Pizza may be symptomatic of many First World problems: 50% of Europe is overweight or obese and there is concern about hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke or certain cancers linked to nutrition.

So what do European politicians do? They set out to fund pizza science so that it still tastes great but is less likely to kill you instead of, you know, eating less pizza. 

Don't get me wrong, I love capitalism. I have zero problem with Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bombs on Saturday morning cartoons or some guy from "The Sopranos" telling me women will like me more if I pour tequila from a bottle cap, and I have no problem with someone selling a healthier pizza.  It just seems like there is an easier solution.

Easier may not be scientifically cooler, especially if you have convinced politicians that sugar, salt and fat are somehow intrinsically harmful and if you just make junk food with less of those, the obesity problem will be solved. 

Biozoon Food Innovations, part of the EU-funded project PLEASURE (novel Processing approaches for the development of food products Low in fAt, Salt and sUgar Reduced - hey, acronyms aren't perfect) is tackling the pizza issue and say they want it to feel like pizza so you can still eat way too much but feel like you are a healthier kind of obese. I don't want to rain on the parade of company owner Matthias Kück, who is also coordinator of the PLEASURE project, but in every study done of weight less in history, people who consumed fewer calories than they burned lost weight. It is a diet that has a 100% success rate. I'm not telling anyone not to make a pizza with less salt but you don't need to reinvent the mozzarella cheese wheel here.

Do we even know how people perceive salt and fat? How can you modify a food to be palatable for everyone when the most basic mechanisms are not understood?

I just wanted to jot down some quick thoughts, not hammer on a well-meaning project or a company trying to help - that is why I gave Biozoon a free link above, so there are no hard feelings - but pizza and juice are not damaging the health of people in and of themselves any more than a spoon is.

So while it's cool to create an abiotechnological breakthrough for apple juice, I don't get it. Apple juice was basically invented to find something to do with all of those apples in places where they grew so many and had so much free time it seemed like a good idea to waste a good apple pulverizing the juice out of it. I get that it's a market - yayyyy, capitalism - but it is still just marketing and being sold to mothers convinced that it is somehow superior to Coca-Cola, the same way organic shoppers get convinced overpaying for organic pineapples and non-GMO salt is making them healthier.

If they want to stay a market, or increase their market share, at a time when people increasingly recognize that super-sweet juice is not healthier than soda, then Big Apple Juice should be optimizing enzymatic and fermentation processes to cut down on the sugar in apple juice, not getting all European citizens to foot the bill. It isn't like American citizens are forced to underwrite nonsense, like complementary and alternative medicine.

Oh wait...never mind, Europe. I am sure your sausage study is far cheaper than what the NIH is wasting on the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.