Anna Ferro Luzzi is an Italian research scientist defined by Professor Alessandro Menotti as the first to have introduced the expression “Mediterranean Diet” in the written scientific lexicon. In 1985 she published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the results of her experimental scientific research carried out in Cilento, The Pollica Study, which is considered fundamental for the definition of this diet and its benefits. The Cilento area was recommended to her by Ancel Keys, and they later became friends.

The interview travels between memories of life and reflections on the present. During Second World War she escaped from racial laws, with her Russian Jewish mother and Italian father, to Eritrea, where she spent her childhood. She returned to Rome in the 1950s, to then devote herself to nutrition studies.

Her rich life story accompanies us among the memories of her research in South Africa, up to her habits of today’s life in Umbria; from the dinners and friendship with Ancel and Margaret Keys, to lunch in the temple of Paestum for an episode of BBC Food Connection series in1985. Anna Ferro Luzzi tells us the details of her studies comparing them with today’s new research and, above all, with Elisabetta Moro, she turns her gaze to the present moment, reflecting on the meaning of the expression Mediterranean Diet and on the future of research on nutrition. Precisely because she is among the discoverers of the Mediterranean Diet, Anna Ferro Luzzi embraces with her reflections the path that goes from the discovery to the UNESCO recognition of this lifestyle, offering us a broader and more complete vision of a discovery that does not only concern a diet, but is a way of thinking about food.

Interview by: Elisabetta Moro
Video by: Elisabetta Moro. Editing by: Annalisa Rascato
Subtitle by: Virginia Manno, Francesca Magnani and Mariangela Bianco
Document by: Elisabetta Moro, Virginia Manno and Francesca Magnani
Translate by: Francesca Magnani
MedEatResarch – Center of Social Research on the Mediterranean Diet of the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa, head by Marino Niola and Elisabetta Moro
Created: 04-10-1017
Anna Ferro Luzzi

Anna Ferro Luzzi

Year: 1934
City: Roma
Profession: Scientist, researcher and nutritionist
Language: Italian

Video table of contents

- 00:57 Pollica study and its results
- 09:11 Mediterranean diet in scientific lexicon
- 14:54 Encounter with Ancel Keys
- 17:13 How to define the Mediterranean Diet
- 20:21 Growing up in Eritrea
- 22:16 Lunch in Paestum with BBC
- 24:00 The relation with animals and typical dishes of Eritrea
- 31:05 Projects on nutrition yesterday and today
- 33:16 Mediterranean diet and sustainability
- 36:28 A father who was a researcher and Nutrition science
- 44:45 Research in South Africa
- 50:44 To follow the Mediterranean diet today and wine
- 53:36 The relation with food today, conviviality and memories of life
- 01:00:31 The word diet and the dinners with Keys
- 01:04:30 Mediterranean diet as a heraitage of humanity

Geographic information

Country: IT
Region: Umbria
City: Tavernelle
Altitude: 236 m. s.l.m.

Links and attachements

Ferro Luzzi A., Mancini M. et al. (1985) Changing the Mediterranean Diet: Effects on blood lipids. The American Journal of clinical nutrition, 40, 1027-1037

Moro Elisabetta (2014) La dieta mediterranea. Mito e storia di uno stile di vita – Food Connection BBC (p. 100-101)