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Ottis Bailey -  March 2022

Sorry Italian lovers! (That’s all of us though, right?) Research by the British heart foundation found that three of the absolute worst offenders for saturated fat content were ALL Italian. Mamma Mia! 

And with Sat-fats now sat alongside smoking as just about the worst thing for your heart, health and longevity, we wanted to investigate further.

But before we throw our Pizza's out of the window... is there a middle ground?  How can we avoid the sat fat but still enjoy an Italian every now & then?

Italian Restaurants are The Worst Offenders for Saturated Fats.

Research by the British heart foundation found that the top three food chains with the greatest saturated fat content were all Italian with Zizzi (410% of saturated fat RI), ASK (400% of saturated fat RNI) and Pizza Express (362.50% of saturated fat RI) the worst offenders. *cries in italian*


Zizzi made the top of the sat-fat list with their hearty, authentic Pizzas. But you don't necessarily need to skip Zizzi every time. 

The worst options:

Pollo Rosso Rustica Pizza 

Don't let the usually lean Chicken option fool you, this indulgent dish contains 1,433 calories per serving, as well as being high in sugar, and saturated fat (24g).

To reduce the carbohydrate content you could opt for a 'Skinny' pizza instead which replaces half the pizza with a side salad. 

Vegan Pepperonata Rustica

This option may well be vegan, but it comes in with 46 grams of saturated fat and 1266 calories — a truly mega dose of fat and. by-far the fattiest pizza dish available at Zizzi.

It just goes to show that vegan options aren't immune from the Italian sat-fat curse!

The best options:

Skinny Pizza Primavera 

The delicious skinny pizza primavera contains goats’ cheese, roasted aubergine, artichokes, peppers, slow roasted tomatoes, olives and fresh oregano.

Aubergines contain fibre, blood pressure reducing and cholesterol lowering components and can also help to control glucose absorption, which is beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes. Plus, Artichokes are wonderful for digestion and keeping the liver healthy. 

Super Zucca Salad 

This dish contains a healthy 572 calories per serving, and is packed full of vibrant veggies, providing a great source of vitamins and minerals.

With roasted butternut squash, goat’s cheese, mint, courgettes, lentils, green beans & mixed salad leaves, there's a plethora of nutrients on offer here. Opt for the salad without bread for a lower carbohydrate option!

Pizza Express

Pizza Express — it's unavoidable, unless your more of a Pizza Hut person. But we feel like you wouldn't be here if you were a pizza hut person. But is it time to put down the dough balls?

The worst options:

Pollo Ad Astra Romana

The Romana bases are made from the same dough as the classic pizzas. You do, therefore, get more topping, which can increase the calories. With over 1,100 calories and 140g of carbs, this is a big hit for one meal.
It also contains a whopping 5g of salt, and regular consumption of salt-rich foods can lead to high blood pressure. The only plus is that it has red peppers and red onions, which contain vitamins.


Dough Balls

We know — this is blasphemy. Dough balls are a Pizza Express classic, but don’t go overboard.  Dough balls are made from white, refined flour, which can cause blood sugar spikes and dips. If you order these, make use of the accompanying butter to add fat, which will reduce blood sugar spikes and troughs. Overall, these aren’t nutritious, but at least they aren’t overly processed.

The best options:

Leggera La Reine

The pizzas in the Leggera range are all under 600 calories, and lower in carbs, fat, salt and sugar. The middle of the pizza is replaced with colourful salad leaves, making it a sensible choice if you’re looking for a pizza fix without the hit.

This pizza is also made with wholemeal flour, making it higher in fibre and nutrients. Ham, mushrooms and mozzarella increases the protein content, keeping you fuller for longer.

Garlic King Prawns

This is one of the most nutritious starters on the menu. It contains 16g of protein per serving, and is lower in calories than other starters on the menu.

The addition of tomatoes, roasted peppers, onion and chilli also boosts the antioxidant content. Red onion is a prebiotic, meaning it acts as a food for the good bacteria in your gut, helping to keep everything in balance.


Prezzo, we love you, but you're not immune from the sat-fat curse of Italian food either. 

The worst option:

Gluten-free Chicken Alfredo Fusilli

This option may well be gluten-free, but it comes in with 26 grams of saturated fat — a truly mega dose of fat, making it one of the most deceptively fatty pasta dish available at Prezzo (barring only the gluten-free carbonara with 31g). And the veggie option for this same dish isn't much better, it has exactly the same amount of sat-fat!

We're not even sure how they manage to fit so many sat-fats into this dish, especially the veggie option. But they did it! 

Winner winner:

Antipasto Sharing Platter

Sun-dried tomatoes and Rocket serve as excellent sources of minerals, especially potassium and magnesium, plus rocket is high in vitamins A and C. Mozzarella contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E, which are important for bone growth, absorption of calcium and protection of cell membranes. Despite the saturated fat and sodium content of prosciutto ham, you still get certain key nutrients such as protein.

 Coming In Part 3...

In part 3, we'll look into the best and worst of the UK's coffee shops.
Avoiding high sugar on. the high-street isn't exactly a piece of cake....