The increasing popularity of the keto diet has driven many food chains and companies to market “keto-approved” products so people can enjoy modified versions of their favorite foods.
Foodies rejoiced at the possibility of losing weight and not being forced to give up pizza, and other beloved food staples. Pizza-loving keto diet adherents may be inclined to turn to gluten-free pizza options, in order to avoid carb-loaded traditional pizza crust.
However, pizza lovers following a keto diet should not jump to buy just any gluten-free pizza.
Gluten-free is not a requirement of the ketogenic diet, but many gluten-free pizza crusts tend to be lower in carbs than pizza crust made from wheat flour.
Considering that gluten-free only means that the food is made without wheat products, this leaves a lot of room for interpretation of what kind of gluten-free crust is best for a keto diet.
Below are the three main reasons why gluten-free pizza is not necessarily keto-friendly and tells you what to look out for before indulging.
#1 High in Net Carbs and Sugar
The primary goal of the keto diet is to reduce the consumption of carbs in order to induce ketosis in the body.
Individuals adhering to the keto diet aim for a daily carb limit of 20-30 grams of net carbs per day (depending on caloric requirements).
Common fast food gluten-free pizzas, such as a pepperoni pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut, contain 14-15 grams of carbs per serving.
Store-bought frozen GF pizzas, like Glutino, are even higher with 48 grams of carbs per serving.
Udi’s Gluten-Free is slightly better with 37 g of carbs per serving, but still too high for the ~30 grams net carb daily limit.
#2 Low in Protein and Healthy Fats
Reducing the intake of carbohydrates is just as important to the keto diet as consuming moderate to high proteins and high fats. This means that the amount of fats in a meal should outweigh the amount of carbohydrates.
The Domino’s gluten-free pepperoni pizza contains 8.5 grams of fat in comparison to 15 grams of carbs. Not only is this fat-to-carb ratio is less than ideal for a keto diet, but it is also important to note the quality of the fats.
Pepperoni and other commercially prepared processed meats and cheeses are high in trans fats. Trans fats have been associated with increasing the risk of heart disease, so you should especially be wary of what processed foods you consume if you are following a keto diet for health reasons.
It is important to consume high-fat foods while on keto because fats are more filling than carbs. If a majority of the calories from a meal come from carbohydrates, the consumer will need to eat more in order to feel full or satiated.
#3 Contains Modified Starch
Unfortunately, just because a product is gluten-free does not mean its lower in starch.
The main reason to avoid gluten products on keto is that they are associated with being high in carbohydrates. The same goes for rice and starchy fruits and vegetables.
The primary ingredients that replace wheat flour in gluten-free pizzas, like that of Pizza Hut, typically contain modified starches such as rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and modified corn starch.
Individuals following a keto diet should avoid these starches not only because they are still high in carbohydrates, but they also offer little nutritional value to the foods that contain them.
Modified starches also fall under the category of “processed foods”, which keto adherents should try to avoid.
Modified starches contain maltodextrin, a carbohydrate powder that immediately turns to sugar after consumption. It can result in a sudden blood sugar spike that is not sustained, leaving the excess blood sugars to be converted into fat in the body.
3 Keto-Friendly Pizza Buying Tips
You may be reading this and think it’s time to abandon your keto-pizza daydreams – but wait!
This is all to say that the “Gluten-free” label alone isn’t enough to ensure that the pizza is keto-friendly.
Consumers on the keto diet should inspect the nutrition facts before purchasing or consuming foods, especially ones that are not typically keto-friendly (like fast-food chains).
Here are 3 tips for how to look for a pizza that is both gluten-free and keto-friendly.
Tip #1 – Look for Low-Carb, High Protein
There are companies such as Quest that give keto dieters reason to celebrate. Their pizzas are not only gluten-free and low carb (6g net carbs per serving) but also very high in protein (27g per serving).
Brands such as this one, are more targeted at keto-friendly diets because they are not only focused on making a product low in carbs but also rich in fats and proteins. The more protein per serving, the more filling it is and likely it will feel like you are eating a full meal.
Tip #2 – Always investigate the Ingredients
Since we’ve established that “gluten-free” doesn’t necessarily mean healthier, it is important to always check out the ingredients before you bite into your pie.
This is a helpful tip for anyone following a diet that restricts certain foods. In this case, you will especially be on the lookout for the ingredients of the crust, the main carb source in pizza.
Be wary of pizzas with a lot of modified starches and make sure the ingredients don’t contain any of the foods to avoid while following a keto diet.
If you are ordering out, most chain restaurants will have their ingredients and nutrition facts listed on their website, so you can check before chowing down.
Tip #3 – Try A Veggie-Based Crust
Riced cauliflower (finely grated cauliflower) is a great alternative for pizza crust, that avoids starchy ingredients and excess carbs.
This is becoming a popular alternative and is easily found pre-made in stores, sold by brands such as Cali’flour Foods.
You can use this crust to make a homemade keto cauliflower crust pizza with keto-friendly toppings.
The benefit of cooking for yourself is that you can be sure of the ingredients, and avoid stressing about whether or not your meal is in-fact keto-friendly.
How To Make A Keto-Friendly Pizza At Home
- 1 tbsp Psyllium Husk Powder
- 2 tbsp Organic Parmesan Cheese
- ½ tsp. Organic Italian Seasoning
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 tsp. Olive Oil
- Salt to Taste
- 1.5 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
- 3 tbsp Rao’s Low-Carb Tomato Sauce
- 1 tbsp. Freshly Chopped Basil
- In a blender, add in Psyllium Husk Powder, Parmesan Cheese, Italian Seasoning, and Eggs.
- Blend together for 30 seconds.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Once hot, put the mixture and spread out into a circle shape. Cook both sides on medium high heat for 30-60 seconds or until the edges turn slightly brown.
- Add the tomato sauce on top of the pizza crust and spread.
- Add mozzarella cheese.
- Put the pizza into the oven to broil. Once the cheese began to bubble, remove pizza from the oven.
- Serve with some freshly chopped basil on top. Enjoy!
A keto-friendly pizza might not be as easy as just going for the gluten-free option, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
It is important to look at the amount of carbohydrates in your pizza and see how it compares to the recommended net daily carb intake.
Keto followers should also be sure to investigate the types of carbs used to replace wheat flour and if they contain a high amount of unhealthy or modified starches.
Finally, be sure that you are getting more protein than carbs, and that the protein comes from fats that are not highly processed. Follow these tips and find out what keto-friendly pizza option you like best!
Gluten-Free Pizza FAQs
Most gluten-free pizzas sold in fastfood stores are not keto-friendly since it contains 13 to 14 grams of net carbs per slice. It is also made from soybean oil which is a hydrogenated oil that contains trans fats. Lastly, it also contains added sugars which are restricted when following a keto diet.
Domino’s Gluten-Free Pizza contains rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, palm and soyabean oils, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, yeast, modified corn starch, salt, potassium chloride, modified cellulose, kosher gelatin, xanthan gum, sodium bicarbonate, natural flavor, sodium aluminum phosphate, guar gum, and distilled monoglycerides.
A slice of Domino’s Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza contains 150 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs (1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar), and 5 grams of protein.
First, you can buy a ready-made keto-friendly pizza from Quest. Second, you can buy a keto-friendly crust from Cali’flour Foods. Lastly, you can make your own crust and pizza by using the recipe included in this guide.
Gluten-free pizza’s dough does not contain milk so it is considered as lactose-free.
According to Domino’s disclaimer, the ingredients that they’re using are gluten-free but there is a chance that gluten cross-contamination may occur especially when they are using the same facility for making normal pizzas.