Nutritionally balanced pizza
Issued: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:10:00 BST
Professor Mike Lean, Chair of Nutrition in the School of Medicine, has joined forces with Donnie MacLean, founder and managing director of Eat Balanced food company, to create what they believe is the world's first nutritionally-balanced pizza.
The project between the Professor Lean, Dr Emilie Combet-Aspray and Mr MacLean of Eat Balanced was supported by a £5,000 'First Step Award', including £2,000 from the Scottish Government. The University of Glasgow's £2.3 million First Step Award Scheme is aimed at stimulating academic and industrial engagement.
Professor Mike Lean and Donnie Maclean, founder and managing director of food company Eat Balanced, created the pizza after analyzing existing pizzas and finding them to be nutritionally lacking.
Prof Lean, Chair of Nutrition in the School of Medicine, who worked with colleague Dr Emilie Combet-Aspray on the project, said: 'We analysed existing pizzas on the market and found them to be nutritionally junk, so we designed a range of new pizza recipes which all meet nutritional targets for a healthy meal, and also contain 30 per cent of vitamin and mineral needs.
'We did a pizza-tasting, with children and adults at the Glasgow Science Festival and 80% said that it tasted at least as good, or better than their usual pizzas. 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?'
The pizzas created by the duo have familiar toppings such as ham & pineapple and spicy chicken but have certain additions to make them healthier. For example, the pizza base is flecked with seaweed which has a much lower sodium content and minerals such as iodine and vitamin B12, while red pepper incorporated into the tomato sauce increases vitamin C levels. Each pizza: which will only be available as frozen because that was shown to be the best way to preserve its healthy ingredients; also contains quantities of magnesium, potassium, folates and vitamin A.
One of the major UK supermarket groups has already expressed interested in stocking the pizza and Mr MacLean is in talks with other supermarkets and catering suppliers.
The innovative pizza comes alongside Glasgow research findings that supermarket ready-meals are 'nutritionally chaotic'. The research team led by Professor Lean looked at four different ready-meals across four different ranges at the five major UK supermarket chains of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons and the Co-op. They determined the acceptable energy content of a 'meal' should be 500-700kcal: around 30 per cent of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for a woman as specified by the Food Standards Agency. For the meal to be nutritionally-balanced, 30 per cent of the GDA should be present for all other nutrients. The results varied widely: of the 67 'meals' tested, almost half (32) did not contain enough calories to constitute a meal, while others (10) had over 700kcal.
Find out more