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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
Scientists make 'healthy' pizzas
Pizza
Do you want antioxidants with your pepperoni sir?
Scientists say they have come up with a way of making pizzas more healthy.

US researchers have developed a way of baking and fermenting dough which can increase levels of antioxidants, which protect against cell and tissue damage.

The team from the University of Maryland told the American Chemical Society longer baking and higher temperatures are the key.

But a UK diet expert said a healthier pizza base might lead people to choose more unhealthy toppings.

Chemical reactions

The researchers looked at the effect of different baking conditions on the dough.

I would rather people ate their five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, than ate more pizza
Jacqui Lowdon, British Dietetic Association

They cooked two different kinds of whole grain pizza dough, made from two different varieties of wheat, at a range of temperatures from 204C to 285C, and to different baking times - from seven to 14 minutes.

The dough was also checked for its antioxidant properties.

Antioxidant levels increased by up to 60% during longer baking times and by as much as 82% during higher baking temperatures, depending on the type of wheat flour and the antioxidant test used, the researcher says.

Letting the pizza dough ferment for longer, up to 48 hours, also appeared to increase antioxidants significantly, the researchers found.

It is thought chemical reactions induced by yeasts might explain the increased levels.

The researchers suggest longer baking time, higher temperature and longer fermentation will also boost antioxidant levels in refined pizza dough, though to a lesser degree.

Jeffrey Moore, who led the study, said the findings could be particularly good for people who like deep-pan pizzas which "may have the potential to deliver higher levels of antioxidants in comparison to other pizza styles."

The research was funded by grain producing organisations, but received no money from the pizza industry.

But Jacqui 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.

"They will be getting a high fat intake, and it may make them more likely to choose extra cheese and salami.

"This isn't teaching people about healthy eating."


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23 Feb 02 |  Health

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