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Eat Balanced Pizza

Scottish team develops ‘nutritional’ pizzas

Pizza. Arguably the most desirable eat in the expansive realm of junk foods … but must pizza be a junk food? Two people, appropriately named Maclean and Lean of Glasgow, Scotland, have come up with an idea for making it healthier.

Donnie Maclean, the founder of Eat Balanced, had a common enough experience with pizza – he would eat it, feel guilty afterwards, and wish that pizza was not as unhealthy as it is. Unlike most of us, however, he didn’t let the thought go, but set out to make and market such a pizza.

He has had the collaboration of Mike Lean, a professor of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow, and they have devised a pizza, said to be as tasty and satisfying as any other, but which provides everything in terms of nutrition for a complete meal – and nothing else. A formidible challenge.

How did they approach this problem? Normal pizzas, generally, are too high in salt, fat, and calories. It is not unusual for a single personal-sized pizza to have as much salt as recommended for an entire day, two-thirds of the daily requirement of fats (and a whole day’s limit of saturated fat), and over 1,000 calories. Pizzas also tend to be low in vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

In contrast, Eat Balanced has developed a line of frozen pizzas that contain one-third of a day’s complete nutritional requirements with no excess salt, fat, or calories. Fortunately, Eat Balanced has reportedly kept the wonderful experience of eating pizza firmly in sight during the process of seeking nutritional balance. How did they accomplish this? Through choice of ingredients.

One surprising example is the reduction of salt. This was accomplished by removing half the salt, and replacing it with seaweed, which provides the salty taste required for a proper pizza experience while only containing 10 percent of the actual salt content. Seaweed also provides other important vitamins and minerals needed in the daily diet, but which are scarce in normal pizza ingredients, such as iron, iodine, and vitamin B12.

The UK dietary guidelines state that 20 percent of daily nutritional requirements should be eaten at breakfast, 30 percent each from lunch and dinner, and 20 percent from snacks. Eat Balanced took this as the goal for their balanced pizzas, each of which provides 30 percent of all your required daily nutrients without exceeding the dietary limits on any of the bad actors, such as salt and saturated fats.

Red pepper is crushed and added to the tomato paste to add more Vitamin C. The pizzas also include hearty servings of magnesium, potassium, folates, and Vitamin A.

The Eat Balanced line of frozen pizzas will soon be in UK supermarkets, featuring combos such as cheese and cherry tomato, juicy pineapple and ham, and spicy chicken with red peppers and green jalapenos.

But how does they taste? Prof Lean said during an appearance on the United Kingdom’s Radio 4 that 100 taste-testers said that they were as good as or better than normal frozen pizzas.

Click on the picture of Prof Lean to hear on interview with him on this development.