Pizza: Beyond the Myths – Exposing Common Misconceptions

Pizza is a dish that made its way from Italy into just about every country across the globe. It’s delicious, it’s easy to eat, and it’s affordable. That’s what we do know about pizza…but what about the various myths that surround the dish. Are they all true? Possibly not!

I recently became interested in the pizza myths doing the round and was pleasantly surprised to find that many of them have already been debunked. I’d like to share these debunked myths with pizza lovers across the globe.

11 myths about pizza that have been debunked:

  1. Italians invented pizza.
  2. Hawaiian pizza comes from Hawaii.
  3. Italian San Marzano tomatoes are needed to make a traditional pizza base sauce.
  4. Pizza is an unhealthy breakfast food.
  5. There’s no such thing as a vegan pizza.
  6. Pizza is all about the cheese.
  7. Pepperoni pizzas are common in Italy.  
  8. Pizza is heated perfectly in the microwave.
  9. All pizzas are unhealthy. 
  10. Fruit has no place on a pizza.
  11. Only fresh dough bases make a good pizza.

If you have lived your life believing any or all of the abovementioned myths, prepare to have your mind blown as you discover that these are simply not true. Some of them, you might even be happy to learn, are untrue! Unfortunately for those who made up these myths, we are about to debunk each of them.

Read on if you are interested in learning more about why each of the above myths is untrue. Things are about to get interesting…

Debunked Pizza Myths – Prepare to be Amazed/Surprised!

Pizza just isn’t what you thought it was, is it? We could all stand to learn a lot by doing a bit of research on our favorite fast food! I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the debunking of these myths. With the above 11 myths out there, doing the rounds year after year, it is probably time to speak up and out about them. They simply are not true – they are simply misconceptions and misguided presumptions about the dish. 

Now is the time to put these myths to rest, once and for all. Let’s get right into the topmost commonly believed myths about pizza and why you shouldn’t believe them. 

1. Italians invented pizza. Busted – not completely true.

Everyone – or nearly everyone – believes that pizza is originally an Italian food and that is where it truly hails from. This is where people get a little confused. There’s only some truth to that statement.

The Italians can certainly take some credit for making pizza popular in the U.S and many parts of the world, but they might not be the actual inventors of the dish. Why do I say this? Well, back in ancient Greece, Greeks began to consume flat pieces of dough topped with different kinds of ingredients; it’s thought that this was later adapt by the Romans. Also, the origin of the word “pizza” is thought to come from the word Greek pitta.

The popular cheesy, saucy version of pizza we know today was probably a product of Naples, which was a Greek port city – and therefore pizza eventually became a popular meal in Italy.

2. Hawaiian pizza comes from Hawaii. Busted – the creator was Canadian!

Who in the world ever thought of putting pineapple on pizza? It must come from Hawaii, right? You would be forgiven for thinking that Hawaiian pizza comes from Hawaii, when in fact, it’s creator simply named it after the most fitting of places for his invention. It is Sam Panopoulos, a Greek-born Canadian, who made pizza with pineapple on it just for fun…way back in 1962.

Sam himself has said that he was merely doing it for the fun of it while cooking up a pizza with his brother. Little did he know that it would become a favorite pizza for millions (if not billions) of people across the globe!

3. Italian San Marzano tomatoes are needed to make a traditional pizza base sauce. Busted – not true.

You can’t just use any old tomato to make a pizza sauce, right? Wrong! Many Americans mistakenly believe that San Marzano tomato is exclusively grown in Italy and is the only tomato to make an authentic pizza sauce. The reality is that the San Marzano is the name of a tomato seed, which can be grown in various places across the globe. 

If you head to the grocery store to buy San Marzano tomatoes for pizza, there’s nothing to say it isn’t a tomato from China (avoid this by looking for the authenticity certification label). Anyway, it’s probably a good idea to buy some tinned whole peeled tomatoes that you actually enjoy. That would make the perfect traditional pizza sauce indeed!

4. Pizza is an unhealthy breakfast food. Busted – not strictly true!

Nowadays, it’s hard to claim that even breakfast cereals are good food thanks to all the sugar included (funny fact: in general, pizzas are considered a healthier breakfast option than cereals). 

Pizzas are actually a decent breakfast food option as they offer a balanced mix of proteins, fats, and carbs. Simply opt for whole wheat pizzas with healthy ingredients (and a reasonable calorie count) if you want the most nutritious of options. 

5. There’s no such thing as a vegan pizza. Busted – vegan pizza exists!

Did I just say that there are possibly pizzas for vegans? Yup, I did! Many people think that it is impossible to buy a vegan pizza, but that’s simply not true. Leading pizzerias have discovered innovative ways to offer vegans a great pizza using meat alternatives, loads of delicious veggies, and even vegan cheese, which is often made from soy or nuts. 

6. Pizza is all about the cheese. Busted – just not true.

Most people are addicted to pizza for the cheese. But what if you could eat a pizza that tastes so good that there is no need for cheese? (Pizza Marinara, anyone?) That would be great, right? Many people are learning that skipping on the cheese is a much healthier option. You can halve a considerable amount of calories on a pizza by skipping on the cheese.

7. ‘Pepperoni’ pizzas are common in Italy. Busted – not really …

Pepperoni pizza is apparently one of the firm favorite types of pizzas in America. If you head to Italy and seek out an old fashioned pizzeria, you will find your pepperoni pizza option on the menu, right? Most likely, not! You can try to order a pepperoni pizza in Italy, but you will be disappointed with what you actually get. That’s because, over there, ‘Pepperoni’ (Peperoni in Italian) means peppers. ‘Pepperoni’ sausage simply doesn’t exist in Italy. 

8. Pizza is heated perfectly in the microwave. Busted – microwaves ruin a pizza’s base.

Most people have figured out that this one just isn’t true, all on their own. Pizza will get hot in the microwave, for sure, but it won’t have the same crispy crust and base. If you don’t mind eating pizza with a soggy base and crust, this could be just fine for you. If you want your next-day pizza to taste just as good as it did last night, you need to heat it another way. What way is that? The best way to heat a pizza is in the oven for a few minutes. 

9. All pizzas are unhealthy. Busted – some pizzas are healthier than others.

It is a common misconception that pizzas are the unhealthiest meal around. Is that true? No, it is not! Many pizzas are unhealthy, but not all of them. Some pizzas can be made with reduced-fat and oil and loaded with nutritional veggies. It might not be the healthiest meal available on any given night, but they aren’t all unhealthy. 

10. Fruit has no place on a pizza. Busted – banana and pineapple have their place on pizza!

Do you think that fruit shouldn’t go on pizza? Think again! Many people have believed that fruit has no place on a pizza, but that’s just not true. Many people love a good helping of pineapple and banana on their pizza. Perhaps it’s time you tried one out for yourself. 

11. Only fresh dough bases make a good pizza. Busted – just not true.

What about the base; does it need to be prepared in a particular way in order for the pizza to be the best that it can possibly be? Not really, but it is understandable why so many people think the opposite. People today conjure up romantic images of sitting in a cozy Italian restaurant while an experienced Italian chef creates their pizza from scratch, including the dough for the base. Well … 

Nowadays, with food technology being what it is, there is every reason to believe that you can create the perfect pizza, even with a frozen base. 

Last Word

What do you think about the abovementioned myths? I have heard a lot of pizza myths in my life, but these seem to be the common myths that are repeated time and again. Perhaps you know of a few more to add to the list. If you have heard a seeming myth about pizza, it’s best to research that myth so that you can determine for yourself if it is true, or worthy of being debunked!

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.