TORONTO – Meet Dan Janssen: he’s a 38-year-old woodworker in the United States. For breakfast, he eats pizza. For lunch, he’ll help himself to some more of the cheese and crust, and for dinner? More pizza. He’s subsisted on this diet for the past 25 years, he says.
And, for the most part, it’s only cheese pizza. Maybe some oregano for spice.
“I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day. I usually eat an entire 14’’ pizza…I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal,” he told reporters.
But what is this doing to his health? In an interview with a Vice reporter, Janssen chronicled a life of diabetes and frequent dips in blood sugar levels. (Remember, he’s only 38.)
“When his blood sugar dips into the danger zone, it sometimes results in his blacking out on the kitchen floor in his underwear with frozen food scattered around him,” the Vice article reported.
Kate Comeau, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians of Canada, says that Canadians shouldn’t be eating restaurant fare or processed foods this often. For starters, doing so is linked to higher weight, more calories consumed and increased sodium intake.
Meals should be composed with about three or four food groups. Half our plates should be covered with vegetables, a quarter with grains or a starch and a quarter with protein.
“In cheese pizza, we can see there’s some of the food groups represented theoretically,” Comeau said.
The pizza crust is made with grains, tomato sauce is technically made from tomatoes and cheese covers dairy.
“But if we really break that down and think about the quality of ingredients and the amount of nutrients that they’re providing, it wouldn’t hold up to a home cooked meal,” she told Global News.
We should also aim for fresh fare, and cut back on added sugar and sodium. Pizza doesn’t fit into those categories, Comeau warned.
For now, Janssen eats a bowl of Raisin Bran about once a week if he wants “to be healthy,” according to the Baltimore Sun. Other than that, it’s just coffee and pizza.
“Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza? Nothing to me tastes as good as pizza,” he said.
He told the newspaper that he was diagnosed with diabetes – it runs in the family – when he started his pizza diet.
But he stays active: he said he rides his bike about 40 miles at a time.
“Whenever I go to a new doctor, my bloodwork comes back great and they say, ‘You’re doing great,’” he said.