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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.

For more about the history of nutrition at King’s, please see Contributions to Biomedicine.

Pioneers in nutrition and dietetics

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

Our alumni include the following notable nutritionists and dietitians:

Academic and research

  • Professor Susan Fairweather-Tait, Institute of Food Research, Norwich
  • Professor Anne de Looy, Professor of Nutrition, Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh
  • Professor Christine Williams, Professor of Nutrition, University Reading
  • Professor Sheila Bingham OBE (1947 – 2009), was Honorary Director of the MRC Centre for Nutrition and Cancer Prevention and Survival, and Honorary Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge

Industry and commerce

  • Professor Nino Binns, Corporate Nutritionist, Coca Cola
  • Dr David Richardson, Chief Scientist, Nestle
  • Dr Nigel Dickie, Director Counsellor Public Relations
  • John Wells, Head of Nutrition, Cow & Gate


  • Amanda Ursell, journalist and television presenter
  • Fiona Hunter, Nutritionist, Good Housekeeping Institute
  • Mark Pownall, Science Journalist


  • Mark Bowden, Save the Children Fund
  • Julian Lambert, Overseas Development Administration
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