Grab a slice of the action on National Pizza Day

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Deep pan or thin crust? Loaded with meats or a minimal margherita? To pineapple or not to pineapple?We’re a nation obsessed with pizza, consuming an average of 5,847 slices over our lifetimes. It’s a staple choice, from weekend takeaways to children’s parties and it’s often considered a crowd pleaser, thanks to the almost unlimited combinations of flavours and toppings.

But while we love to savour a slice (or three), for some of us pizza presents a problem. If you have a food intolerance, something on your favourite dish could be triggering a whole host of symptoms.

Let’s take a look at the sneaky sources of food sensitivity hiding in our much-loved takeaway treat.

Firstly, what is pizza?

Pizza as we know it today is a dish made typically of flattened bread dough, spread with a savoury sauce, usually including tomatoes and cheese. Other toppings, such as meats, seafood or vegetables are then added and the whole dish is baked.

The thickness of the base alters the type of pizza, from thin and crispy to a softer, doughier and more chewy deep-pan style.

Flavour combinations can vary by theme, such as a seafood pizza topped with prawns and tuna to a vegetable supreme, loaded with peppers, broccoli, sweetcorn, mushroom and more. The endless customisation makes pizza a popular choice as you can easily swap out toppings to get your perfect flavour.

But for those of us with food sensitivities, there can be a whole variety of ingredients to be wary of, including:


Cheese is generally considered a cornerstone of a good pizza. From gooey mozzarella to oozing melted cheddar, you’ll usually find cheese included as standard. This can present a problem for those with a dairy intolerance.


Whether the pizza is deep and doughy or thin and crispy, the base is likely to include gluten. This makes pizza a tricky food for people with Coeliac disease or gluten intolerance.


For those of us who struggle with reactions to baker’s yeast, pizza dough can be tricky. It can also be an issue where certain ingredients such as mushrooms are included in the toppings.


For many of us, a pizza just isn’t complete without meat. From crispy bacon to pepperoni, pork, beef, and chicken are popular protein-based toppings. But if you struggle with a sensitivity to meat, it’s best to steer clear.


While egg isn’t one of the more common pizza toppings, it can show up in other ways, from sauces like mayonnaise to the dough itself in cheaper, pre-packaged processed pizzas.


A tomato-based sauce is usually the first thing to go on top of the dough base. But for some of us who struggle with a sensitivity to tomato, this can rule pizza out of our takeaway options. While tomato intolerance isn’t as common as other sensitivities, it certainly can present a problem for some.

Can you avoid intolerances and still eat pizza?

It can be incredibly frustrating when you have a food intolerance, as it can feel like so many of your favourite foods are off limits.

Thankfully, because of the rise of Free From alternatives, and greater general awareness of allergies and intolerances, there are many more options for people with specific dietary requirements. So, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy many of your favourite foods, just by making some simple adjustments.

Look at the labels

Processing can be one of the biggest problems when it comes to sneaky ingredients. Cheaper packaged foods often bulk out recipes with more cost-effective filler foods and this can present an issue for those of us with food intolerances. Milk powders, flours, gluten, and egg can all be used to thicken and bulk, so keep an eye on the allergen list if you’re in doubt.

Talk to your takeaway shop

Thanks to stricter guidance around food labelling and cross contamination, restaurants are becoming much more conscious when it comes to food intolerances and are offering more Free From foods and clearer signposting to allergens and alternatives. If in doubt, talk to your local restaurant and find out how they can customise your order.

Find your Free From favourites

The rise of Free From foods has been huge, with supermarkets and brands embracing the need to provide a wider selection of substitutes and alternatives. This has been further boosted by the increased uptake of plant-based diets which has placed greater emphasis on removing animal-derived ingredients. Thanks to this, there are more options on the shelves for people with food intolerances. From milk and other dairy products to egg, yeast to gluten, it’s possible to indulge in your favourite pizzas, either wholly pre-made or by buying Free From bases you can tailor to your tastes.

Go your own way

Still unsure? Why not start from scratch and make your own? The online Free From community has a wealth of recipes suited to different needs, where you’re sure to find the perfect pizza for you.

What are the symptoms of a food intolerance?

An intolerance to a trigger food involves an inflammatory response where the body mistakes the protein in that ingredient as a threat, sending out antibodies to fight it.

This can result in a host of unwanted side effects, such as IBS, bloating, headaches, joint pain, eczema, or acne. The delay that commonly occurs with a food intolerance means that you may not feel those ill effects until up to 72 hours after eating your problem food, making it difficult to diagnose the cause.

Take control of your diet

Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diet, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us commonly react to a few different ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.

Get answers faster with Smartblood

When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company. At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods. 

Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days. 

Dedicated nutritional support

Our food intolerance tests include a telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist. This additional support is there to help you understand your results and put a plan together to make safe, sustainable changes to optimise your diet.

Could you have a food intolerance?

If you think that food intolerance may be responsible for your symptoms then we believe that our easy-to-complete tests could help you. Find all your food intolerances at once with a full Smartblood test.

Around 10% of our customers exhibit no IgG reactions to the 134 foods whatsoever – we provide non-reactive customers with a 100% REFUND so they can continue their investigations through other testing.

Find out today with Smartblood.

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