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John Yudkin (8 August 1910 - 12 July 1995) was a British physiologist and scientist. He became internationally famous with his book Pure, White and Deadly (published in English in 1972, with new editions in 1986 and 2012). Foreign language editions included German, Süß, aber gefährlich (published in 1974), Finnish, and Swedish: Rent, vitt, livsfarligt.
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.
He wrote his PhD under the guidance of Marjory Stephenson, a bacteriologist. He was very interested in the 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 Nutrition and Dietetics at Queen Elizabeth College in the University of London where he remained until 1971. 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 indicated that they raised blood triglycerides and insulin levels.
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.
- John Yudkin: Medicine and medical education in the new China, 1958
- John Yudkin, G.M. Chappell: The Slimmer's Cook Book. Penguin Handbooks, 1963.
- John Yudkin: Pure, White and Deadly. Davis-Poynter Ltd, 1972.
- John Yudkin: The New Facts About the Sugar You Eat As a Cause of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Other Killers. Peter H. Wyden, Publishing 1972
- John Yudkin: Sweet and Dangerous, New York: Bantam Books, 1972
- John Yudkin: The Penguin Encyclopaedia of Nutrition. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books; New York: Viking Penguin, 1985.
- John Yudkin: This Slimming Business, 1970.