How Many Calories Are in a Slice of Papa John's Pizza?

Papa John's pizza calories are only the beginning when it comes to understanding the nutritional effect of a Papa John's original crust pizza. Though pizza often contains many calories from fat, as well as copious amounts of sodium, it does offer some nutritional benefits to consider.

Papa John's pizza offers an extensive variety of pizzas. Credit: Victoria Bee Photography/Moment/GettyImages

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Papa John's offers an extensive variety of pizzas. The calorie count can range from about 110 (small slice of White Veggie Pizza) to about 440 (large slice of Taco Pizza).

Papa John's Calorie Facts

Pizza gets a lot of criticism for being unhealthy. In some ways, the criticism may be correct. For example, according to Papa John's site, an extra-large Papa John's Taco Pizza contains 440 calories, 150 calories from fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,060 milligrams of sodium and 45 grams of net carbohydrates.

A slice from a small Taco Pizza contains 350 calories, 160 calories from fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans fat. It also contains 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 770 milligrams of sodium and 27 grams of net carbohydrates.

Read more: 16 Diet-Friendly Healthful Carbs

By comparison, Papa John's site lists the Papa John's Pizza White Veggie Pizza offers slightly better numbers. A slice from an extra large White Veggie Pizza contains 320 calories, 120 calories from fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 690 milligrams of sodium and 37 grams of net carbohydrates.

A slice from a small White Veggie Pizza contains 210 calories, 80 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 470 milligrams of sodium and 24 grams of net carbohydrates. When compared to the Taco Pizza, calories, sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol are all nearly cut in half.

If you have one slice of Papa John's pizza, you are still eating fewer calories than a McDonald's Big Mac, according to the USDA, which checks in at 563 calories, 78 grams of cholesterol and 1,010 milligrams of sodium. Just as adding fries and a soda to your Big Mac quickly packs on calories, so too does eating more than one slice of Papa John's Pizza. So the problem isn't eating just one slice, but eating two or more slices.

The effect is not just the calorie count. The sodium levels of Papa John's Pizza slices are quite high, even for smaller slices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, per day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Eating two large slices of the Taco Pizza will put you near the recommended daily limit for sodium, and a large slice of White Veggie pizza will put you halfway there.

Read more: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner on a Cardiac Diet

Papa John's Pizza Benefits

There are some nutritional benefits to be gained from eating Papa John's Pizza. For example, their pizzas contain a decent amount of protein, which is a vital nutrient used throughout your body to help repair muscle and other tissue.

However, protein amounts can vary greatly between the different pizzas. For example, a slice from an extra-large Papa John's Pizza Pepperoni Pizza contains 12 grams of protein, the Papa John's Pizza Defender Pizza contains 17 grams of protein per slice and the Papa John's Pizza Sausage Pizza's slices contain 12 grams of protein each.

Phosphorus is another essential nutrient Papa John's Pizza's pizzas provide in large quantities. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, phosphorus is a needed nutrient that primarily helps with bone and tooth formation.

According to the USDA, Papa John's Pizza's original crust pizza contains 238 milligrams of phosphorus in a single slice. According to research published in February 2017 in the journal Nutrients, this is about one-fourth to one-third of the 700 milligrams of phosphorus you should consume every day.

Finally, Papa John's Pizzas tend to have decent amount of calcium. For example according to the USDA, in a Papa John's original crust pizza, there are 194 milligrams of calcium. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily dose of calcium is 1,000 milligrams for men and women. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, calcium is important for bone and tooth health.

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