Independent report

SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) position statement on current evidence on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia.


SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementia

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This position statement by SACN provides an overview of the currently available evidence on nutrition and cognitive impairment and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) in adults. It considers evidence relevant to the prevention - not the treatment - of cognitive impairment or dementia.

The position statement concludes that:

  • the evidence base in this area is very limited
  • there is no evidence that specific nutrients or food supplements affect the risk of cognitive impairment or dementia
  • there is some observational evidence that greater adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may be associated with reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia

While there is no single Mediterranean diet, such diets tend to include higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, legumes, cereals, fish and monounsaturated fatty acids; lower intakes of saturated fat, dairy products and meat; and a moderate alcohol intake. Mediterranean type diets broadly align with current UK healthy eating recommendations as depicted in the Eatwell Guide (PHE, 2016).

You can find more information about SACN online.

Published 28 February 2018