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Papa John topped the charts with a large Philly Cheesesteak, which had a whopping 3,744 calories when made with a stuffed pepperoni crust

Since it’s Saturday, you might be licking your lips at the thought of eating pizza tonight.

But takeout pizzas can contain up to 3,800 calories, analysis shows.

This is the equivalent of about 87 McDonald’s chicken nuggets, or seven Big Macs.

MailOnline’s audit included more than 500 dishes sold at chains such as Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut.

Our full research, which also searched the Fireaway and Pizza Pilgrims menus, is laid bare in a fascinating table.

Papa John topped the charts with a large Philly Cheesesteak, which had a whopping 3,744 calories when made with a stuffed pepperoni crust.

The chain, which has more than 450 outlets in the UK, even rounded out the entire top ten with a variety of dishes.

After Papa John’s came Domino’s, with its large Meatfielder on a double decadent base coming in 11th at 3,471 calories.

This is the same as what’s in about three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Sandwich Up Vanilla ice cream.

Domino’s double decadence base is made by sandwiching two thin ones with a garlic herb cheese in the middle.

Many of these large pizzas are made for sharing, but even if they were split between two or three, you could still be eating over 1,000 calories.

Adults are advised to consume between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day, 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.

Papa John topped the charts with a large Philly Cheesesteak, which had a whopping 3,744 calories when made with a stuffed pepperoni crust

After Papa John’s came Domino’s, with its large Meatfielder on a double decadent base coming in 11th at 3,471 calories.

This is the same as what’s in about three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Sandwich Up Vanilla ice cream.

At Pizza Hut, the most caloric pizza in the audit is the Meat Feast Hot with a stuffed crust, at 2,904 calories.

Some vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free pizzas have the lowest calories.

For example, the vegan margherita at Pizza Hut on a gluten-free basis is 876 calories. But the same size pizza on a regular base with non-vegan cheese is almost 200 calories more.

While fewer than some of the worst offenders, this vegan pizza is still the equivalent of eating two McPlant burgers at McDonalds.

Thick pizza bases and cheesy or meat-filled crusts are where the calories pile up.

A spokesperson for Domino’s Pizza Group said: ‘Our large pizzas are designed to feed up to four people and if shared that way our range is below the government’s target for the maximum number of calories for a pizza.

“We also offer pizzas like the Meatfielder in a personal size for one person, which has 837 calories if you order with a classic crust.”

Fireaway Pizza commented, “A pizza is usually shared between two people, although we pride ourselves on being one of the healthier, fresher options on the market.”

A spokesperson for Papa Johns said the Philly Cheesesteak pizza with a pepperoni-filled crust divides into 10 slices, adding that they “consider a serving as one slice,” which is 372 calories.

The pizza chain added: “We publish all of our nutritional information fully and comprehensively so that consumers can make informed choices from a wide variety of pizzas, including many vegan options and the ability to customize.”

The analysis involved large pizzas at Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut. The other two chains only had one size available.

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS

? Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

? Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains

? 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin

? Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options

? Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)

? Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities

? Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day

? Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide