An Ounce of Tomato Paste a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

| Mon Nov. 21, 2011 10:45 AM EST

Sarah Kliff, obviously auditioning for killjoy of the day, says that Congress has not, in fact, declared pizza a vegetable. What they did was allow tomato paste to retain its privileged place in school lunches: for nutritional purposes, an eighth of a cup of tomato paste counts the same as half a cup of fruits and vegetables. The reason for this is obvious: it makes it easier for pizza to find a spot on school lunch menus. But suspect motivations aside, Sarah say the decision wasn't really all that outrageous on the merits:

If you stack one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste up against a half-cup of some pretty common fruits and vegetables, the paste actually doesn’t do so badly....All told, the nutrition facts look really similar. Tomato paste does do a lot worse on sodium, but it also does much better in terms of calcium and potassium content. It also slightly edges out apples on dietary fiber, with a lower amount of sugar.

Is Sarah merely a mouthpiece for Big Paste? A full-scale investigation is probably needed on that score. But her evidence is below. Read it and weep, pizza haters.