Health & Fit A nutrition scientist predicts a future in which pizza is as nutritious a superfood

05:05  11 august  2017
05:05  11 august  2017 Source:   Business Insider

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Dan Schmitz © Provided by Business Insider Dan Schmitz It's the classic lunch dilemma: Should you eat a nutritious salad, filled with vegetables you're trying to convince yourself you like, or just cave and go for that delicious slice of pizza?

Someday soon, you might not have to forsake nutrition to eat the foods you enjoy most.

That's at least according to one executive at Abbott Nutrition, a company that makes products like meal replacement shakes, protein bars, and baby formula.

Dan Schmitz, the company's director of user experience and research and development, is in charge of "therapeutic nutrition": food products people consume for medical reasons. He told Business Insider that his work has led him to believe that one day, instead of urging people to eat more superfoods like kale or brussels sprouts, we could make a "super nutritious pizza."

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  How to Reheat Cold Pizza Like a Functional Adult There is a thermal sweet spot where last night's cold pizza becomes the most perfect possible breakfast. Ideally, the cold pizza been left in the box on your living room table awaiting your return from the night before. I’m pretty sure this is safe since I’m not dead yet, but I understand that many of you may not be as badass, willing to stare the threat of food poisoning straight in the face and say "Come at me, bro." You probably refrigerate your pizza like a functional adult. Yet the fairy tale of a cold pizza breakfast is a farce, as pizza that is truly cold is an abomination.

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What this super-nutritious food might look like

The idea is that in the future, food might not look or taste different, but would contain nutrients you might be lacking. You can see this already in milk that's fortified with vitamin D. The Food and Drug Administration has guidelines in place about these nutrient additions.

More and more companies are getting interested in such enhancements — meal-replacement drinks like Soylent are marketed toward the average American, and a low-calorie protein-filled ice cream has become the most popular pint ice cream in America.

Schmitz said he's also seen some promise in 3D-printed food created by a machine. That technology could allow different items to be personalized according to a person's unique nutritional needs. Are you low in iron or magnesium? A machine could print out a pancake or a piece of lasagna that contains extra, Schmitz said.

An essay about Papa John's pizza helped a high school senior get into Yale

  An essay about Papa John's pizza helped a high school senior get into Yale High school senior Carolina Williams was accepted to Yale after penning an essay about an unconventional topic — Papa John's pizza.High school senior Carolina Williams was accepted to Yale after penning an essay about an unconventional topic — Papa John's pizza.

Thanks to its high nutritional value, moringa has been touted as a superfood , and numerous articles have been written about the potential health benefits of moringa. In fact, some authors have even written entire books on the healing properties of this nutritious plant (see, for example

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For right now though, we're still a ways away from the dream of a slice of pizza that contains all the nutrients you need in a balanced meal.

How scientists cram nutrients into shakes and bars

Creating super-charged foods that people will actually want to eat is no small task. For the most part, foods that are artificially packed with nutrients come in the form of drinks or energy bars, most of which are given to medical patients or athletes who need extra nourishment.

Abbott Nutrition's existing products include Ensure, a shake designed to supply nutrients to people who are recovering from surgery or are malnourished, and Glucerna, which helps diabetics manage their blood sugar levels.

When making those supplement-heavy shakes, Schmitz has to confront a big hurdle: how do you pack in enough nutrients while still making the drink taste good?

Video: Here's how the American diet has changed in the last 52 years

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Hi there! Hardee's Nutrition .

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For example, a drink called Ensure Enlive contains HMB, a substance humans naturally produce to preserve muscles. But if an ordinary person tried to combine all the nutrients in Ensure Enlive, they'd likely wind up with something that curdles and turns into "cottage cheese," Schmitz said. After a few days in the refrigerator, the mixture would start to smell fishy, and some of the essential nutrients would begin to break down.

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  This is a great excuse to eat more cheese — it might be a superfood <p>Researchers in South Korea have found that Swiss cheese might be healthier than other cheeses. In fact, it might even be a superfood.</p>Researchers in South Korea have found that Swiss cheese might be healthier than other cheeses. In fact, it might even be a superfood.

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Schmitz' team had to find ways to stabilize the mixture and add flavors, like vanilla, to mute the metallic taste.

"It's as much an art as it is a science," he said.

Changing eating habits is hard

Ideally, people should get all their essential nutrients and energy from veggies, whole grains, and meat or other sources of protein. But that's easier said than done.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 2007 and 2010, 76% of Americans didn't eat as much fruit as was recommended, while 87% didn't eat as many vegetables as recommended. And roughly 30 million people in the US have diabetes, which in the majority of cases is linked with diet. Another 84.1 million are estimated to have pre-diabetes,a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes if it isn't treated.

The reason it's hard to get people to eat healthier has a lot to do with taste, Schmitz said.

"Flavor always wins," he said. It'd be easier to get them to eat better if they didn't have to change their existing habits.

As food scientists get closer to the dream of super-charged, nutritious pizza, hitting a balance of flavor and nutrient-density will be key.

Until that vision becomes a reality, however, the best way to get more nutrients is to eat a balanced diet high in vegetables and lean proteins.

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