I consigli della Dott.ssa Luisa Cravana per la nutrizione dello sportivo.

Dr. Luisa Cravana's advice for sports nutrition.

You asked for it and we have satisfied you.

Here is a short interview with Dr. Cravana, nutritionist of professional and non-professional athletes.
Let's find out together what to do and what NOT to do to be fit.


Dottoressa Luisa Cravana


Let's immediately remove the curiosity from our readers, what is it like taking care of the nutrition of the Under 21 national football team?

It is certainly a great challenge and clearly a source of pride and enthusiasm for me. We are talking about young athletes so we must pay attention to their energy needs but also to their eating habits and preferences, so as to evaluate everything as a whole. 

Connecting right to the previous question, we naturally ask you, what is the difference between the diet of a professional and that of a non-professional sportsman?

There would be a long chat to have but we can say that obviously sportsmen having a very high energy expenditure require many calories and nutrients during the day which must be proportionate according to the type of training or competition and in that case it is necessary to formulate a diet which above all must aim at optimizing physical performance, recovery and somehow preventing injuries.

First of all, we need to consider whether we are talking about team or individual sports, if they are resistance/endurance sports or which involve more strength, the hours of expected training or the types of competitions and the physical and body composition characteristics that are necessary to sustain a kind of sports. Once these assessments have been made, a nutritional plan is set up to achieve personal goals which sometimes do not necessarily change between a professional and an amateur. I give an example of amateur cyclists who train even more sometimes than professional cyclists. 

So the evaluation is always subjective.


Articolo Luisa Cravana Immagine 1


What are the myths to dispel absolutely when you want to get fit?

For example, is it true that a glass of water and lemon wakes up the metabolism?

We are in Italy, we can only talk about pasta, pizza, bread but also rice. One of the most frequently asked questions is: are bread, pasta and rice fattening? false

Bread, pasta and rice mainly provide complex carbohydrates which represent the main source of energy for our body. It is preferable to consume wholemeal products as they contain a greater quantity of fiber which delays the absorption of macro-nutrients. The basic error, however, lies in thinking that if it is wholemeal I can eat more of it.

Does milk cause osteoporosis? no

So does milk cure osteoporosis? no

The main cause of osteoporosis is a sedentary lifestyle, with the resulting muscle weakness. Among other things, one of the most important causes of osteoporosis appears to be excess protein in the diet. Bone releases calcium salts in response to the endogenous production of acids resulting from protein metabolism. On the other hand, there are not even prospective studies that have documented even a minimal reduction in the risk of bone fractures with the consumption of milk and cheese. 

However, milk remains a good source of potassium and its consumption reduces blood pressure somewhat, but it is rich in saturated fats and worsens the lipid profile. 

Another topic that we Italians touch closely is the MEDITERRANEAN DIET.

The Mediterranean diet has become a universal heritage of humanity, it is undeniable that this diet is healthier than the American one. However, the trend has reversed over the last 15 years. Southern Italy has more obese and overweight people than those in the north and Greece has the fattest children in Europe. What is happening is that protein consumption has increased dramatically, at the same time you have many more comforts, compared to poorer countries where you consume less protein, work in the fields and often do not reach the daily calorie requirement. The concept returns that today comparing the diet of our grandparents with us makes little sense. 

To conclude, let us remember to always have a critical attitude towards everything we read or hear about food and do not take any information as true just because it fits our particular needs. Another very important piece of advice is: always read the label to get consistent information about what we are buying.

As for water with lemon, it is now common practice to consume it in the morning as soon as you wake up and on an empty stomach, as a panacea to start the day in the best possible way.

Will adding lemon to hot water really make it even healthier? According to the scientific literature, no! 

Or at least, there is currently no scientific data that ascertains its "miraculous" properties!

However, here are some benefits we could derive from it:

Better hydration; correct intake of vitamin C; better skin quality; correct iron intake.

In promoting weight loss, according to some studies on animal models, the polyphenols present in lemon would promote weight loss, however, no confirmation has yet arrived regarding humans!


Articolo Luisa Cravana insalata mista


More and more people are choosing to be vegetarian or vegan, have you ever followed sportsmen who have these lifestyle choices? If yes, what are the main measures you put in place?

Yes, several times. It's not a problem, simply a vegan or vegetarian diet is formulated with a possible increase for some ingredients in case of nutritional deficiencies highlighted by blood tests.

And how much time does Luisa dedicate to physical fitness in everyday life?

A lot, I try to keep myself active every day even with simple walks if I can't go to the gym or do other activities. In general, 3-4 days a week I try to have a scheduled sporting activity, always eating in a balanced way.


We thank Dr. Cravana for having dedicated the time to the SPORTLAB MILANO blog, for other suggestions we suggest you follow her instagram profile.