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  1. Fialkoff, Lauren BS
  2. Berdanier, Carolyn PhD
  3. Ashwell, Margaret OBE, PhD, FAfN
  4. Dwyer, Johanna DSc, RD


Elsie M. Widdowson CH, CBE, FRS, PhD (1906-2000), was one of the outstanding nutrition scientists of the 20th century. It is less well appreciated that she trained in dietetics after her earlier training in chemistry. Her original work on carbohydrates in fruits led to the most comprehensive food composition tables ever produced. She and her longtime colleague, Professor Robert McCance, also tested the food rations that might be needed in the United Kingdom during World War II to ensure that the British population maintained nutritional status. Elsie's interest in human welfare led her to study the diets of children in post-war Germany. There, she showed the importance of "tender loving care" as well as nutritional adequacy for the normal growth of children. Although McCance and Widdowson's Food Tables are known worldwide, Elsie's other major contributions to dietetics deserve greater recognition than they have received so far. This article, therefore, sets out to highlight just some of the contributions made by this remarkable woman.