If You’ve Ever Eaten Pizza Before, This Will Blow Your Mind (Maybe Literally)

I love pizza! It’s one of my top favorite foods next to kale and cake. And I know I’m not the only one that loves it, either. Recently, the USDA conducted a study which revealed the enormous amount of pizza we consume in the United States. American consumption of cheese increased by nearly 30% in 10 years because the dairy industry is spending big bucks to promote pizza and partner with big chains like Dominos. Congress even voted to declare pizza a vegetable in the school lunch program. The government wants us to eat pizza – a lot of it. But there’s a lot going on behind closed doors that nobody wants us to know or talk about, and it all starts with the ingredients. 

When I started researching pizza ingredients, one thing became abundantly clear. Pizza restaurants did not like the questions I was asking.

Pizza Vani Food Babe

The only way to find out what may be lurking in your pizza is to review its complete ingredient list, which is often concealed from the public. I began calling the top pizza chains and easily found a couple ingredient lists online. But, when I called most pizza restaurants and began asking questions, they blatantly refused to share ingredient lists and their customer service reps were oblivious to what their ingredients were – they had no clue.  

Little Caesars, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) and Mellow Mushroom have all refused to answer my questions about their ingredients. I was told by Mellow Mushroom’s corporate offices that they will only comply with minimal government regulations, which require them to publish an allergen list.  

After sending me their dough ingredients, CPK suddenly claimed that due to “proprietary restrictions” they can’t disclose their full ingredient lists. They went on to tell me that they “don’t have an easy way to perform a search by individual ingredient” and would need to call each vendor first. While traveling, I stopped into a CPK in an airport to ask questions face to face. Both the manager and store clerk had zero access to ingredients. I even asked to look at the packages of their dough and other ingredients that got shipped to the store in and they said they did not have them. 

I called many local pizza restaurants and was informed that it’s their policy to NOT disclose ingredients to their customers. Little Caesars literally told me that if I was concerned about what was in it, I “just shouldn’t eat there…” Ha! Don’t worry, I won’t!

Papa John’s also has repeatedly refused to release their ingredient list, which really caused a stir last year with my friend Melanie Warner, author of the processed food exposing book “Pandora’s Lunchbox“. How can Papa John’s claim to have “Better Ingredients… Better Pizza” without telling us what’s really in it? While they say their lack of transparency is due to the proprietary nature of their recipes, they could be hiding some seriously harmful ingredients.  After repeated calls to corporate offices and some helpful photos sent to me by Melanie Warner, I was finally able to uncover some details about what is really in their pizzas.

Why are the ingredients so hard to find?  Why are they refusing to share their ingredients? What is it that these pizza restaurants don’t want us to know? 

Well, I’ll tell you what they’re hiding: Lots and lots of hidden MSG!

Restaurants don’t want to get a bad rap by putting monosodium glutamate (MSG) on their ingredient or allergen statements, so they have found another way to secretly add this potent flavor enhancer to your food, without the average customer realizing it. Instead of letting you know that they are putting MSG in your food, they are using an FDA loophole to sneak processed free glutamic acid into your food, which has the same effect as MSG – all without warning you. They simply use other forms of free glutamic acid (such as Hydrolyzed Soy Protein), which is the main component of MSG. This allows them to have “clean labels” and deceive us into believing their product contains no MSG – when it actually does!

While it’s true that tomatoes and cheese are naturally high in glutamates, they do not have the same effect on the brain as added manufactured free glutamic acid additives. When I talked to Papa John’s, they admitted that these additives are used as a replacement for MSG by the food industry.

It will blow your mind – literally

MSG tricks your brain into believing that what you are eating tastes so great that you want more of it. Your taste buds sense that there is more protein in the food than there really is – which is great for food manufacturers that want to save money by using less or lower quality meat. These ingredients also promote an addiction to pizza so that you keep coming back to order more. Repeat business keeps their pockets lined with lots of cash. Ever wonder why you can’t stop at one slice? This is why.

MSG and hidden MSG additives are known to commonly cause headaches, obesity and depression – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. As an excitotoxin, its effect on the brain is so toxic that it has been linked to learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Board certified neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D. warns that, “Excitotoxins have been found to dramatically promote cancer growth… It also causes a cancer cell to become more mobile, and that enhances metastasis, or spread… When you increase the glutamate level, cancer just grows like wildfire”. 

This is serious stuff. But the industry will tell you it’s harmless and that you are crazy for being concerned. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is okay to eat this stuff occasionally, because these ingredients can stick around in your body for a long time, leach nutrients from your system, and can make you really sick.  As put by my pal Kristen Michaelis at FoodRenegade.com, “Not only is MSG not a traditional food, not only are many people immediately sensitive to it, but it can also interrupt the hormonal and biological development of children!  Lest you think this is all fanciful, it’s important to remember that a number of studies have found that the effects of MSG can occur cumulatively over time with subsequent exposure. 

Hidden MSG in Pizza

Toxic hidden MSG ingredients buried in popular pizza menu items:

  • Autolyzed Yeast Extract (Hidden MSG)
  • Textured or Hydrolyzed Proteins (Hidden MSG and GMO)
  • Hydrolyzed Corn (Hidden MSG and GMO)
  • Modified Starches (Hidden MSG or Possible GMO)
  • Natural Flavors (Possible Hidden MSG)
  • Disodium Inosinate or Disodium Guanylate (MSG enhancers)

The additives Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate are not added to a product that doesn’t contain MSG because they are considered expensive additives that are ineffective without MSG ingredients.  The presence of Disodium Guanylate or Disodium Inosinate in a product is a strong indication that a product contains hidden MSG.

I’m talking about more than MSG here

The ingredient lists that I could get my hands on are riddled with artificial colors, artificial and natural flavors, partially hydrogenated oils, cellulose (wood pulp) to keep the already shredded cheese from clumping, and GMO soybean oil.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Trans-fat) – There is absolutely no reason for anyone to still be using this. These oils are so bad that even our FDA has woken up and warns that it’s not safe to eat this in any food.  Partially hydrogenated oils block arteries and the CDC estimates that they could cause up to 20,000 heart attacks every year!  I found these dangerous oils in Pizza Hut’s hand-tossed crust, Round Table’s Creamy Garlic sauce, Papa John’s dipping sauces and Dominos Philly Steak pizza. Partially hydrogenated oils are found in 21 menu items at Cici’s Pizza – it’s even added to their cheese!

Soybean Oil (likely GMO) - You’d hope to see just olive oil in there, but soybean oil is the oil of choice for most pizza restaurants.  It’s in the dough and pizza sauces, so it basically makes its way into every pizza. This genetically engineered inflammation causing oil is being used at these restaurants:

  • Papa John’s
  • Domino’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • Uno Pizzeria 
  • Papa Murphy’s
  • Little Caesars
  • Cici’s
  • Mellow Mushroom – “Soybean oil is a major ingredient in our pizzas
  • California Pizza Kitchen – “our Ciabatta Bread and our Wheat Dough do contain Soybean Oil”
  • Round Table Pizza – Creamy Garlic sauce

BHT/BHA (Butylated Hydroxytoluene.Butylated Hydroxyanisole) - BHT is used in embalming fluid and to fuel jets.  BHA is toxic to your organs and linked to cancer. These were found in the pepperoni on every ingredient list I looked at from Uno’s to Dominos.

Sodium Nitrite - Whenever this is added to a meat, there is a really good chance that it contains cancer-causing Nitrosamines. Nitrites are often found in the pepperoni, ham, bacon and sausage toppings.

Enriched Flour - This is a dead food that has had some vitamins and minerals artificially replaced. It’s absorbed by your body as a starch, rather than a whole grain. This flour is used in pizza dough, except the gluten-free versions.

Artificial Colors - These are petroleum-based colorings linked to asthma, allergies and hyperactivity. I found them in the banana pepper toppings, the cheese at Cici’s, and specifically in the garlic oil used by Domino’s.

Caramel Coloring – This is often made by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure which creates carcinogenic compounds. You’ll find this very controversial coloring in the bacon at Pizza Hut, the Italian sausage at Round Table, the beef at Little Caesars, the zesty pizza sauce at Cici’s and in the BBQ Chicken pizza at Uno’s.

BPA (Bisphenol A)You won’t find this on any ingredient label, but BPA leaches from the cans that hold pizza sauce in some restaurants. Many fast food pizza chains use canned tomato sauce that could have BPA. This substance exposure increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes and a slew of other medical problems. 

How these pizza restaurants stack up

Papa John’s – They add a lot to their “Better Ingredients”.  For instance, their “100% Beef” topping is a lot more than just beef! It contains corn syrup, maltodextrin, natural flavor, natural smoke grill flavor, beef flavor and seasonings. Also, so much for believing that there is 100% real cheese topping their pizzas, as they add modified food starch (hidden MSG), preservatives and powdered wood pulp (cellulose) to their cheese blend. They also add natural flavors to their thin crust, pepperoni, and chicken topping, as well as hidden MSG (autolyzed yeast extract) to their garlic ranch and spinach alfredo pizza sauces. Those little dipping sauces that come with your pizza are loaded with partially hydrogenated oil, GMOs and (you guessed it) more hidden MSG.

Papa Johns Ingredients

Domino’s – One of the few pizza restaurants that openly publishes their ingredients online – and their ingredient list has hidden MSG written all over it. It’s almost impossible to avoid at Dominos, as it’s in their cheese, marinara sauce, white sauces, BBQ sauce and a slew of toppings (chicken, beef, Italian sausage and Philly steak). They also add “flavors” to their pan crust, cheese, pepperoni and shake-on seasoning. The garlic oil used on nearly every pizza is NOT what you’d expect (garlic & oil).  It’s actually a toxic combo of over 20 ingredients including artificial colors, artificial flavors and TBHQ.

Pizza Hut – You get a lot more than “100% Real Beef” in this topping loaded natural and artificial flavors. Their sausage and bacon toppings have hidden MSG (autolyzed yeast or hydrolyzed proteins), and you are eating modified starches in their cheese, chicken and cream sauce (starches usually derived from GMO corn).  The garlic sauce and seasoning used on every hand-tossed pizza is loaded with natural flavors, artificial flavors and partially-hydrogenated GMO oils.  Pizza Hut recently reformulated their hand-tossed crust by replacing the high fructose corn syrup with sucralose (Splenda) – an artificial sweetener that has been shown to cause DNA damage to the gastrointestinal tract, reduces beneficial gut bacteria, and is linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Recent research indicates that sucralose is linked to leukemia

Round Table – “The Last Honest Pizza” honestly adds straight “Glutamic Acid” to their creamy garlic sauce. They add hidden MSG ingredients to their pizza sauces, chicken and sausage toppings. Their cheese is far from “100% real” with “Natural Smoke Flavoring” and cellulose.

Little Caesars – Although their corporate office told me that their ingredients are top secret, the first gal I talked with admitted that there is yeast extract in their beef topping. I also called a local store and found that their super-secret ingredients were listed right there on the package for anyone in the kitchen to read. According to my local restaurant, their sauce contains natural flavors and the cheese contains wood pulp (cellulose). They also rattled off the beef topping ingredients to confirm it contains yeast extract, beef flavorings and caramel coloring.

Mellow Mushroom – One of the most tight-lipped restaurants I talked to would only admit to the use of soybean oil, which is likely GMO – “Soybean oil is a major ingredient in our pizzas” they wrote to me in an email. Furthermore, when I asked about hidden MSG ingredients, they told me that they weren’t required to tell me since they are not one of the 7 major allergens designated by the FDA and don’t list them on their allergen list. So I decided to go use their allergen tool to see what they do list and found something shocking. The tool gives misleading, inaccurate and potentially dangerous information if you have a soy allergy. For example, I confirmed their crust uses soy, but when you use the tool, it says there are plenty of pizzas without soy. The information doesn’t add up and regardless of whether if you have an allergy, I would not trust Mellow Mushroom until they release the full ingredient lists for their menu. 

Uno Pizzeria – They are not much better than the rest with hidden MSG in their BBQ Chicken pizza, Harvest Vegetable pizza, sausage topping and gluten-free crust. I was a bit surprised to see that they also add caramel color, artificial flavors, and a large amount of natural flavors to their BBQ Chicken pizza – it’s totally unnecessary.

California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) – As they were being very difficult in sharing ingredients, I was only able to confirm that the Thai sauce, tomato pizza sauce, pepperoni, salami, bacon, romano cheese, and chipotle sauce do not contain any of the hidden MSG ingredients that I listed. Because they refuse to share an ingredient list, I have no way of knowing whether they contain other additives or hidden MSG that I didn’t ask about – so don’t be convinced that these menu items are clean! I also inquired about hidden MSG ingredients in their other cheeses, BBQ sauce, chicken, sausage and ham toppings – and they have not responded at all regarding those items. Again, I will take their lack of a response as an indication that they do contain hidden MSG until they inform us otherwise.

Papa Murphy’s – It’s all about the sauces at Papa Murphy’s, where there’s yeast extract in their basil pesto sauce and modified food starch in their BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, creamy garlic sauce and sweet chili sauce. They also add “flavors” to nearly every meat topping available and to their cheese. 

Cici’s – They don’t really hide it by adding straight MSG to 10 menu items including their “Zesty” pizza sauce. Cici’s further adds hidden MSG to their buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, bacon cheddar sauce, sausage topping and beef topping. Quite frankly, I can’t believe how bad their “cheese” is – modified food starch, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, (added) casein, aluminum, natural flavors and artificial color! I was also astounded to find high fructose corn syrup in their BBQ sauce and dessert pizzas, as well as carrageenan and propylene glycol in several of their sauces, including the Alfredo.


Are you wondering about your favorite pizza place?

The good news is that you can do the exact same thing I did at your favorite pizza place, and please share the outcome with me!

To get the best results, plan to visit your pizza place during a slow time and not during their dinner rush.  This way their employees won’t be rushed and will have time to answer your questions.  Right off the bat, ask them if they have an ingredient list to share with you.  Most likely they won’t, but it’s worth a try.  If their ingredients are not readily available, here’s my game plan for navigating the menu and asking the right questions:

  • Typically the safest bet is to stick with a veggie pizza without cheese. This is dependent on what they have lurking in their sauce and crust, so it’s really important to find out what is in those items!  Ask them to read you the complete ingredients in the sauce and dough.
  • Hidden MSG is most often found in meat toppings, seasoning mixes and creamy sauces – so if you plan to order those things I would ask specifically about hidden MSG ingredients.  Ask them if monosodium glutamate, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed proteins, modified starches, or natural flavors are in any of those menu items. Which ones?
  • GMO soybean oil is usually found in the crust and the sauces.  Ask them if they use soybean oil – and in what menu items.  Is soybean oil used in their pans?  Can they make you a pizza without it?
  • Ask them directly if any of their ingredients are GMO. You may be surprised as they may have no clue what you are talking about.  Use this as an opportunity to briefly share with them what a GMO is and why you don’t eat GMOs. Let them know that most soy is GMO so if they use soy in any products, it is probably GMO. Their allergen statement should also be able to tell you if soy is used in any product.
  • Remember that “garlic oils” and “shake-on seasonings” may contain a bunch of questionable ingredients and MSG. Ask them if there are any specialty oils, butter sauces, or seasoning mixes used on their pizzas. If they can’t tell you the ingredients in those, ask them not to use it on yours.
  • Do they use high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners in their sauces or dough? These sweeteners are probably derived from GMO sources – including “sugar”.
  • Most vegetables will not be GMO, unless they have corn, tofu, zucchini or yellow squash toppings. I would avoid those.
  • What about cellulose in their cheese? Are flavorings and preservatives added to the cheese as well?

Beware that often times the restaurant employees truly do not know the answers to your questions, and will give you incorrect answers.  For instance, they may tell you that their cheese is “100% real cheese”, without realizing that the pre-shredded bag of cheese in the back contains an ingredient list.  On that ingredient list, they will likely find cellulose, some preservatives, and possibly some flavors and colors.  It’s good to remember that it’s not all that it seems on the surface, and in order to find out what is really in their food they will need to read the ingredient list on the box, bag or can that the menu item comes in. The bottom line – If they won’t tell you what is in their food, don’t eat there.

They don’t expect the average customer to demand answers about their food!

Only four of the restaurants I investigated publish their current ingredient lists online – Dominos, Uno’s, Papa Murphy’s, Cici’s. (Pizza Hut publishes them online, but they admitted to me they aren’t current in an email). As in my Chipotle investigation, I had to be extremely persistent over several months to get the limited information that I did from the other restaurants. This took multiple phone calls, voicemails, emails, and website contact forms – which often went unanswered. I had to ask specific questions about obscure ingredients. They are counting on the average customer to not do this! 

On Papa John’s website, they say that their cheese is “crafted from 100% mozzarella and high-quality milk by one of America’s finest cheese producers” – But the ingredients tell the real story. Now we know their cheese also contains wood pulp and modified food starch… and that IT’S NOT 100% CHEESE. When Papa John’s claims in all of their advertising that they have “Better Ingredients”, yet they won’t openly tell us what they are, it’s a safe bet they’re hiding something.

I wonder if any of these restaurants will have the courage to discuss this issue. Will they do the right thing now that we are calling them out, like Chipotle did when they finally released their full ingredient list online for everyone to see? These companies do not deserve our business, until they publish their ingredients online and make them easily accessible to the average customer.

What to eat instead:

Okay, this is the good part! I’m thrilled to say that I’ve found some pizza places that are doing it right! 

Pizza Fusion – I called up a Pizza Fusion restaurant and they freely answered every question I had about their ingredients – a big WIN in my book!  Their sauce is super simple: organic tomatoes, olive oil, water – and no nasty additives or hidden MSG. They only use olive oil in the restaurant, so you won’t find any GMO soybean or canola oil here. They confirmed with me that their gluten-free crust no longer contains canola oil and that they are diligent about preventing cross-contamination with gluten. I was really happy to find out that all of their meat toppings are antibiotic-free! Their chickens are also fed a non-GMO diet. Many of their veggie toppings are organic and local, and all are non-GMO. This varies and depends on what is seasonally available, so simply ask them which veggies are organic when you order. They have about 12 locations right now, and I really hope they grow into a larger chain so that more of us have access to pizza places like this!

Pure Pizza – I simply love this place. If you are ever in Charlotte, this is the place to go. They have an amazing organic sprouted grain crust, and source their toppings locally.

Truly Organic Pizza – This pizza chain in Florida is USDA certified organic. Because of this, none of their ingredients can be GMO, and all of their meats are antibiotic-free and not injected with hormones. I called them up and asked specifically about hidden MSG ingredients. They told me that they do not use any flavor enhancers such as autolyzed yeast extract or hydrolyzed proteins to season their food. They cook their meatballs and chicken from scratch and only season them with basic seasonings like what we would use at home! This is another great option if you are in Florida.

My Favorite Homemade Pizza Recipe – If you don’t have pizza restaurants like these in your neck of the woods, my homemade pizza recipe is super simple and will be ready in less time than it would take you to order and have it delivered – I promise! This recipe cures my pizza craving in no time! 

If you know someone who is ordering or eating pizza with these terrible ingredients, help them make the switch by sharing this very important information with them!

Together we are changing the world, one company at a time, by sharing the truth. 




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1,066 Responses to “If You’ve Ever Eaten Pizza Before, This Will Blow Your Mind (Maybe Literally)”

  1. Barbara Wells

    I have questions about cheese……. what do you think about manchego (sheep)? Is Tillamook cheddar ok and what is annatto they use for color? I bought Kirkland brand (Costco) manchego and thought ingred looked ok thanks. I don’t know what to put in website box

    • john (to Barbara Wells)

      I live in Tillamook Country where the cheese comes from. Their cheese is as close to natural as you will be getting. If you look at the cheese you will notice it doesn’t have that shine or plastic feel to it. Read the actual label for ingrediance next to another cheese. short list less crap.

    • Anthony (to Barbara Wells)

      Annatto is a natural food coloring. The only real concern for annatto is an allergic reaction. It is derived from a plant by natural means and has been eaten for thousands of years plain or as an additive for color and sometimes flavor.

      Some people will scare monger you with it being used in cosmetics or body paints, but you could use any coloring agent(like beet juice) in body paint or cosmetics safely. That doesn’t make it less food safe.

      • Esther (to Anthony)

        Annatto is a colour pigment from a plant so its natural. If there are questions, maybe chemists have synthesized the chemical in the lab (I do not know)

      • John (to Anthony)

        Anthony and Esther,

        It appears you have both fallen into the “natural food” trap………just because something is “natural” or “natural derived” it is fine for everyone to consume.
        Carrageenan and MSG are naturally derived also.

        Google: Beware Annatto and Food Intolerance Network.

        Do your research, just because something is natural does not mean it is fine for human consumption…….I don’t care how long it has been used in certain cultures.

      • Anthony (to Anthony)

        John, I’m pretty sure I mentioned allergic reactions. Extremely mild allergic reactions are called intolerance. So I’m pretty sure my post indicated what you said. As for the so called “natural food trap.” I’d have to argue that both Carrageenan and MSG are, in fact, safe. The key to any food is moderation. Most studies that observe negative effects revolve around force feeding a rat or other lab animal for an extended period of time nothing but the chemical in question and other basic dietary needs.

        Lastly, to say the length of time a food or substance is used is not relevant is rather ignorant of how science works. Laboratory science is great for understanding the inner workings of our world. But observed science is better for applying to your everyday life.

        Bottom line John…eat a variety of foods and you’ll be healthier than anyone that follows some new fad, scaremonger diet that proclaims something forbidden. For example, there is a story I heard about a guy who went on an orange diet. He ate only oranges. He ended up getting deathly ill and nearly dying because of various vitamin deficiencies and overdoses combined. And by the end he’d gained thirty pounds.

  2. Shannon

    You might be interested to hear this about Little Ceasars… I am gluten-intolerant – I am not celiac, but I do get really sick when I have gluten. However, Little Ceasars is the only pizza I can eat that is not advertised as “gluten free”. My body does not have its negative gluten reactions to their pizza, which clearly means they aren’t using real wheat in their dough (since gluten is a wheat protein). So then, what ARE they using?? It’s kind of scary to me. I would be extremely interested in more research into them.

    • Diane (to Shannon)

      Read this about your so called gluten intolerant babble… http://www.businessinsider.com/gluten-sensitivity-and-study-replication-2014-5?utm_content=bufferf2645&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer&IR=T

      • Shannon (to Diane)

        My gluten intolerant “babble”…I’m going to assume you don’t have a “gluten” problem. And since you referred to this article I’m assuming you’d rather I call it a FODMAPS intolerance, and then subsequently explain to people what that is? I am also not self-diagnosed, as the subjects in the study were. I was having GI troubles and was recommended to a GI specialist. I kept food logs and did elimination diets, and it was my specialist who told me I have gluten sensitivities, and if I wasn’t careful that could turn into celiac disease (a disease based on gluten intolerance). So while some people who have diagnosed themselves as gluten intolerant may just be incorrect in their diagnosis, there are some who have a serious problem with gluten and don’t appreciate it when people scoff at something that severely impacts their every day lives.

      • guest45 (to Diane)

        Wow, let’s all just gang up on everyone who has medical conditions because it’s all in their heads anyway. Speaking does not suit you. Celiac’s Disease is nothing to joke about. I met a family who had two children with it. All their cookware had to be pre-sanitized, food and cooked separately from everything else, gluten wasn’t even in their home. They were so allergic that if the mother used a spoon from cooking the rest of the family’s meal, and accidentally used it to stir the certified gluten-free meal, both her children would end up in the hospital. Everything has gluten or it was made in a facility were wheat/gluten products are made. Shannon is being very wise because once it gets bad enough, you are no longer able to enjoy food because cross-contamination is hard to avoid. No more restaurant food, NONE. gluten-free in the fast food/restaurant world is more for the health conscious and not meant for the severely allergic/Celiac. I still can’t believe how you were able to post your comment. You are so cruel, I am embarrassed for you. We will be nice and give you the benefit of the doubt because you don’t have it and probably have never met anyone with a severe food allergy. Yes, there are plenty of people who overstate an illness, but to accuse a stranger of doing so is out of line. Do you also accuse people with Leukemia as faking it? Anyway, I volunteered at a summer camp and helped the head cook with the meals. The cook made everyone leave the kitchen while she prepared these two children’s meals. She was so freaked out that she had the number to nearest hospital written and posted in the kitchen. The week went great, and I came out learning a lot. First, certified gluten-free food is super expensive. It’s also not the tastiest, and it showed in the children. They were very thin, and we had to make meals that were similar to the other kids’ or they could have been teased. I already mentioned the cross-contamination, but the worst was when we took all the girls for ice cream…and guess who couldn’t have any? Of course they were used to it because they had been to the hospital so many times, but I wasn’t used to it. They even had to use special sunscreens. It’s real easy to judge diseases when you don’t have to live with them, but try to imagine never being able to eat out with friends, or eat junk food, or try the new beauty products that all the other girls are using. Their mom even had to call factories and double check if it could be in anyway cross-contaminated because she didn’t want to poison her children. Obviously not everyone is this allergic, but don’t EVER assume an allergy isn’t something to note. Why else would labels say, this product was made in a facility that uses peanuts, wheat, and soy. I also saw a label that said something like, this product was made in a nut-free area, but not suitable for allergies due to nut manufacturing elsewhere in the facility. Please don’t take allergies lightly, that’s how you accidentally commit man-slaughter or more likely child-slaughter.

      • Cheryl (to Diane)

        Babble? Are you serious? I’m not celiac, but if I eat gluten I will fall asleep for up to 10 days (the amount of time it takes the body to clear gluten). I’m a serious danger driving because I fall asleep at the wheel. I’m asleep at my desk at work. It’s absolutely miserable and the reason I would never consciously cheat.

        Do you call it “peanut allergy babble” or “bee sting allergy babble”? I’m not sure why we’re the ones who get all the crap, but think about this: I didn’t have this problem until my late 50s. I’m also one of the 3% who can’t eat oats, either. You have a good chance of being one of us!

    • Andre (to Shannon)

      I would suggest another article as a possible explanation of Sharon’s positive reaction to Little Ceasars pizzas:

      • Shannon (to Andre)

        It’s true, guest45, I have family members with Celiac so there are no traces of gluten anywhere at our family parties. Gluten reactions are extremely serious for celiacs.

        Andre, that’s really scary stuff! I’ve read that article before, and it really scares me how low America’s standards are for food. I mean, on a bottle of Roundup it says to call poison control if ingested…! Unfortunately it seems to be all wheat that affects me personally, and since I have family members with celiac, gluten issues seem to run in the family. However, who knows! There is so much more research being done into all this gluten stuff that maybe they will find a different root cause (such as poison). Glad to see others are aware of the fact that a lot of wheat is essentially toxic because of what is done to it.

  3. JesRose

    This is real pizza. Brought up in his fathers bakery in Italy, where he met his love at age 15. They have a small pizzeria in Ann Arbor mi. And you’ve never NEVER. Tasted Italian dishes or pizza like this.
    Grape pizza with fontina, feta, goat cheese, with grapes, blueberries or cherries!
    The awesome truffle pizza with smoked mozzarella, shiitake mushrooms and white truffle oil. This doesn’t even give him & his family, who have all worked there & know most customers by name! On holidays him & his wife, catia cook up a storm for his family and many friends that he knows from Italy, from Ann Arbor, and many other “foodies”. He uses organic ingredients as much as possible, also using local farmers and brewer’s from kombucha to many local brews. From vegan to carnivore, whole wheat pizza & pasta to gluten free handmade crusts, (yes, we were up til all hours perfecting his own recipe, & he still finds ways to improve it!) This is an amazing experience for anyone.
    If you’ve never seen someone create theses magnificent edible pieces of art with all of their heart laid on the pizza peel…you need to do this. If you’ve never seen heart-shaped pizzas handmade at valentines, with swan pastries from scratch for dessert…it’s worth more the time and travel costs, it invites you into the family and sets a”reserved” table for hope to see you again.

    • Barbara Wells (to JesRose)

      To JesRose, I would like name and location of this pizzeria in Ann Arbor. I am going to the ARK next week and would like to try this restaurant.

  4. Ann

    I own a Mellow Mushroom and it is kinda crazy to put Mellow Mushroom Pizza in the same category as papa johns and dominos. Really? MM dough is made fresh every day and all ingredients are prepared each morning. Nothing on your pizza is frozen. The cheese comes fresh as well and never frozen. I am very aware of food additives and would never feed to my kids nor eat myself if there was a concern. Mellow is as mellow does. Keep on shroomin!

    • Joel (to Ann)

      So why are you afraid to disclose ingredients?

    • Alexandra (to Ann)

      She didn’t say anything about frozen ingredients. What she said was MM wouldn’t disclose info, which is basically what you just did. What ingredients are you using? If your using soybean oil then you are not being accurate in your statement.

      • Michael (to Alexandra)

        Many chains don’t wish to reveal their ingredients to maintain a level of proprietary protections. Further, in the case of some…the employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. Even the information you received would be enough to get people fired in some cases.

        However, did you ask more generic questions: Does your company mention GMOs or MSG in any documentation? Do you serve organic meat? It doesn’t SOUND like you did based off what I’m reading and the response of the Mellow Mushroom owner above.

        Also, thinking that a chain is going to be able to compete with a mom and pop place for the ability to put out the type of food you are looking for? Not even a likely chance of that in most situations and it seems more like a witch hunt than a blog to discuss the dangers/worries of eating pizza outside of your four suggestions. Of course they aren’t perfect, of course some are worse than others, but it doesn’t have to be a complete witch hunt.

    • Todd (to Ann)

      What you just said is exactly what most of the companies in this article say about their food. Trust me, i worked at a pizza place, we said the same thing.

      Though it may be delicious, its not exactly good for you. Most people know this and blatantly ignore it. If you are REALLY serious about whats in your food, you’re going to have to make it yourself most of the time. If this list of “hidden” ingredients surprised you, i got some bad news for you: Just about every food chain has “hidden” ingredients. “NO MSG” usually means “ya, we substituted other equally bad things for it just so it sounds better”.

      Do your own research people. If you were shocked at this, look at all the food you’ve eaten today. I’m sure that some of it has “hidden” ingredients.

      Reactions to articles like this piss me off.


    The information given is really educative and best understandable!

  6. laurie

    Of course i see this right after i order pizza last night faith hitt read this geez that sucks

  7. Tina Daha

    What about Costco, is there “Kirkland” brands and food okay?

  8. Tanya

    I was recently at a Restaurant show and heard a former Little Ceasars executive telling someone else that Little Ceasars sells the protein out of their cheese to keep their costs low. Do you know if their is any truth to this?

    • Tiffanie (to Tanya)

      What? To make casein-free or lactose-free cheese is far from cost cutting. It would actually add greatly to the cost. Here is a link to information on cheese: http://ansci.illinois.edu/static/ansc438/Milkcompsynth/milkcomp_protein.html

      • Tanya (to Tiffanie)

        I believe what the employee was referring to was actually removing the Whey protein which is sellable and has a huge market on the dietary market. And, I looked up that process and it seems like it is a fairly simple drying process. Again, I don’ t know if this is true or not but I do know that their cheese does not melt when you heat it in the microwave…it has a strange texture and seems to be different than other pizza cheese. This would explain a lot!

      • John (to Tiffanie)

        I don’t know for sure, but from your description of this “cheese”, I would guess it is not cheese at all but imitation cheese which is made from hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of milk. It is cheap junk………I spent 25 years in the wholesale food industry.

        How do you think they sell pizza for $5.00.

  9. Divine

    Damn, everything we eat is poison. This sucks.

    • SKR (to Divine)

      Exactly. That’s why I really don’t care about any of it. I eat what I want (within limits) and only eat unhealthy stuff like pizza occasionally. As long as it’s not part of your daily diet, I don’t see what harm 2 slices a month is going to do. Or as Dave Barry says, “Stay fit and healthy until you’re dead”!

  10. Joe. Malanowich

    I am glad that some one take,s the time to search and show us what co,s put in our food chain thank,s

  11. Gina

    My son is having a pizza party Sunday and he wants Pizza Hut or Papa Johns! :(

    • Sonia (to Gina)

      Well, you’re the parent. Choose another place!!

      • Gina (to Sonia)

        Maybe I should explain. We are big on celebrating birthdays in our family. The birthday person gets to choose what kind of birthday dinner they want. So my son chose pizza. He just turned 21 yesterday. I’m sure you’ll say inform him of the harm pizza does to the body. He has Asperger’s and it will take a bit to explain this and he’ll research it too, making his own choice. So I’ll point him to your info and see what happens. Thank you.

      • Kathy (to Sonia)

        I doubt it’s going to be that bad to eat this pizza once a year. Make up for it the rest of the year, and enjoy the birthday party.

  12. joe

    cellulose isn’t really that dangerous… its tree… tree is a giant vegetable. Beavers eat trees… its perfectly safe for humans to consume. I would say that Little Caesars is probably the safest fast food pizza place to eat at.

    • Science Bae (to joe)

      It’s also completely indigestible to humans, so it just sorta comes right back out. It’s used to keep the cheese from caking.

  13. Emily T

    Great article, and I thought I would chip in my “two cents”. I have eaten Papa John’s Pizza twice. Both times I ending up vomiting within a couple of hours. The last time I ate pizza from Pizza Hut, which was in the fall of 2007, I was not halfway through my second slice, when I felt a huge pimple coming on the side of my cheek. It grew to the size of a dime. I was horrified! Needless to say, I did not finish eating the second slice.

    The pimple became a “crater” by the next day, and when it erupted, it was nasty. That was 7 and a half years ago, and I still bear the scar from it. I have no idea what precipitated that, but I will never eat pizza from Pizza Hut again.

    By the way, I was I was 57 years old at the time – a little late in life to get a large pimple on my face.

    • SKR (to Emily T)

      I think it’s pretty safe to say whatever caused that eruption on your face, it wasn’t the pizza (unless you slapped a red-hot slice against your cheek, and I’d call that a burn!). There’s nothing in a slice of pizza that’s going to make a boil suddenly show up on you. Did you see a doctor about it?

      • Emily T (to SKR)

        SKR, I stopped eating onion rings from restaurants, years ago, because I got eruptions on my face within an hour after ingesting them. I am really tiny, and react to certain foods quickly.

        Only once in my entire life, have I had such a severe reaction to food, and it was when I ate the pizza from Pizza Hut.

        Some people’s bodies respond rapidly to what they eat.

        No, I did not see a doctor about it, as I have not been to a doctor for over 25 years. That was when my last child was born. Thank God, I tend to be healthy.

  14. May

    To the arguing boys..take your testosterone laden pants off and quit using this forum to bash your needless displays of using your Thesaurus to compete. Crap in food exists. Someone has dedicated her life for the public good and protection. Can you say the same thing? You seem to spend your time editing someone else’s free speech. What are you doing? You’re both a bore.

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  16. Steven Misosky

    Thanks food babe for doing all of that research. Darn, and I like pizza a lot. I like a healthy body even more.

    Also, thanks for the Subway report. It was worse than I imagined, and I only ate the veggie subs.

  17. Pamela Collins Jester

    That is why most get so thirsty after eating pizza, you can feel it as soon as you eat it! I use to drink like a horse after eating pizza and it still didn’t cure my thirst.

  18. Shannon

    This is why it’s better to eat pizza from your local pizzeria’s or make your own crust with organic sauce/cheese so u know exactly what’s in it! I’ve gotten pizza from the same pizzeria for over 20 years, and have never once gotten sick. I can see them adding ingredients and hand tossing the dough and making the sauce themselves!

  19. Armando

    I think you guys should all never eat there again. They will offer more deals to gain more business and I’ll get cheaper pizza :). Everyone wins!

  20. Betty

    Don’t forget azodicarbonamide in the crust!

  21. Home dog

    still makes poop

  22. vivian

    Years ago, when you could ask for “nutrition” lists at restaurants, I discovered that these pizza chains even put msg in their tomato sauce. Just like the other restaurantd that add msg to the butter for those delicious rolls they serve before dinner.

    That’s when I quit eating out ( and turned into a good cook).

    Funny, you can’t even get those pamphlets anymore…….

  23. Caris

    So I might be late to the party… but we’re all adults here and we’re all aware that “MSG” is monosodium glutamate, right? The first ingredient in table salt? MSG is an acronym for something that is a synonym for Sodium. We all know that right?

    • Andrew (to Caris)

      Salt is sodium chloride, naturally. Monosodium glutamate isn’t salt. Nor is it an acronym for salt. Sure, it contains sodium, but it also contains glutamate, an amino acid, to make our body think we’re eating something high in protein. Just because it is in our table salt these days doesn’t mean it should be, and doesn’t make it a synonym for salt.

  24. GWoody

    Would really like to know about “Spin Neopolitan Pizza”, we have many of them in Kansas City. Not sure unfortunately if any fusion pizzas made it here. We had one I knew of, and it closed. With KC getting on lots of lists as one of the top restaurant cities, I would love for you to do some of your magic here! I feel Like we do have a fair amount a good choices here! And gaining! The organic, local food movement is growing here. I can not eat MSG , if I accidently get a little it’s not the end of the world, but I do have, at a least minor reactions .I seem to be ok eating at Spin Pizza. And i really like there gluten free crust. Though it may have soy i haven’t asked as i was just relieved to be able to get a pizza i like w/out msg! However ive had 2 friends who have tried to ask them about ingredients. And both feel they got pretty limited answers. One of them wasn’t even asking about toxins, but just food allergies such as garlic or soy. They say they have no msg. They are fair size chain though, so it would be great to see what you find with them!
    Love what your doing! Thank you!

  25. June

    Hi there, I wanted to know your thoughts about Z Pizza. I’m in the DC area, but they are a California based chain. It looks like they may make your “good” list if they aren’t there already. Thanks in advance!


  26. Reality

    Let’s have a reality check here. None of the items you pointed out as hidden MSG, are actually MSG. They are components used to create it, but do not actually have it’s properties. That would be like saying that Iron is Steel, since it is used to make it.
    BHA is not actually in any of the lists.
    None of the items you list as causing cancer have actually been linked with cancer. They are thought to cause it, but there is no evidence.
    There is also no evidence that GMO food have any negative effects. There is a lot of ignorant people that fear science, and therefor claim it is bad.

    Let’s not jump into a tirade, just so you can promote some places that are willing to pay you for the advertising.

    When you have real evidence, let’s talk again.

  27. Jamie

    I have been looking for a msg free multi vitamin for years. Any options out there?

    • Curtis (to Jamie)

      Yes… I’d also like to know if food babe has done any research on red brick pizza. Thanks

    • NON-MSG MULTI VIT (to Jamie)

      CONTACT ME AT EMAIL. For real and not a joke. Have masters in micro biology and type 2 diabetic. Conduct seminars about the subject that public need to understand about eating.

      • jim (to NON-MSG MULTI VIT)

        well I have tried to send you my email so I have contacted my cpmpany to find that ans to the non MSG question. I can tell you that the one i have been taking for decades is both HALAL and KOSHER certified if the makes any difference. reply if you want more info. not sure we can promote products here because I do own a potion of the company. Not a joke.

  28. Michael

    So I have noticed you have some quite controversial stances on some food safety issues. For example your stances against artificial flavoring and colors and GMO’s (which are largely considered to be safe as there is no substantial data that the end products of any of these have toxic effects). However your claim that glutamic acid is the same as MSG is a little alarming to me. While individuals may have sensitivities to glutamic acid and MSG, they are both largely considered safe, particularly since glutamic acid by itself is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of all proteins. You literally cannot get away from glutamic acid even if you tried. As for MSG, MSG is simply the basic form of glutamic acid ionicly bonded with sodium. So the sodium content might be bad for you, but if you remember basic chemistry, once in water MSG will ionize to form glutamate (the basic form of glutamic acid) and sodium. Fun fact, it will actually predominantly be found in the dibasic form at physilogical pH, and at your stomach’s pH it will not be ionized at all, and will simply be glutamic acid. These are all different forms of glutamic acid, an amino acid. How can you believe that an amino acid is bad for every human being on this planet?

    That being said, your coments about BPA and trans fats are valid.

  29. "Pizza Pete" Crouse

    Wow. This is a loaded article. If I did not know better, I would think I was out to poison society and give them cancer just to pad my bottom line, not make them super fresh, healthy mouthwatering food. We run a model that is very transparent and solicit your questions. We do serve Hormel Pepperoni and I am sure it has the above offending ingredients. We do use soybean oil in our dough only. I have been doing so for 30 years with no malicious intent. We also sport the most mouthwatering VEGAN pizza pie in the land. Personally, I choose to be very careful, so I do not eat much meat (and I can source the meat I do eat), I eat thin crust, light or no cheese and lots of yummy vegetables (never Hormel or anyone else pepperoni). Frankly, the resource and pollution stream behind cheese is insane. Most people do not know or want to know. Cheese is possibly more resource consuming than just eating the flesh of the cow. I am a veteran in the pizza industry and hope somebody will come ask me questions. Pizza Pete
    Infinitus Pie, Denver Colorado

  30. vivian

    To Robert
    I just received this notice which is why its so far away from your reply to my first comment, but you have an amazing ability to change the point in order to further your agenda. You should run for president.

  31. Roger C

    Great article! I have an allergy to soybean oil. It surfaced about 2 years ago. I have spent a lot of time doing my due diligence in finding out what is in my restaurant food. Restaurants are deceiving at times. I was told that our 100% Virgin Olive oil at Buca de Beppo has a 50% Olive Oil content and 50% Vegetable oil content. I haven’t gone back. I could not confirm that the vegetable oil was soybean oil. Some high end pizza restaurants say they use 100% Olive oil but use a blend. A good pizza joint in Dallas in Grimaldi’s. I have had no reaction while eating pizza at their restaurants. If you have problems and the restaurant will not be forthcoming with the information…stay out of them. I have my favorites and do not hesitate to tell my friends which ones are good.

  32. WhoCares

    Seriously- who cares?! If it bothers you so much then just don’t eat it. End of story. Sure, it’s great to know what in your food but in today’s culinary industry, are you truly surprised by the fact that there are ‘bad for you’ ingredients in your food?! Let’s take a lesson for the Common Sense Handbook- if it’s an unhealthy meal/snack option, then eat it in moderation. Don’t be gluttonous about it. Even ‘good for you’ options are bad in large/mass quantity! This article does nothing but promote an unnecessary fear. The public is well aware that pizza, especially restaurant/chain brand pizza is not a healthy meal choice. So, thanks for nothing. Go take a chill pill.

    • D*Nice (to WhoCares)

      ‘Who Cares’… Obviously ‘You Care’. So take your juvenile comments and write them in crayon in your own cry baby journal instead of stalking sites with your pathetic prophesies. Now that’s some ‘Common Sense’. Fact: there is is massive plethora of followers on this site for a reason. That being ‘We Care’. About this site that is. Regarding your half cent sentiments the answer is a loud & resounding ‘NO ONE’.

      • Guy (to D*Nice)

        There was nothing juvenile about what he said, nor did he or she imply that they aren’t a fan of the sight in general. Actually, and i don’t mean to be insulting, you made yourself sound pretty immature. I happen to agree with them simply because the article seems uninspired. That’s understandable from a journalistic point of view, sometimes you just need to submit a few inches of writing. A vague headline and some frightening facts about something common is a formula you’ll find almost everywhere. P.S. Try to read comments in a neutral tone.

  33. Naomi

    I’m 44yrs young.
    I’ve had maybe 5 headaches my whole life. I do not take medicine.
    I’ve had one 24hr migraine (I was informed) during 9/11 when I lived a few blocks from Ground Zero.

    I used to “grab a slice” of plain pizza when I lived in NYC. Maybe two a month. No reaction.

    I just moved to Asheville. Slices are hard to come by so I bought a frozen DiGiorno’s 4 Meat Pizza Thin Crust – because it was on sale.

    I just ate half of it and ten minutes later my hands reached to massage my temples. It’s an uncomfortable pressure with a slight pinch. It’s very obvious it’s from the pizza but to make sure I Googled “does pizza cause headaches” and found this blog.

  34. Sheli Reynolds

    Hi we are a new company. Our website isn’t up yet but real soon. I read your article on pizza. My company, Genuine Organics, makes an organic sprouted spelt pizza dough and sauce. It’s amazing. Even kids love it. My sister, Tami, and I started the business in OKC and brought our friend, Derek, in from Boulder. We are currently selling in OKC and working on a big deal in Boulder. We would love to send you some pizza dough and sauce and get your opinion. We only use the purest, organic ingredients with nothing fake. My phone number is 405-823-1029. Or I am under sheli reynolds on Facebook. Genuine Organics has a Facebook Page also. We hope to hear from you! Thanks! Sheli

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  39. Wilson (to Madison)

    Thank you Madison! It takes work to understand how to correctly analyze scientific studies, and Food Babe, you make just about every error it is possible to make. I realize it’s hard to make changes when you feel like you’re being attacked, and no one likes to be told they’re wrong, but please, please, please – for the sake of your readers, take time to better learn how to analyze this information through a scientifically skeptical lens!

  40. AnjieJoon (to Madison)

    madison ~ you go ahead & keep eating msg all you want. but i have extreme reactions immediately after eating it and that is all the science i need to know it’s not something i want to consume or for my kids to consume. everyone can say msg is from natural sources & therefore perfectly healthy all day long, but the reality is i get headaches, slight nausea & extreme fatigue right after eating it. plus those reactions have gotten more extreme as i’ve gotten older. and i am not the only one. many of my friends have the same reactions. i don’t need a special scientific study to tel lme to steer clear of msg and to demand to know if a restaurant is adding it to the food they serve.

  41. Samantha Laird (to Lisa Eby)

    Right, but if shes taking the time to let us all know what is out there, we would have no idea otherwise because only some of us care. I do not want to put those chemicals and extra BS they chaulk full of these processed products that everyone eats every day. By her exposing these food places, we should step back and actually see what is going on here and what we are digesting and putting into our bodies. We ‘child proof’ our homes so our kids arent in danger of sharp objects, we should do the same with our bodies and make it a functional and safe, healthy machine. I do not need pizza. I do not need anything processed, but everyone else thinks thats all there is to eat and just because it tastes so good, does not mean you should eat it. The ‘industry’ hides the negativity and its all a money game. They create these mono- hydrolyzed- MSG- GMO- nonsense to make more money and they suck all of you into it. If you don’t want to hear what your tasty fast food chains put in their foods than stop reading and keep eating, but if you really want to set yourself up for success for the rest of your life, you’d take into condiseration the informative gesture she is distributing to us. I won’t ask you about your cholesterol.

  42. Lisa Eby (to Lisa Eby)

    Maybe your mother should have taught you manners. I’ve been healthy all my life. Learn to let others live life their own way. I’m thin have two healthy children. Before you bash someone else’s medical counts maybe you should know more about them. Judge much? By the way, I’m a trainer.

  43. Cynthia Giuliani (to Justin)

    Actually, it IS very well researched, It doesn’t take a team of experts to get ingredient lists. Unless you are assuming that the lists are made up for the sake of the article. It clearly states that the ingredient list were not provided by the company and that they confirmed what they could and that one should not assume (based on the crap used in other chains) that the ingredients are healthy. How is it that you interpret that as “fear mongering”?

  44. Kat (to Justin)

    Sicking? HA! Your ignorance is sickening. Did you read the ingredient labels she posted those are sickening and by the way WHO DO YOU WORK FOR? It wouldn’t happen to be in the Food Industry would it? The lame attacks do not negate the information concerning the health hazards in these food products.

    To all food manufacturers if you want to keep your customer then be honest and sell us healthy food that nourishes our body, not destroys it – then you can keep your business and your profits. I will NOT be supporting any of these places from this day forward.

  45. Jamie (to Justin)

    You can’t be serious.

  46. Thomas (to Justin)

    Thank you for saying what I was thinking, Justin. Not to mention…you’re eating PIZZA! The worst part about eating pizza is not the MSG. Pizza isn’t healthy, but who doesn’t know that going in?

  47. Renee (to Justin)


    Science is finally catching up to what the “health nuts” have been preaching for years. A new area of science called Epigenetics discloses how environmental toxins effect disease, health and physiology and these changes are passed on to subsequent generations. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. The podcast starts at 6:35 minutes. The FDA says that low levels of toxins are harmless. This scientist reveals through science that low levels of toxins are more dangerous than higher amounts. He also says that diet is the number one exposure to toxic chemicals.


  48. M slater (to Justin)

    Justin get off this site, you are a TROLL.

  49. V. Anderson (to Justin)

    People like me find it sickening that our food is poisoned by the food industry in order to increase their profit margin at the cost of our health and well being. If you think these are “scare tactics” , then go ahead and keep eating this junk and when your health is affected that will be the problem of those who will have to care for you.

  50. John (to Justin)

    Hey Justin,

    Completely agree with Kat, M Slater et la. How much are you getting paid by the corporations to blog? $50 USD an hour? I’m sure you’re making a nice little hourly wage whatever it is.

    The only sickening this on this webpage are your comments. I hope you sleep like a baby tonight knowing that ours are being poisoned.

  51. Cparish (to Justin)

    Dude, why don’t you stick a gasoline nozzle in your mouth and suck on it and tell the world it is not toxin

  52. Alex (to Justin)

    Bottom line: only if you are pain- stakingly sourcing all of your own ingredients locally and cooking all of your meals from scratch can you (almost!) guarantee your food is completely without all of these chemical acronyms. The food industry has become like any other, motivated solely by profit and not at all phased by the havoc it’s wrecked on our diets. It is outrageous, immoral and many more adjectives besides. Ultimately, support your local farmers and business owners who bring our food back to basics and be of the knowledge that if you eat out, especially at a chain, you’re going to have artificial ingredients in your food. Period.

  53. Greg (to Justin)

    With or without added toxins, it’s $20 and almost all dough. Why argue about whether something might give you cancer 40 years down the road when it will kill you with diabetes so much sooner thsn that?

  54. tanya (to Justin)

    to justin…you sound like an idiot the food babe does all kinds of research before talking out about anything and she has the pictures of the actual companies and there ingredients ..i am extremely happy to have the food babe without her i would still be in the dark about so many things…and for all the people out there who want to stay in the dark well thats your choice too but THANK YOU FOOD BABE YOU ROCK!!!!

  55. Lee (to Preston)

    While MSG may be “proven” to not be harmful, there are people for whom its effects are very detrimental. My mother suffered bouts of vision impairment/blindness; while these were temporary, lasting ten to thirty minutes, as you can imagine, they were terrifying. Through trial and tracking, we were able to refine a list of potential suspects. The last to be tested was MSG, and it proved to be the culprit.

    Perhaps it is not a matter of what is harmful or not harmful to most people, but having the knowledge to choose to avoid it if it DOES impact you. I won’t stop eating pizza because of this list, but had we known that it was the MSG that was causing her issues, you can bet we would have avoided it for my mom.

  56. Bryan (to Preston)

    Before you start opening your mouth you should take a minute and start using your brain.
    First, food colorings have been proven to be poison, most countries have banned the food colors our FDA allows.
    You are blind if you think that these food manufacturers care about your health, same with the FDA. These people are running a business. They’re in it for profits and these additives make them more profitable.
    Common logic, if you take a moment and actually THINK.

  57. Andy (to Preston)

    Someone comes at you with valid points of discussion and you just make broad claims based on your opinion.

    I would love to direct you to a website which describes the ‘banning’ or lack of permission of food colourings for Austalia and NZ:


    Here you can discover that many food additives are not actually banned; just that nobody has applied to use them in said country due to the fact that an alternative is available…and a range of other reasons. Make your way through the website.

    I’m not saying either of you are right or wrong; just that one of you has decent arguments backed up with valid points. (It’s not you Bryan).

    Right on Preston.

  58. Preston (to Lee)

    You are correct and thank you for the fantastic response. Certainly people can be sensitive and/or allergic to certain foods. People have the right to know exactly what are eating and I think people should demand it. Pizza is one of those foods that I don’t really think about because it seems so simple to make and the ingredients seems obvious. I’m happy that someone did research to find out exactly what they were eating and shared it with us. The problem that I have to the jumping on the myth bandwagon and spreading the misinformation. I’m sure for nearly every ingredient someone could put in food there is someone, somewhere that is sensitive or allergic to it. Trade secrets doesn’t keep ingredient lists off of food that you buy in the grocery store, so why should pizza place be able to hide their ingredient lists from us?

  59. George (to Lee)

    I can totally identify with what your mother suffered. I have what is a true ALLERGY to MSG – total ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK!!!!!! With each episode I had hemorrhaging within my eyes, fortunately without permanent damage. Of course being on a respirator and being pumped full of drugs to keep me alive was no picnic. It seems odd that our government can export the same products we consume without MSG to countries that ban its use, i.e. Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and most European countries. But, it is more confounding that our government allows our own manufacturers to poison our own citizens?? I can’t even allow it in my home. If I should touch the outside of a bag of chips that contain MSG after it is opened and been spread to its exterior packaging, I’m totally screwed. AND THE FDA SAYS THERE IS NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT MSG IS A KNOWN ALLERGEN?????????????

  60. Sally (to Lee)

    Your mom going blind temporarily when consuming MSG doesn’t indicate that MSG is the problem, it may very well indicate that she has other underlying medical problems. You only see those underlying problems when the MSG is going through her system because the body is busy dealing with the excess MSG. If you know anything about MSG, you would know that it exists naturally in certain food, particularly fermented food. If anything, consuming MSG and getting a reaction is a way to tell if you need to go to the doctor to get a more thorough checkup. Don’t blame the messenger.

  61. David (to Kat)

    Your ignorance is beyond reality. If you actually think that food manufacturers are going to sell “healthy” ingredients in their food your dumb as a rock. Ingredients are use to keep food fresh till it gets consume, healthy or not. If you didn’t know food spoils fairly quickly, hence the ingredients they use to maintain freshness.

    If you want to eat healthy, you need to do two things, stop eating out and grow your own food.

  62. Christine (to Kat)


    The excitotoxins must have eaten away your brain cells where the rules of proper grammar used to reside.

  63. Heisherberg (to Kat)

    Fcuk all you ignorant mofo’s.

    “FOOD-BABE:” is dead aim on her research… Good shiit on pushing the issue(MSG) to the fullest.

    FCUK: Domino’s Pizza!
    FCUK: Pizza Hut!
    FCUK: Little Caesars!

  64. Preston (to Bryan)

    Conspiracy theories and the intent to harm their consumer base is NOT common logic. I’m not saying that the manufacturers in question care that the food that create is “healthy,” but they do care if you purchase it or not. Anything, and I do mean anything, can be proven to be poison if taken in large enough quantities and that is why the FDA puts limits on the amount that can be food. The FDA exists to keep food and drug manufacturers honest and hold them responsible. The FDA requires safety testing of additives and drugs before they can be marketed. Prior to the FDA opium and cocaine were used in both food and drugs and a significant number of drugs on the market either did nothing or were actually harmful to the user. The FDA has unquestionable improved both food and drug safety in the United States.

    Also, I generally do a significant amount of research before I comment on something and I don’t take information a face value. Just because my opinion doesn’t agree with yours doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about it.

  65. Bryan (to Bryan)

    The FDA is not to be trusted. There are many things banned all over the world but allowed in our food here in America. Explain when they allow BPA in our diet when it’s been proven to be a poison. Explain why blue food coloring has been banned all over the world, even here, then one day they allowed it here, still banned in almost every other country. The rest of the world still bans it. Bribes are a way our government works and anyone that trusts the FDA is foolish. You must either be young and naive or a liberal, or both.

  66. Renee (to Renee)

    I do not agree with Dr. Skinner’s statement at the end of the podcast whereby adults are immune from environmental toxins. Everything affects me. What I eat influences my energy, mood and health. What I put on my skin can cause irritations. The air that I breath can cause congestion especially air conditioning.

    For adults, I think he is speaking in terms of Epigenetics and our bodies influence on future generations (childbirth) and not on the real time health issues of pollution in our present day environment.

  67. Lynn (to Rodger)

    Don’t be so crass Rodger, this isn’t your personal blog. If you don’t have something constructive to add then don’t speak. Ranting and raving is good if it gets people to listen up! People are trying to make a difference and some actually care about what we are putting into out big fat mouths…so we don’t become big fat people that fatten the pockets of the big fat FDA.

  68. Betsy (to Chris)

    Amen Chris. These were my thoughts exactly.

  69. Mads (to Cparish)

    Lol my favorite response yet

  70. vinny (to Thomas)

    Sugar from the dough and sauce along with fat from the cheese may help you put on a few pounds but chemicals and gmo ingredients will help put you in the ground.

    When we were kids, we would say pizza isn’t good for you because it will make you fat. Today getting fat is the least of our worries. The ingredients in most pizza are literally toxic and have been proven to cause many serious health problems

  71. Andy (to Andy)

    oh and you must be some sort of old conservative, right?

  72. Paul (to Paul)

    One last thought (Oh I have plenty on this topic).

    For years I went into fast food places to work on their drive thru systems. I went into one kitchen area, set my ladder up…I was in the middle of it when the manager walked by and bumped into me. I slid over! Follow me? Rubber feet and I slid over! It was grease! All grease!

    I stopped eating fast food generally because I worked in so many of the places and I saw how nasty they can be. Look! A NEW Mickey D’s or remodeled Burger King is a tasty enough thing, no doubt about it. After a few years they get so nasty that you just can’t eat there. My brother just bought a pizza place, remodeled and renamed it OK? The expense was huge because so much had to be thrown away and replaced. I saw the sign that said “Grade A rating” in a frame! NOW it deserves one!

    Folks some things to some people are unhealthy even in small amounts. Some things aren’t. While I think we all agree ANTIFREEZE probably wouldn’t make a good food ingredient we know not to use it and don’t. Use your head! Use moderation!

  73. Phillip (to Mike)

    Extremely extreme and childish to compare food purists to skinheads and I am offended by the comment. Though I must admit your argument is strong in that it would prevent the weaker-minded individual from seeing the value in the article. Misdirecting these poor souls is like Hitler trying to convince his armies that killing the Jews is not a bad thing – see I can do it too nana nana boo boo. Foods are not people and weaker-minded individuals are not your armies.
    Besides, you’re missing the point! This article examines the ingredients in these restaurant chain pizzas and brings into question their safety. Perhaps she focuses on the wrong ingredients and makes some claims that aren’t entirely backed by scientific study, but if you think about what we actually eat, does it make any sense? They use all these chemically-processed ingredients and vegetables grown using pesticides that are carcinogenic/toxic to humans. How much of it are we consuming/absorbing? Trace amounts that are quickly expelled or accumulate with each exposure? Every bit of it absorbed by the vegetation? Toxic/addictive levels?
    Perhaps further study needs to be done to fully understand the degree to which these affect our health, but such research is expensive and time-consuming. Until we yield definitive results, I say we use some common sense! Avoid potential health hazards to the best of your ability and encourage others to do the same, unless you have no worries of diabetes, obesity, and potential cancers. Even so, don’t be pulling the wool over people’s eyes with misdirection and calling me a skinhead or publishing your own assumptions as fact.
    I’m seriously hoping you didn’t have your fingers in your ears this entire time saying, “la la la la la. I can’t hear you. La la la la la,” and that you’ll be able to give me a decent argument that doesn’t bring into question my tolerance for non-whites or races other than my own the way I just brought into question your maturity (rightfully so because of your low blows, methinks).
    However, I did enjoy the partial analysis of GMO. Good show. Though you neglect to mention that’s not the only way GMOs are produced. kthxbai :)

  74. Brent Lang (to Wilson)

    And I suppose you have a “scientifically skeptical lens”? :( While I can’t verify everything she says, I do know from credible research that MSG is dangerous. It kills brain cells. Where GMOs are concerned, there is a cause for concern. I did about three months of research on GMOs (can you say the same), and I think that they are worth avoiding. One source of information I recommend is GMO Myths and Truths by Dr. Michael Antoniou, Ph.D. When you have something to say that contradicts what someone says, you should provide specific credible evidence for argument. You did not do that here.

  75. Brent Lang (to Wilson)

    I’m assuming that it was Wilson who replied to a relatively recent comment of mine. If not, I apologize. As for the definition of research, at its most basic the definition is systematically investigating. However, in the way I did things both this definition and the definition that says that objective standards need to be applied are both satisfied. The latter definition is satisfied because the information that I acquired was research performed by three individuals working together, one of which is Dr. Michael Antoniou Ph.D., who has worked directly with genetic engineering for nearly 30 years (which by the way is far longer than 10 years), and is the Reader in Molecular Genetics and Head of the Gene Expression and Therapy, King’s College London School of Medicine, UK. He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications of original work to his name, and holds inventor status on a number of gene expression biotechnology patents. Do you have as much credibility? The former definition is satisfied because all I had to was systematically investigate. I read the research of these three people, took notes, and found a way to present it, while correctly citing sources. I may not have the credentials of a Ph. D. scientist, but I have the research of a credible Ph. D. at my disposal. Besides, just because you and Dr. Antoniou may disagree about GMOs, that doesn’t clearly decide who is right and who is wrong. I highly recommend GMO Myths and Truths. Read it before commenting again on GMOs.

  76. Brent Lang (to Preston)

    All you’re doing is rationalizing the idea that putting these things in food is okay. And for your information, corporations have a huge amount of power in government, and that includes power in the FDA. So the definition of honesty is not entirely up to the FDA. Corporations have a huge amount of influence in this decision as well.

  77. Wilson (to Brent Lang)

    I did read it. It wasn’t a study. It was a report published on a website with a clear bias, full of shifting burdens of proof, strawman arguments, : “Genetic engineering is just an extension of natural breeding” – who thinks that – and plenty of blatant opining. In other words, it wasn’t science – it was an editorial. A very well-informed editorial, but nothing that has undergone peer review.

    You claim you did three months of study, but it seems like this GMO Myths and Truths is the only thing you have to present as evidence. At the very least, that one report seemed to provide the seed of your entire comment. When it comes down to it though, you could have a million sources with which you spent an entire lifetime. It doesn’t matter if the sources aren’t backed up with sound evidence. If your sources are all “naturalnewsandstopgmos.com” or other such ridiculousness, then they are worthless. On the flip-side, if there were even a moderately small number of sources from reputable journals presenting studies with impeccable methodologies, then I’d give what you have to say a listen. Otherwise you’re just in the camp of climate change deniers.

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter whether I have a Phd. and really it doesn’t matter that Dr. Antoniou does either. What matters is that you don’t have enough evidence to make the claims you make (as with your MSG study, it takes more than just one study for something to start becoming credible). Scientific thought on a matter doesn’t change with a single study, or with a single individual. It takes a lot of evidence and a lot of revision and a lot of peer-review. I don’t have to have a Phd. I just need to understand the scientific method enough to trust the people using it, and then lend my ears to the opinion to the scientific community. This follows for climate change, vaccinations, gluten sensitivity, MSG and other chemical scares, and any other controversy that the scientific community has an opinion on.

  78. Brent Lang (to Wilson)

    Where in my comment did I say that GMO Myths and Truths was a study?

    What are your credentials? How I do know that your not biased and that you’re trying to steer me and others away from that by trying to put the bias on this review?

    GMO Myths and Truths is not my sole source information, though it was my primary one. The reason for that was because I found it to be credible and it was a review of hundreds of several hundred studies, reviews, expert opinions, etc. So the source is backed up with sound evidence, or did you not see the citations at the end of every single section?

    About Natural News, while it’s true I read the stories on there, I don’t believe everything that they say on there, and it did not contribute significantly to my research, since I knew that most people would not consider it to be credible. I wanted some rock solid science. And the bit about being in the same camp as climate-change deniers, is that your expert opinion? I know that climate change is indeed real. It’s been part of Earth’s history over the years. But that’s another topic.

    In your last paragraph (this is really interesting), you said takes more than one study for something to be credible. I know you’re not referring to the MSG study you mentioned, based on your choice of sentence structure, so I know you must be referring to GMO Myths and Truths. Very first paragraph you said it wasn’t a study, but now you’re calling it a study! (HaHaHaHa) What’s more this review (not study) is based on several hundred sources, the credibility of which the authors evaluated for all to see in the very beginning of the second edition version of the review.

    I don’t care whether or not you have a PhD. I certainly don’t. What I was trying establish was the credibility of the authors of the source, therefore I think that it would be a good idea to listen to them. I’m not saying views will change, they don’t have to, but anybody with and objective and rational will mind will listen and consider. It was because of that credibility and the sheer number of sources that the review drew from that I seized upon it as my primary source of information.

    On the scientific method, its something that any good high school student could understand. I’ve heard both sides of the debate and the side I support seems to be the one following the scientific method, which includes scientific inquiry (anti-science in the view of the biotech corporations).

  79. Wilson (to Brent Lang)

    Sentence structure and whether or not that might maybe vaguely imply that I referred to a review as a study? Please.

    As for the review. Yes, it linked hundreds of studies – but it did so in support of a host of different claims, meaning that each claim only warrants the weight of the studies that support it (generally a couple studies per claim, since each section contains multiple claims). It doesn’t work to take the document as a whole and say “look, it’s supported by hundreds of studies”. Some of the points may actually be correct – but they require more in-depth and specific support than is given in this review.

    The fact of the matter is that you are using a small number of sources that are not widely accepted by the scientific community. It’s telling that you think any good high school student has what it takes to read and evaluate research, because you obviously don’t know much about it yourself. There’s a reason scientists get advanced degrees. It takes more than reading sensationalized news reports to evaluate what is true and what is not. It’s also common for scientists to get it wrong – even after all that training. That’s why we listen to what the scientific community as a whole says – not to what individual scientists do.

  80. Robert (to Wilson)

    I cant believe people on here are actually trying to argue that pizza isnt bad for you and wont make you fat. Have you seen some of the people hanging out at dominos?? Go to a restaraunt that serves salads and healthy foods. go to a 5 dollar a slice pizza joint. Who will have a majority of tubby patrons? Like that big lard butt thinking hes being healthy ordering a diet coke and a side salad with his oversized combo of a pink slime burger and fake potato processed frys at mickie d’s. Man I wish I knew these folks in real life, I could open up a bussiness and become a millionaire selingl them some good ole Healthy glazed cream filled donuts.

  81. Willem (to Golden Carter)

    Although I do not agree with everything she says and does, you could not be further from the truth.
    If by “qualified” you mean “governement approved” then you live the illusion the governements of the world want the best for their people. So being a “qualified” anything is about as valuable as crap. I have seen many a “qualified” professional that really had no clue about important things from their field. Like “qualified” hospital dieticians telling patients to use margarine in stead of butter, and not able to tell me what margarine acually is, how it is made and why real butter is a LOT less harmful. So there goes your “qualified” point.
    You don’t know if she makes stuff up, because you cannot see how she works. You can only see what she comes up with, what she presents us. Assumption, therefor worthless.
    Yes, we can be glad we have the opportunity to go buy stuff. Does that mean we should blindly accept anything and willingly let ourselves be poisoned by the industries?
    If you want to live in your illusionary world and stay clueless, that is fine. But don’t come to a place like this and start making dumb and unfounded accusations. She does not force her ideas onto you, you are free not to come here and not read it. Show some respect and do the same, dude.

  82. Jay (to Golden Carter)

    These cheap ingredient, high profit food chains are hoping for lemurs like yourselves to bring your heads up from your cell phones long enough to take a bite of this nasty, so called food. Statistics don’t lie. Cancer and disease rates are skyrocketing due to the toxic ingredients in our food. These ingredients allow these big giants to make big profits while feeding us garbage that is killing us. Wake up, look up, and educate yourselves on what real food is.

  83. Lyddie (to Willem)

    Very well written and excellent points.

  84. Lee (to Sally)

    Sally, I fully understand that MSG naturally occurs in some foods. I am also well aware that she did have other medical problems. This was a diagnosis made by her physician after the first incident. My issue is not with naturally occurring MSG, it is with the insistence of “food” producers to add it as a cheap way to boost the flavor of food that does not need it.

  85. Susie (to Christine)

    The grammar police are issuing tickets today!

  86. Lycantis (to Food Babe)

    Hey I have one complaint. Cellulose, take that off the list of “bad” things, there is more cellulose in a stalk of celery or a floret of broccoli than there will ever be in cheese. Cellulose is not dangerous, we just can’t digest it because we’re not herbivores, unless there’s a process that can be explained by some source that’s yet to be revealed at all because it’s just sawdust basically, made out of woody plant fibers, then I can’t take anyone bashing on cellulose seriously because you might as well avoid all vegetation as it all has cellulose. Other than that, great article.

  87. Reality (to AnjieJoon)

    SO your philosophy is that if it is bad for one person, then it is bad for everyone?

    Attention world since some people are allergic to peanuts, no one should eat them.
    Some people are lactose intolerant, so milk is now bad for you.

    Let’s use actual science and not emotional evaluation.

    Nothing she listed was MSG, so let’s look at the reality of the thing. MSG in and of itself is not dangerous, but like many things that is in moderation.

    If I ate nothing but peanut butter for a year, I would most likely have a heart attack. If a person allergic to peanuts got close to it, they would go into shock. You need to understand what your body can handle, and be your own decision maker.


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