food. I eat a lot of it, but my research helping thousands
of clients shape their bodies and improve their health tells
me that a balanced intake of macronutrients—carbs, fats,
proteins and fiber—combined with regular exercise is the
key to weight control and an optimally performing body.”
Another member of McClellan’s pro-pizza posse, Kelly
Murphy, a Tampa, Florida-based certified personal trainer and author, works with women as a lifestyle coach,
helping them overcome their worst phobias. She says she
counsels her clients not to obsess about enjoying their
favorite indulgences, such as pizza. “Fear is the biggest
obstacle in our mental and physical health,” Murphy says.
She decided to team up with McClellan to help preach
his “pizza power” message after reading his story in a
“I share Matt’s passion for doing what you love and
eating what you love,” Murphy says, munching on a slice
of thin-crust Margherita pie outside of McClellan’s Tour
De Pizza. “Women don’t like to be deprived—of the foods
they love and the experiences they value. I help them
lose weight, partly by teaching them to overcome their
obsessive fear about giving in to indulgences. I tell them
there is no need to deprive yourself of fast food. I advise
them to follow the ‘calories in, calories out’ system. If you
eat a slice of pizza, keep moving. Delicious food, like this
fabulous slice I’m eating, is part of the diversity of life. I
fully support Matt’s initiatives for making the case on a
national level that pizza is a healthy food option.”
But researchers like Lisa Powell, a University of Chicago professor of health policy and lead author of the
Pediatrics study on kids and pizza consumption, have
made a different argument to the national news media.
“Parents should aim to curb pizza consumption, particularly as a snack, where it was shown to have the largest adverse impact on children’s calorie intake, and they
should put their pizza dollars toward healthier brands,”
Powell told LiveScience.com in February.
Powell’s study, which analyzed 24-hour dietary practices
of more than 12,000 children over a seven-year period,
found that youngsters between the ages of 2 and 11 consumed an extra 84 calories on the days they ate pizza,
while adolescents consumed an extra 230 calories. The
study also blamed pizza for increasing the subjects’ saturated fat and sodium intake.
But here’s another takeaway from the study that
received less publicity: During the period that the
research—collected from questionnaires tallied every
two years between 2003 and 2010—was conducted,
Powell’s team found that the number of calories children
consumed from pizza actually decreased by 25%. The
study’s adolescent population (ages 12 to 19) decreased
its caloric intake from pizza by 22%.
Even the staunchest pizza advocates agree that eating
too many meat-laden pies, chased down with multiple
“I advise (clients) to follow
the ‘calories in, calories out’
system. If you eat a slice of
pizza, keep moving. Delicious
food, like this fabulous slice
I’m eating, is part of the
diversity of life.”
Anyone who follows the “calories in, calories out” system
can enjoy pizza without guilt, most nutrition experts agree.
Matt McClellan readies a batch of pizzas for customers at Tour De Pizza in
St. Petersburg, Florida.