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History of Nutrition at King’s


King’s Department of Nutrition & Dietetics was established in 1945 as the first university department of nutrition in Europe. King’s has played a key part in establishing nutrition as an academic subject and encouraging public interest in the food we eat and its effect on our health.

Pioneering nutritionists associated with King’s include Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for the discovery of vitamins; John Yudkin, the first professor of nutrition in Britain, who established the first university department to teach nutrition at undergraduate level, and Robert McCance and Elsie Widdowson FRS, joint authors of The Chemical Composition of Foods, commonly referred to as ‘the nutritionist’s bible’.

Today the work undertaken in the department continues to explore the effect of food on the body in health and disease. Research falls into three main areas: public health, the molecular basis of nutrition and eating disorders.

Pioneers in nutrition and dietetics

King’s College London and its associated hospitals have links to the earliest pioneers of the discipline. These include: