Pizza Hut products in Hawaii. Substitutions of ingredients may alter nutritional values. Menu items and hours of availability may vary at participating locations. Although this data is based on standard portion product guidelines, variations can be expected due to seasonal influences, minor differences in product assembly per restaurant and other factors. Some menu items may not be available at all Pizza Hut restaurants, and certain locations may at times offer buffet items, test products, limited-time offerings or other regional menu choices not listed here. Product data is based on current formulations as of date of posting. If you have any questions about Pizza Hut and nutrition or are particularly sensitive to specific ingredients or foods, please contact us at 1-800-948-8488.

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