There is certainly no dearth of pizza lovers in the world and over the years the Italian dish has only grown in popularity, managing to satiate palates the world over. One thing, however, that keeps most of us away from over-indulging in it is the fact that pizza doesn't exactly qualify as being healthy. But there seems to be light at the end of this tunnel – a University of Glasgow scientist and an entrepreneur claim that they have actually created a pizza that can be termed as the first nutritionally balanced one – so much so, that one can eat it thrice-a-day, everyday!!
Professor Mike Lean and Donnie Maclean, Founder and Managing Director of food company Eat Balanced, hit upon the idea of creating a 'nutritionally balanced' pizza after he saw how unhealthy pizzas in the market were. They claim that the balanced pizza takes care of 30 percent of an adult's necessary intake of vitamins and minerals, besides a third of the recommended intake of calories, proteins and carbohydrates.
A slice of health? (Image credit: Getty Images)
As part of their research, Prof Lean, Chair of Nutrition in the School of Medicine, along with Dr Emilie Combet-Aspray conducted a pizza-tasting session with children and adults at the Glasgow Science Festival. 80 percent of those who tasted the pizzas were of the opinion that the nutritionally balanced pizzas tasted at least as good, or better than usual pizzas. He added, “It looks and tastes just like a pizza! We have proved it can be done using simple ingredients and set the challenge to manufacturers. What is the justification for ignoring nutrition?”
We now come down to the next obvious question – What goes into making of these 'nutritionally balanced' pizzas? To begin with, the recipe includes regular toppings of ham, pineapple and spicy chicken but include some not-so-familiar ingredients, which they claim hold the secret to the pizza's 'nutritionally balanced' tag. The pizza base has seaweed – it has a lower level of sodium in addition to minerals such as iodine and Vitamin B12. The tomato sauce has red pepper which increases the Vitamin C levels. The pizzas also have magnesium, potassium, folate and Vitamin A.
The pizzas will only be available frozen since the makers believe this is the only way they will be able to preserve its healthy ingredients. Donnie Maclean adds, “We focused on pizza being a lunch or dinner option, so each pizza gives a complete meal with all the nutrients in it for 30 per cent of your day. Our pizzas are more expensive than most other frozen pizzas but on a par with chilled pizzas, so it shouldn’t be a hard pill to swallow, or a hard pizza to eat.”
Interestingly, the 'nutrionally balanced' pizza has begun to find takers. Reportedly, one major UK supermarket group has expressed interest in stocking these pizzas and Maclean is amidst talks to get other supermarkets and catering suppliers to stock these pizzas.
In their findings, as a result of studying ready-made meals produced by the top five supermarkets in Scotland, Lean observed that commonly consumed food items were “hopelessly unbalanced.” He added, “They contain as much salt as you should have in a whole day or more. They contain as much saturated fat as you should have in a whole day or more. The nutrients we need every day are absent from these meals. Nobody has thought about it, so I got together with Donnie to try to do this.“
After these 'healthy' pizzas, the team is looking at making 'nutritionally balanced' curry, while also introducing a healthier version of the classic snack, fish and chips.