(8 August 1910 – 12 July 1995) was a British physiologist and scientist. He was raised in London in a Jewish family that had fled the Russian pogroms of 1905. His father died when John was seven years old. His mother had to bring up five sons in very difficult circumstances. In 1933 he married Milly Himmelweit, who had fled from Germany. They had three sons and their marriage lasted 60 years.

John Yudkin

John Yudkin (left), New York City official warning against sugar (centre), Robert Lustig (right). Are dangers of sugars (or fructose) underestimated?


He wrote his PhD under the guidance of Marjorie Stephenson, a bacteriologist. He was very interested in science of nutrition. But to work in this field of research, he had to become a medical doctor (physician). In 1938 he undertook research into vitamin A and riboflavin at the Dunn Nutrition Laboratory. He examined the link between sugar and various degenerative illnesses. During World War II he served as a military physician in West Africa and was busy with further studies.

In 1945 he was appointed Professor of Physiology at the University of London. With his help the Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in nutrition were established at the College and the University. He advised the government of the young state of Israel on nutrition matters and was an energetic governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Since 1957 he showed that the consumption of sugar and refined sweeteners is closely associated with coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Studies he conducted on sugars and starches indicated that they raised blood triglycerides and insulin levels.[1] He became internationally famous with his book Pure, White and Deadly (published in 1972), which was also published in German, and in a Swedish translation Rent, vitt, livsfarligt.

He is lauded by Dr. Robert H. Lustig in his UCTV lecture, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, which may be viewed on YouTube.

John Yudkin was Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics in the University of London from 1954 to 1971 and later became Emeritus Professor. Born in 1910 he proceeded from Christ’s College, Cambridge, to the London Hospital and later did research work in the Biochemical Laboratory and the Nutritional Laboratory at Cambridge, where he was also Director of Medical Studies at Christ’s College. His degrees include M.A., M.D. (Cantab), B.Sc. (Lond.), M.R.C.P., and F.R.I.C. From 1945 to 1954 he was Professor of Physiology at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London. He has published many articles on biochemistry and nutrition.

John Yudkin was an early advocate of low carbohydrate diets later to be popularised by Robert Atkins in the USA.