Why it Doesn’t Matter That Scientists Made a Nutritionally-Balanced Pizza

From ‘Traditional meat-lovers’ to ‘Chicago-style deep dish pizza,’ it’s fair to say the modern-day pizza is not exactly a wholesomeábalanced meal.

Heck, even the crust on pizzas have been taken to a whole new cardiac level, with the invention of the ‘Ultimate Stuffed Crust Pizza,’áwhich boasted pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage and cheeseáin the crust. Seriously, who sits at home and thinks,á”Cheese in the crust just isn’t gluttonous enough; let’s chuck in all sorts of pig, too!”

For the record, just one slice ofáthat particularápizzaátops you up withá510 calories and 28 grams of fat. That amount of calories is equivalent to eating seven boiled eggs or five whole potatoes. And let’s be realistic, who stops at one slice?

Not all doom and gloom for pizzas

Alas, it’s not all lost for pizzas on the health front. Maybe.

A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition concluded that healthy, nutritionally balanced pizzas canáactuallyábe manufactured and produced on a large scale.

Known as ‘health by stealth,’ the concept was derived by scientists who believe it’s possible to reformulate many take-away foods to improve public health. The trick isáto accomplish thisáwithout spoiling taste, in order for the product to remain a commercial success.

“We can’t all make entirely home-made meals,” says Mike Lean, one of the study’s several co-authors and a nutritionist from the University of Glasgow. “So it’s about time that manufacturers took steps to make their products better suited to human biology, and we have shown them how to do it.”á (Just a side note, how fitting isáhis name?)

And if you thought there was not mucháart or science involved in theáproduction of pizzas, a mathematician from the University of Sheffield has just recentlyácreated the world’s first formula for perfectly-portioned pizza. The formula calculates the best ratio to ensure maximum flavour of topping to base.áPizza has become a serious topic,áno doubt.

Experimental Margaritas

Researchers of theá’health by stealth’ástudyáinvestigated 25 different Margarita pizzas currently on the market in order to understand the nutritional content and quality. They discovered:

  • Calorie content ranged from 200 to 562 kcal. A standard meal is generally around 600kcal.
  • Six pizzas had too much total fat (greater than 35 percent total energy), whilst only twoáwere low-fat (less than 11 percent total energy). The majority of fat in these pizzas comes from the cheese, because they are meat-free.
  • Salt was far too high in almost all the pizzas; unfortunately that’s what it takes to resourcefully preserve pre-made food.
  • No pizzas met the recommendations for vitamin C, vitamin A or iron content.

Teaming up with food producer Donnie Maclean, the team set out onámodifyingáthose existing pizza recipes into somethingámore beneficial.áTheyáswapped toáwholemeal flour and added syntheticáfibre, iron, iodine, and vitamins A, C and B12. They also adjusted the proportion of the base to improve the carbs-to-fat ratio. Running consumer taste tests, they found members of the public enjoyed the end result.

The most ingenious part of all, however, is that they swapped most of the salt out for seaweed, which provides the same salty taste without the sodium.

“There really is no reason why pizzas and other ready meals should not be nutritionally-balanced. We have shown it can be done with no detriment for taste,” said Professor Lean.

Business is business

The study was great first-hand proof that nutritious pre-made (simple) pizzas are feasible. However,áthe ‘health by stealth’ premise — theáidea that these pizzas would appeal to customers with health issues — is not so clear. There are already healthy, or at least healthier, pizzas in existence. However, these premium quality pizzas come at a premium price, too, simply providing another alternative for already health-conscious consumers. Unless nutritionally balanced pizzas are marketed to not-so health-conscious consumers and offered at an affordable price for lower income consumers, healthy pizzasájust won’t catch on.

Business is business, and with an increased cost and far lower demand, healthy pizza varietiesácannot be asáprofitable for manufacturers to produce.á’Improving the health and wellbeing of customers’ is simply not a metric ináPizza Hut’s annual shareholderáreport.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V10 months ago

thanks for the article.

Donna Ferguson
Donna F3 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

all things in moderation

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck3 years ago

Thanks. Pizza can be very nice sometimes :)

Rhonda Bird
Rhonda B3 years ago

My son and I love Pizza... thanks

Christine W.
Christine W3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Franck Rio
Frank R3 years ago


Clara Hamill
Clara Hamill3 years ago

Notto your so right. There is nothing wrong with pizza every now and then.

Notto OBitter
Notto OBitter3 years ago

Gosh. Someone should outlaw pizza. It scares me. In just a few years people are really going to get hurt by these crazy pizzas. My children are not safe while people are out there spreading pizzas all over the globe. There should be backround checks on pizza. What if a crazy took a pizza and poisoned it or forced you at pepperoni point to eat a whole pie and you choked to death. Its not safe I tell you. It makes me cry at night in fear for the lives of the children.

Maria Cristina A.
Maria Cristina A3 years ago

Meanwhile, I'll go on eating pizza when it comes my way! :)