Dr John Yudkin

John Ludkin was raised in London in a Jewish family that had fled the Russian pogroms of 1905.  He won a scholarship to Hackney Downs School, and another from there to Chelsea Polytechnic.  After gaining his BSc degree in 1929 he briefly considered a career in teaching, but then discovered that he could sit an examination for a scholarship to Cambridge.  He matriculated at Christ's College, as a scholar, and graduated in biochemistry at the age of 20 in 1931.

John worked for his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at Cambridge under the supervision of Marjory Stephenson, a pioneer of research in bacterial metabolism.  His PhD topic was on "adaptic enzymes" (subsequently termed "induced enzyme synthesis").

In 1934 while pursuing his PhD research, John took up medical studies and started to teach physiology and biochemistry to medical students, first at Christ's College and then also at other colleges in Cambridge.  He began clinical studies at The London Hospital in 1936, while continuing to teach in Cambridge one day a week and at weekends.  In 1938 he completed his medical studies, and was appointed Director of Medical Studies at Christ's College.  The same year, he started research at the Dunn Nutritional Laboratory in Cambridge, working principally on the effects of dietary vitamins.

In 1942 he wrote an atricle in 'The Times' (published anonymously, as was customary in those days) pointing out that there were a large number of organisations in the UK concerned in some way with nutrition - the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Health, the Medical Research Council, the Cabinet Advisory Board on Food policy etc - but no single body responsible for formulating a uniform plan for nutrition; what was needs was a UK Nutrition Council with oversight of food policy.  The suggestion fell on deaf ears.

In 1945, shortly after the end of the war, he was elected to the Chair of Physiology at King's College of Household and Social Science in London.  Over the next several years he persuaded the College and the University of London to establish a BSc degree in Nutrition (the first degree in Nutrition in any European university).  The first students were admitted in 1953, and in 1954 the Department of Nutrition was officially opened and John's Chair was converted into a Professorship of Nutrition.

John married Milly Himmelweit in 1933 and had three sons, Michael (born 1938), Jonathan (born 1944, died 2012) and Jeremy (born 1948). He retired from his Professorship in 1971 and left the College in 1974.

Books written by John Yudkin:

This slimming business (MacGibbon and Kee, London 1958)

The complete slimmer (MacGibbon and Kee, London 1964)

Pure, white and deadly: the problem of sugar (Davis-Poynter, London 1972)

This nutrition business (Teach Yourself books, Sevenoaks, 1976)

A-Z of slimming (Davis-Poynter, London 1977)

Eat well, slim well (Collins and Davis-Poynter, London 1982)

The Penguin Encyclopaedia of nutrition (Viking, Harmondsworth, 1985)

The sensible person's guide to weight control (Smith-Gordon, London 1990)