‘Healthy Pizza’ on Its Way

If you, like many people around the world, love pizza but try not to eat to much because is not healthy, there is good news today.

At the University of Maryland, a study has been conducted by the university’s food chemists on one our favourite foods, pizza. The pizza being used is made from whole-grain wheat pizza dough, a much healthier option. The main focus of the study is to try and increase the presence of antioxidants already found in the whole-grain pizza dough. The researchers attempted to achieve this by allowing the dough more time to rise and baking the pizza in a hotter temperature for longer periods of time.

Antioxidants play an important role in our health. There have been a number of findings recently released that support the need to consume antioxidants, as they help to fight against cancers and other diseases. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from free radicals which can damage our cells and trigger cancer.

When Jeffrey Moore, a researcher on the pizza project spoke to Reuters he said, ” The reason that we chose pizza is just because it is a very popular product, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.” “So we thought if we could find ways to improve (its antioxidant) properties, doing this for such a product could have a larger impact on public health.”

However, Moore did point out, that even if they produce a healthier pizza, consumers would need to be weary of cancelling out the good effects with over doing the toppings, such as, loading the pizza with extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni. Moore said, ” It you’re adding back all these other things that have potential negative health consequences, then you’re negating anything that you’re adding in terms of (health) value.”

The British Dietetic Association is also concerned that this new form of pizza will not be fully understood and people will see it as an excuse to include more unhealthy toppings and neglect trying to consume the daily-recommended portions of fruit and vegetables. Jaciqui Lowdon, of the British Dietetic Association said, “I would rather people ate their five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, than ate more pizza.” “This isn’t teaching people about healthy eating.”

The new study findings regarding a healthy pizza were presented at the recent meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago.

During the research variables such a baking time, baking temperature and rising time were adjusted in order to discover the best combination for increasing antioxidants in the dough. The best combination was discovered to be longer baking time along with a higher temperature after letting the dough ferment for a long period of time. The research found that by baking the pizza for longer the level of antioxidants rose by 60 percent and that a hotter temperature resulted in an 82 percent rise in antioxidant levels.

The same results would not be possible if standard refined flour is used. This is because the majority of antioxidants are found in whole wheat’s bran and endosperm components. These components are removed from the wheat when it is refined.

According the Reuters the study was not funded by the pizza industry but was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sources
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSN2638074920070327?pageNumber=3
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6495591.stm
http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/health/healthy+pizza+recipe+discovered/333807