Here is a scientist admired and respected by society; a specialist doctor loved by his patients, and a university professor who is cared for and appreciated by his students. Daniel Antonio de Luis Román (Paris, 54 years old), head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the Clinic from Valladolid and professor at the University. The three professionals who coexist in it (the scientist, the doctor and the professor) have a double function in common: dissemination and raising awareness about the need to maintain healthy eating habits to have a healthy life. He insists, insists and insists wherever he goes. So much so that he has already published seven books on subjects related to healthy eating. On Tuesday, June 4, on the occasion of the Valladolid Book Fair (Círculo de Recreo, 6:50 p.m.) he will present ‘Foods for healthy living’, his new work, which is prefaced by Juan Luis Arsuaga, co-director of the Yacimientos from Atapuerca. Dr. De Luis has just received the Scientific Career Award at the XXXIX Congress of the Spanish Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism for his contributions in the area of ​​clinical research in human nutrition and metabolism.

–Arsuaga says that you are “a wise man” and that therefore you deserve “social admiration.”

–He really is a wise man, a Renaissance man, he plays all the genres. Those of us who have a teaching and healthcare vocation allow us to disseminate all these activities and since you go a little outside the norm, Arsuaga may say that’s why it’s wise, but I leave it to the readers’ understanding.

–If ‘Foods for a healthy life’ exist, why doesn’t society pay attention to them?

–They are the typical chiaroscuros that we have in this society. In terms of nutrition and healthy living, we are moving away from something that we always did well in our country, which was following the principles of the Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity. Now we live much faster, we have access to many processed foods, which sometimes have poorer quality fats and more salt.

Professor Daniel de Luis, with his book at the Faculty of Medicine of Valladolid


–Everything for now also in eating and nutrition?

–We live fast, we buy fast and we eat fast. And we cannot dedicate time to food, which is essential. Throughout our lives we eat 150,000 times, drink 50,000 liters of liquid, more than 5 tons of food… Therefore, eating well is investing in health.

–That circle of speed, every time it has been broken, has been against health…

–Because the way to break it is more comfortable than following the principles of the healthy Mediterranean diet. For it to be healthy you have to dedicate time to the purchase, first of all; Secondly, spend time cooking and don’t eat processed foods. And, then, you have to have a certain knowledge, and that is what the book is based on, about food. No food is bad.

-Oh no?

–But there are foods that may have a higher salt load, or a higher saturated fat load and that, consumed regularly, can worsen our cardiovascular risk factors, for example. It is easier to transgress than to follow the norm.

«Fighting against the customs of the environment in the nutrition of each person is difficult»

Daniel de Luis

Endocrinologist and nutritionist

–Vegetables, legumes, meats and sausages, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, fruits, nuts, dairy products, drinks, chocolate, oil… It will not be due to lack of opportunities to eat healthy!

–There are 200 foods that are reviewed in the book and we can all easily get them in our local stores or in large stores. What happens is that right now these foods compete with other already processed foods, which you buy and can almost directly put on the table with a little heating or reconstitution. We have a lot to choose from, we have very good gardens in Spain, very good fish, very good meat, very good bread, but we have to dedicate time to it and be prepared.

–Prepared for what?

–This is also a task for families: what we eat at home, what our little ones see, what can be explained to them at school… All of this adds up. And better a traditional sandwich with a good sausage than, for example, any industrial pastry for our little ones. Or a piece of fruit before an industrial juice.

–Is there a way back if bad eating habits are acquired as a child?

–It is very complicated, very complicated. Many times when you ask a person what they are eating they tell you ‘normal’ and when you go to review the details of breakfast, lunch and dinner the perception of the portions is very subjective.


–Let’s see: a steak that someone considers normal may be 150 grams, which is already a good portion of meat, and therefore protein, but for another, 300 grams is normal. And, then, each one eats and selects foods as he sees in his environment.

-Social pressure?

–There are people who do not eat fruit throughout the day, or who select vegetables a lot, or whose food does not include legumes or fish and there is a lot of red meat and less free-range meat… When you go down to the detail of You see that much of each person’s nutrition is due to the customs of their environment and fighting against these is complicated.

Professor Daniel de Luis.


–What would it take to prepare for these customs, in addition to families, to be done in schools?

–Among the subjects that the children have, I would include Health Education.

–With what themes?

–It would include prevention measures, such as hand washing, but also physical activity, which is the other leg, and everything related to healthy foods. Children at those ages are sponges and transmitters of that knowledge at home. That’s why it’s interesting to give them a good foundation. Sometimes we have been invited to our little ones’ school and you give them a one-hour talk and leave them a food pyramid and generate debate, the kids ask questions, then they take that pyramid home and pull their parents by the ears.

–But not all children have a nutritionist father…

–Yes, it is something specific. But in the training itineraries of the little ones this subject could already be included and then repeated in the following cycles: Primary, Secondary, Baccalaureate…

«Spain has very good gardens, very good fish, very good meat, very good bread, but you have to dedicate time to it»

Daniel de Luis

Endocrinologist and nutritionist

–Why is wine considered a food?

–There are many studies related to wine that ensure that moderate consumption, and we are talking about one glass of wine in women and two in men, has heart-healthy properties. Wine, not only because of its alcohol content, which is not very high, but also because of the presence of polyphenols, are heart-healthy nutrients that improve the elpidic profile, which has antioxidant capacity, and it has been shown that regular consumption of wine e heart-healthy. It was demonstrated in a study of seven European countries where, for example, there is the French paradox…

–What is the French paradox?

–In France they consumed a lot of saturated fats, of poor quality, and their population did not have as much cardiovascular risk as other areas where they also consumed the same amount of excess fat.

–And the cause was the wine?

–The only scientific answer that could be given was that moderate and continuous consumption of wine throughout the day. Beer is also included in the food pyramids as a healthy food.

–We now find that the price of the shopping basket has risen a lot and that does not encourage us to buy foods that guarantee a healthy life.

–It is a problem, because all the products we discussed have increased. The most striking example is olive oil. All international guides recommend olive oil as the highest quality and most heart-healthy and, right now, due to the high price it is prohibitive for many families. It’s a problem. VAT has also been reduced on some basic foodstuffs… Anything that involves investing in healthy foods by the authorities is investing in health: prevention is better than cure. We will have to tighten our belts but try to access fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and olive oil, which are what has increased the most in the shopping basket.

«Going on a diet has to be a change in habit»

Daniel de Luis

Endocrinologist and nutritionist

–We are in the era of ‘Operation Bikini’, you have to show your body and there are many people who resort to miracle diets.

–Now that ‘Operation Bikini’ has arrived, we are given a peak in attendance at our consultations before summer. The main message I can give is that when a person decides to follow a diet they should consult with a health specialist. Talk to your family doctor, because most miracle diets are unbalanced diets. The issue of diet has to be a change in habit. A two or three month diet is not worth it, I lose weight and after the summer I gain it back; That is a phenomenon that in scientific literature is called the yo-yo phenomenon…

-Consisting of…

–Gain and lose weight throughout your life and it is a phenomenon that is related to more risk. If I decide to take the step to lose weight and improve my healthy habits, I have to do it seriously and in the long term. It’s not enough for the two months of ‘Operation Bikini’.

–A tip for getting to the pool or beach in a visible state?

–Healthy diet, daily exercise and going to a health professional and not getting into the maelstrom of a miracle diet.

–And those who have lost a lot of weight and you ask them how they did it and they say that they have only ‘taken off the bread’?

–Man, if they ate five bars a day, yes; but if not, no. You must have a balanced diet. Usually, the normal thing for overweight people is that they not only have a high consumption of bread but also have other problems, main courses, etc.

–The truth is that when it comes to losing weight, topicals win, right?

–No, no, all foods have their calories; Bread includes carbohydrates and one gram is 4 calories. In olive oil, one milliliter is 9 calories. I’m not going to tell anyone not to drink olive oil because one milliliter has 9 calories: it is a healthy oil.


–You have to take it carefully. For example, one of the recommendations when a person wants to lose weight and we tell them to use olive oil is that when they are going to season their salad, use a soup or dessert spoon, pour the oil into the spoon and then pour it into the salad. or in the legume so that you have at least an idea of ​​what you are consuming because if we pour the oil directly from the bottle, there are many milliliters and many calories.

Dr. Daniel de Luis.


–What did Endocrinology and Nutrition give you that Surgery or Optics would not have given you?

–I liked them because they are very much based on metabolism, on the physiological bases of our body. You always have a potential explanation for that symptom, that sign and that treatment that you can give to patients. I liked it at the time and I don’t regret the decision.

–Disclose and make people aware of where it came from?

–I have always admired people who disseminate science. One of them is the one who prefaces the book, Arsuaga, who has an effective dissemination activity, carries out a very good scientific activity for the public at the Museum of Human Evolution. And we are privileged people who have been able to study in public institutions and also work in them. We owe it to society and I believe this dissemination is a way of giving back what I have received from public institutions.

–In the meantime, answering questions, researching and writing, have you stopped to think about what you want to be when you grow up?

–I am what I like to be so I don’t have time to think about being a little older either.