Should you have to be good at math to understand how many calories you get from eating pizza?

Pizza companies are fighting back against proposed federal regulations that would list the calorie count of a whole pizza.

Without thinking, how many slices did your last major chain pizza come in? 8? 10? And if this theoretical pizza had 2,200 calories, could you tell us how many calories per slice?

If the pizza were 2,000 calories, simple math could tell you that in a 8-slice pizza, each slice would be 250 calories, and a 10-slice pizza would be 200 calories per slice. So even if you couldn't quite compute 2,200 calories, you might be able to guess that you could add 12.5 calories per slice for every 100 calories in an 8-slice pizza and 10 calories per slice for every 100 calories in a 10-slice pizza.

If the math is confusing you, in an 8-slice pizza, if you eat 2 slices, you are eating ¼ of the pizza. Divide the total calories of the pizza by 4 and get your total. So two slices of an 8-slice pizza where the pizza was 2,200 calories would come to 550 calories.

Domino's tells us there are 34 million ways to customize a pizza, so accounting for all those pizzas would be problematic when it comes to math. However, within those 34 million ways, you would mostly need to worry about the calories in a regular cheese pizza (1), the 5-6 meat toppings available on a pizza (5-6), and extra cheese (1). That comes to 6-7 more options. Most people can process that math.

In the 34 million combinations, you don't have to worry about mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. If you really think the calorie count of vegetables on your pizza is the problem, then you should stop counting calories. If you order pineapple on your pizza, and you eat more than one whole pizza, then you can be concerned.

As for meat, if pepperoni over a whole pizza is 290 calories (hypothetical), then add 290 calories to a regular cheese pizza if that is all you will order. Round it up to 300 in case the pizza maker gets a little sloppy and adds more.

The American Pizza Community, which goes all the way back to January, says the proposed rules of showing the calorie count for the whole pizza are unfair since the average consumer eats only 2.1 slices of a pizza. So in a 8-slice pizza, divide by 4. In a 10-slice pizza, divide by 5.

Having an exact measure of how many calories you consume in food is really important for the mega calorie counters. Even having a ballpark idea of how much you are consuming will help even the most casual pizza eater. Each of these pizza chains has specific requirements for how much of an ingredient goes on a pizza. So they know rather precisely how many calories you are getting in a pizza and per slice. The question is, will you?

We have come out against calorie counts right on the menu board, provided the information is easily accessible. Unlike hamburgers and other fast food, most pizza consumers don't set foot in the pizza establishment, preferring a delivery for their pizza. For those who come in, the restaurant should have a board off to the side listing ingredients, calorie count, and other vital health stats. Chains should certainly have information on their Web sites.

We've seen in other food categories how many more calories goes into a chain equivalent of popular foods. Take the expectation of what we would do in making a pizza and multiply that 2-3 times to get an estimated calorie count of a chain pizza. If you don't want to do the math, make your own pizza.

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