Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

SACN advises on nutrition and related health matters. It advises Public Health England and other UK government organisations.



SACN has published a Call for Evidence on lower carbohydrate diets (alongside higher fat and/or higher protein) compared to current government advice for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Further details are available in the News section.


Terms of Reference

SACN advises on:

  • nutrient content of individual foods, and on diet as a whole including the definition of a balanced diet, and the nutritional status of people
  • nutritional status of people in the UK and how it may be monitored
  • nutritional issues which affect wider public health policy issues including conditions where nutritional status is one of a number of risk factors (eg cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis and/or obesity)
  • nutrition of vulnerable groups (eg infants and the elderly) and health inequality issues
  • research requirements for the above

SACN is supported in its work by a secretariat provided by Public Health England. The secretariat has scientific expertise that enables them to provide members with comprehensive background information and briefing papers to inform the decision making processes of the Committee.

Code of Practice

The SACN Code of Practice (PDF, 510KB, 27 pages) sets out how the committee puts into practice the guidelines governing scientific advisory committees, such as the Government Office for Science Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.

SACN follow a set Framework for the Evaluation of Evidence (PDF, 580KB, 22 pages) that relates food and nutrients to health, to ensure a consistent approach is taken with all reviews.

Membership

SACN members are appointed as independent scientific experts on the basis of their specific skills and knowledge. There are also consumer and lay members.

Members are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.

The committee is chaired by Professor Ann Prentice, Director of MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory. The deputy chair is Professor Peter Aggett, Professor of Child Health and Nutrition.

The members are:

  • Professor Paul Haggarty, Deputy Director, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Professor Timothy Key, Deputy Director, Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford
  • Dr David Mela, Science Leader at Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, the Netherlands
  • Professor Ian Macdonald, Professor of Metabolic Physiology at the University of Nottingham and Director of Research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Dr Stella Walsh, Consumer member
  • Professor Hilary Powers, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Head of Human Nutrition Unit, Deputy Head of Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Angus Walls, Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Director of the Edinburgh Dental Institute
  • Professor Susan Lanham-New, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Division, University of Surrey
  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, Professor of Human Nutrition, Head of the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition and Deputy Director of the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, University of Reading
  • Professor Ian Young, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Professor Harry McArdle, Deputy Director of Science and the Director of Academic Affairs at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Ms Gill Fine, Public Health Nutritionist
  • Professor Monique Raats, Director of the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre at the University of Surrey
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor, Lay member
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, Professor of Community Child Health, University of Glasgow
  • Dr Ken Ong, MRC Group Leader & Paediatric Endocrinologist, MRC Epidemiology Unit

Register of Interests

The SACN Register of Interests (PDF, 736KB, 67 pages) contains details of all declarations of interest by members of SACN, its subgroup and working groups. This information is updated as and when declarations are made.

SACN meetings

2018 meetings scheduled for 13 March, 19 June and 8 November.

Minutes

The following documents are now available:

View the SACN main meeting minutes and papers

Minutes of meetings before 2014 can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives


Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition (SMCN)

Terms of reference

To advise, through SACN, on such aspects of child and maternal diet and nutrition, as are referred to it by the UK health departments and SACN.

Membership

SMCN is chaired by Dr Ken Ong, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Ann Prentice, SACN
  • Professor Peter Aggett, SACN
  • Dr Stella M Walsh, SACN
  • Professor Monique Raats, SACN
  • Professor Annie S Anderson, Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research
  • Professor Alan A Jackson, Institute of Human Nutrition, Southampton General Hospital
  • Professor Sian Robinson, Principal Research Fellow, MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, SACN
  • Professor Mairead Kiely, Professor of Human Nutrition, University College Cork
  • Professor Angus Walls, SACN

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 1 February, 10 May and 25 September.

The following documents are now available:

View the SMCN minutes and papers

Minutes of meetings before 2014 can be viewed on the SMCN page on the National Archives


Joint SACN - NHS England - Diabetes UK working group to review the evidence on lower carbohydrate diets (alongside higher fat and/or higher protein) compared to current government advice for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Terms of reference

  • The terms of reference will added once they have been confirmed by the joint working group.

Membership

The working group is co-chaired by Professor Ian Macdonald (SACN) and Mr Douglas Twenefour (Diabetes UK).

The members are:

  • Professor Peter Aggett (SACN)
  • Dr Pamela Dyson (Research dietitian, University of Oxford)
  • Professor Nita Forouhi (Programme Leader, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Rachel Pryke (GP, Redditch, Worcestershire)
  • Professor Roy Taylor (Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, University of Newcastle)
  • Ms Ruth Waxman (Lay member)
  • Professor Ian Young (SACN)

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 16 May, 13 September and 12 December. Meetings are held in closed session.

Meeting minutes will be published in due course.


Saturated Fats Working Group

Terms of reference

  • to review the evidence for the relationship between saturated fats and health and make recommendations
  • to review evidence on the association between saturated fatty acids and key risk factors and health outcomes at different life stages for the general UK population

Membership

The working group is chaired by Professor Paul Haggarty, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, SACN
  • Professor Timothy Key, SACN
  • Dr David Mela, SACN
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor, SACN
  • Professor Ian Young, SACN
  • Professor Mairead Kiely, SMCN
  • Professor Jules Griffin, University of Cambridge

Minutes

2017 meetings scheduled for 27 January, 10 March, 12 May, 20 July, 19 September (teleconference) and 9 November. Meetings are held in closed session.

The following documents are now available:

View the Saturated Fats Working Group minutes and papers.


Joint SACN-COT Potassium-based Sodium Replacers Working Group

Terms of reference

  • COT and SACN to work together to undertake a risk-benefit analysis of the use of potassium-based sodium replacers in foods, with particular consideration of the effects in vulnerable groups
  • based on that risk-benefit analysis, to agree integrated advice for SACN to provide to the Department of Health

Membership

The working group is chaired jointly by Professor Alan Boobis (COT) and Professor Ann Prentice (SACN).

The members are:

  • Professor Peter Aggett, SACN
  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, SACN
  • Professor Susan Lanham-New, SACN
  • Dr John Thompson, COT
  • Professor Janet Cade, COT

Minutes

View the Joint COT/SACN Potassium-based Sodium Replacers Working Group minutes and papers.


Joint SACN-COT Working Group on the timing of introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet

Terms of reference

  • In light of the work being undertaken as part of the SACN review on ‘Feeding in the First Year of Life’ and COT’s statement on timing of allergenic food introduction, to undertake a benefit:risk assessment on the timing of introduction of allergenic foods* into the infant diet.
  • Based on that benefit:risk assessment, to provide integrated advice to the UK health departments.

    * hens’ egg and peanut

Membership

The working group is chaired by Professor Mike Kelly (University of Cambridge).

The members are:

  • Dr Anthony Williams, formerly SMCN; formerly Reader in Child Nutrition and Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics, St George’s University of London
  • Dr Ken Ong, SACN
  • Professor Peter Aggett, SACN
  • Professor Alan Boobis, COT
  • Dr René Crevel, COT
  • Dr Paul Turner, External expert (Imperial College London)

Minutes

View the minutes and papers of the Joint COT/SACN Working Group on the timing of introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet..


Archived Groups

Military Energy DRVs Working Group

The Military Energy DRVs Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Statement on Military Dietary Reference Values for Energy. In addition to the statement, you can view the details of the Military Energy DRVs Working Group, which are held in the National Archives and the Military Energy DRVs Working Group minutes and papers.

Vitamin D Working Group

The Vitamin D Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Vitamin D and Health report. In addition to the report, you can view the SACN press release on the vitamin D report (PDF, 195KB, 2 pages) , the results of the public consultation and details of the Vitamin D Working Group, which are held in the National Archives.

View the Vitamin D Working Group minutes and papers from 2014 until the completion of its work.

View the Vitamin D Working Group minutes and papers before 2014 on the National Archives website.

Carbohydrates Working Group

The Carbohydrates Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Carbohydrates and Health report. In addition to the report, you can view the SACN press release (PDF, 350KB, 3 pages) , the results of the public consultation and details of the Carbohydrates Working Group, which are held in the National Archives.

View the Carbohydrates Working Group minutes and papers from 2014 until the completion of its work.

View the Carbohydrate Working Group minutes and papers before 2014 on the National Archives website.


News

SACN Annual Report 2016 published

The SACN Annual Report for the calendar year 2017 has now been published.

Call for evidence

You are invited to submit evidence for SACN’s review of the evidence on lower carbohydrate diets (alongside higher fat and/or higher protein) compared to current government advice for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Please ensure that any evidence you bring to SACN’s attention:

  • satisfies the inclusion and exclusion criteria stated in the Call for Evidence (PDF, 418KB, 4 pages)

  • has not already been identified through SACN’s own literature search (see studies listed in the annex of the ‘Call for Evidence’).

For more information please refer to the Call for Evidence (PDF, 418KB, 4 pages) .

Please email your evidence to sacndiabetes@phe.gov.uk by 5pm on 7 March 2018.

Publication of SACN and COT statements on potassium-based sodium replacers

The statements from SACN and the Committee on Toxicity (COT) on the health benefits and risks of using potassium-based sodium replacers in the UK was published on 22 November 2017.

Publication of SACN-COT statement on peanut and hen’s egg in the infant diet

The joint statement from SACN and the Committee on Toxicity (COT) on the health benefits and risks of the introduction of peanut and hen’s egg into the infant diet was published on COT’s website on 17 July 2017.


Reports

See all SACN reports

Older reports can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives

Position Statements

See all SACN position statements

Older position statements can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives

Annual Reports

See the latest SACN annual report

Older annual reports can be viewed on the SACN annual reports page on the National Archives


Contact details

SACN Secretariat
Public Health England
2nd Floor Skipton House
80 London Road
London
SE1 6LH

SACN@phe.gov.uk


Press office: 020 7654 8400
Out of hours: 020 8200 4400
phe-pressoffice@phe.gov.uk