Department of Nutritional Sciences - University of Toronto

Ahmed El-Sohemy PhD
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Ahmed El-Sohemy
Contact Info
T: (416) 946-5776
F: (416) 978-5882
Medical Sciences Building, 5th Floor, Room 5326A
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8
Pending the availability of funding
Research Interests
Research program in nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics aims to understand how genetic and dietary factors interact to regulate various metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in the development of cardiometabolic disease as well as athletic performance.


Research Synopsis

The overall goal of my research program in nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics is to identify biomarkers of dietary exposure and elucidate the genetic basis for variability in nutrient response and dietary preferences. Our research program employs metabolomics, proteomics, and genomics to study the effects of diet on human health. This approach will help us to understand how genetic and dietary factors interact to regulate various metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in the development of chronic diseases. We have also been studying the effects of disclosing genetic information on eating behaviours along with exploring attitudes and perceptions of genetic testing. Other research projects focus on micronutrient genomics, genetics of caffeine response, and genetic determinants of eating habits as well as athletic performance.       

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

Guest NS, Horne J, Vanderhout SM, El-Sohemy A. (2019). Sport Nutrigenomics: Personalized Nutrition for Athletic Performance. Front Nutr. 2019;6:8. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00008.

El-Sohemy A. (2019). Coffee and health: what we still don't know. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109(3):489-490.

Bauman-Fortin J, Ma DWL, Mutch DM, Abdelmagid SA, Badawi A, El-Sohemy A, Fontaine-Bisson B. 2019. The Association between Plasma Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and Anthropometric Traits Differs by Racial/Ethnic Groups and NFKB1 Genotypes in Healthy Young Adults. J Pers Med. 2019;9(1). pii: E13.

Jarosz A.C., El-Sohemy, A. (2019) Association between plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Premenstrual Symptoms. J. Acad. Nutr. Dietet. 2019;119(1):115-123.

Jenkins, N.D.M., Colquhoun, R.J., Tomko, P.M., Gradnigo, T., Magrini, M.A., Muddle, T.W.D., Fleming, S., Ferrell, M., El-Sohemy A and El-Sohemy, A. (2018) Genetic variant in the β2 -Adrenergic receptor (Arg16Gly) influences fat free mass, muscle strength, and motor unit behavior in young men. Exp Physiol. 2018;103(12):1645-1655.

Mahdavi, S., Jenkins, D.J.A., Borchers, C., El-Sohemy, A. (2018) Genetic Variation in 9p21 and the Plasma Proteome. J. Proteome Res. 17(8):2649-2656.

Mahdavi, S., Jenkins, D.J.A., El-Sohemy, A. (2018) 9p21 genotype affects serum insulin in women, but not men. PLoS One. 13(8):e0202365.

Wang J, Jamnik J, García-Bailo B, Nielsen DE, Jenkins DJA, El-Sohemy A. (2018) ABO Genotype Does Not Modify the Association between the "Blood-Type" Diet and Biomarkers of Cardiometabolic Disease in Overweight Adults. J. Nutr. 148(4):518-525.

Merritt, D.C., Jamnik J., El-Sohemy, A. (2018) FTO Genotype, Dietary Protein Intake, and Body Weight in a Multiethnic Population of Young Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study. Genes & Nutr. 13:4.

Guest N. Corey, P., Vescovi, J. El-Sohemy, A. (2018) Caffeine, CYP1A2 genotype and endurance performance in athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2018; 50(8):1570-1578.

Jarosz A, Jamnik J, El-Sohemy A. (2017) Hormonal contraceptive use and prevalence of premenstrual symptoms in a multiethnic Canadian population. BMC Women’s Health. Sep 26;17(1):87.

Grimaldi KA, van Ommen B, Ordovas JM, Parnell LD, Mathers JC, Bendik I, Brennan L, Celis-Morales C, Cirillo E, Daniel H, de Kok B, El-Sohemy A, Fairweather-Tait SJ, Fallaize R, Fenech M, Ferguson LR, Gibney ER, Gibney M, Gjelstad IMF, Kaput J, Karlsen AS, Kolossa S, Lovegrove J, Macready AL, Marsaux CFM, Alfredo Martinez J, Milagro F, Navas-Carretero S, Roche HM, Saris WHM, Traczyk I, van Kranen H, Verschuren L, Virgili F, Weber P, Bouwman J. (2017) Proposed guidelines to evaluate scientific validity and evidence for genotype-based dietary advice. Genes Nutr. Dec 15;12:35.

Jamnik J, Villa CR, Dhir SB, Jenkins DJA, El-Sohemy A. (2017) Prevalence of positive coeliac disease serology and HLA risk genotypes in a multiethnic population of adults in Canada: a cross-sectional study BMJ Open 2017;7: bmjopen-2017-017678.

Jamnik J., Jenkins, DJA, El-Sohemy, A. (2017) Biomarkers of cardiometabolic health and nutritional status in individuals with positive celiac disease serology Nutr. Health Jan 1:260106017748053.

O. and El-Sohemy, A. (2017) LCT Gene Variant -13910 C>T, Dairy Intake, and 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Plasma Levels: A Mendelian Randomization Study. J. Nutr Jun;147(6):1063-1069.

Jenkins, DJA, Boucher, BA, Ashbury, FD., Sloan, P., Brown, P., El-Sohemy, A., Hanley, A., Willet, W., Paquette, M., De Souza, R., Ireland, C., Kwan, N., Jenkins, A., Pichika, SC., and Kreiger, N. (2017) Effect of current dietary recommendations on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 69(9):1103-1112.

El-Sohemy, A. (2017) Only DNA-based dietary advice improved adherence to the Mediterranean diet score. Am. J. Clin. Nutr.[letter] 105(3):770.

Cornelis, MC, Tordoff, MG, El-Sohemy, A, and van Damn, RM. (2017) Recalled taste intensity, liking and habitual intake of commonly consumed foods. Appetite 109:182-189.

Abdelmagid, SA., Clarke, SE., Nielsen, DE., Badawi, A., El-Sohemy, A., Mutch, DM., and DWL Ma. (2017) Circulating concentrations and relative percent composition of trans fatty acids between 2004 and 2010: A cross-sectional study of young healthy Canadian adults. CMAJ Open DOI:10.9778/cmajo.20160048.

De Caterina, R., and El-Sohemy, A. (2016) Moving towards Specific Nutrigenetic Recommendation Algorithms: Caffeine, Genetic Variation and Cardiovascular Risk J. Nutrigenet. Nutrigenomics. 9(2-4):106-115.

Doepker C, Lieberman HR, Smith AP, Peck JD, El-Sohemy A, and Welsh BT (2016) Caffeine: Friend or Foe? Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 7:117-37.

Pataky, M., Womack, C., Saunders, M., Goffe, J., D'Lugos, A., El-Sohemy, A., Luden, N. (2016) Caffeine and 3km Cycling Performance; Effects of Mouth Rinsing, Genotype, and Time-of-Day. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 26(6):613-9.

Dias, A.G., Eny, K.M., Cockburn, M., Chiu, W., Nielsen, D.E., Duizer, L., and El-Sohemy, A. (2015) Variation in the TAS1R2 gene, sweet taste perception and intake of sugars. J. Nutrigenetics Nutrigenomics. 2015;8(2):81-90.

Visentin, C.E., Masih, S., Plumptre, L., Malysheva, O., Nielsen, D.E., Sohn, K-J., Ly, A., Lausman, A., Berger, H., Croxford, R., El-Sohemy, A., Caudill, M., O’Connor, D.L., and Kim, Y.I. (2015) Choline status of Canadian pregnant women, but not fetal genotype, influences plasma choline metabolite concentrations of their newborn infants. J. Nutrition 145(7):1491-7.

Abdelmagid, S.A., Clarke, S.E., Roke, K., Nielsen, D.E., Badawi, A., El-Sohemy, A., Mutch, D.M., Ma, D.W. (2015) Ethnicity, sex, FADS genetic variation, and hormonal contraceptive use influence delta-5- and delta-6-desaturase indices and plasma docosahexaenoic acid concentration in young Canadian adults: a cross-sectional study. Nutr. Metab. 12:14. doi: 10.1186/s12986-015-0010-9. eCollection 2015.

Jamnik, J., García-Bailo, B., Borchers, H.C. and El-Sohemy, A. (2015) Gluten intake is associated with plasma α2-macroglobulin in young adults without celiac disease. J. Nutrition. 145(6):1256-62.

Nielsen, D.E. and El-Sohemy, A. (2014) Disclosure of Genetic Information and Change in Dietary Intake: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One 9: e112665.

Nielsen, D.E. and El-Sohemy, A. (2014) Perceptions of genetic testing for personalized nutrition: a randomized trial of DNA-based dietary advice. J. Nutrigenetics Nutrigenomics. 7(2):94-104.

Wang, J., García-Bailo, B., Nielsen, D.E. and El-Sohemy, A. (2014) ABO Genotype, 'Blood-Type' Diet and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors. PLoS One 9: e84749.

Tian, O., Josse, A.R., Borchers, C.H. and El-Sohemy, A. (2013) Association Between Caffeine Intake and the Plasma Proteome in Humans. Journal of Caffeine Research. 3(4):175-81.

García-Bailo, B., J. Jamnik, L.A. Da Costa, A. Badawi, and El-Sohemy, A. (2013) Genetic variation in the vitamin D receptor and biomarkers of cardiometabolic disease in an ethnically diverse population of young adults. J Nutrigenetics Nutrigenomics 6:256-67.

García-Bailo, B., Jamnik, J., Da Costa, L.A., Borchers, C.H., Badawi, A., El-Sohemy, A. (2013) Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, Hormonal Contraceptive Use, and the Plasma Proteome in Caucasian, East Asian, and South Asian Young Adults. J. Proteome Res. 12:1797-1807.

Dias, A., Rousseau, D., Duizer, L., Cockburn, M., Chiu, M., Nielsen, D. and El-Sohemy, A. (2013) Genetic Variation in Putative Salt Taste Receptors and Salt Taste Perception in Humans. Chem Senses. 38:137-45.

Nielsen D.E., El-Sohemy, A. (2012) Applying genomics to nutrition and lifestyle modification. Personalized Medicine. 9(7):739-749.

Josse, A.R., Da Costa, L.A., Campos, H. and El-Sohemy, A. (2012) Associations between polymorphisms in the AHR gene and CYP1A1-CYP1A2 gene region and habitual caffeine consumption. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 96:665-71.

Mauer, L. and El-Sohemy, A. (2012) Prevalence of cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) disliking among different ethnocultural groups. Flavour 1:8.

Fischer K, Da Costa LA, García-Bailo B, Borchers CH, and El-Sohemy, A. (2012) Glutathione S-Transferase (GST) M1, but Not GSTT1, Genotype Influences Plasma Proteomic Profiles in Caucasian and East Asian Young Adults. J Proteome Res. 11:5022-33.

Nielsen, D.E. and El-Sohemy, A. (2012) A randomized trial of genetic information for personalized nutrition. Genes Nutr.7:559-66.

Cahill, L., and El-Sohemy, A. (2010) Haptoglobin genotype modifies the association between dietary vitamin C and serum ascorbic acid deficiency. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 92:1494-500.

Eny, K.M, Wolever, T.M.S., Corey, P.N. and El-Sohemy, A. (2010) Genetic variation in TAS1R2 (Ile191Val) is associated with consumption of sugars in overweight and obese individuals in two distinct populations. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 92:1501-10.

Eny, K., Cory, P. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Dopamine D2 receptor genotype (C957T) is associated with habitual sugar consumption in a free-living population. J. Nutrigenetics Nutrigenomics 2: 235-242.

Cahill, L., Fontaine-Bisson, B. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Functional genetic variant of glutathione S-transferase protects against ascorbic acid deficiency. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 90:1411-17.

Cahill, L., and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Vitamin C transporter gene polymorphisms, dietary vitamin C and serum ascorbic acid. J. Nutrigenetics Nutrigenomics. 2: 292-301.

Cahill, L., Cory, P. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Vitamin C deficiency in a population of young Canadian adults. Am. J. Epidemiol. 170: 464-71.

Fontaine-Bisson, B., Wolever, T.M.S., Connelly, P.W., Corey, P.N. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) NF-κB -94Ins/Del ATTG polymorphism modifies the association between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and HDL-cholesterol in two distinct populations. Atherosclerosis 204: 465-470.

Ozsungur, S., Brenner, D.M. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Fourteen well described caffeine withdrawal symptoms factor into three clusters. Psychopharmacology. 201: 541-48.

Garcia-Bailo, B., Toguri, C., Eny, K.M. and El-Sohemy, A. (2009) Genetic variation in taste and its influence on food selection. OMICS: Journal of Integrative Biology. 13: 69-80.

Honours and Awards

Stanley Wallach Award

The award goes to a highly esteemed investigator or practitioner of nutritional science who has made significant contributions to the advancement of human understanding of nutrition and its role in health. The Stanley Wallach Award honours one of the giants of the American College of Nutrition: Dr. Stanley Wallach. Dr. Wallach’s leadership of the College and contributions to nutritional science have been without peer, and this award was established in his name to honour him.

Mark Bieber Professional Award

The American College of Nutrition gives two awards each year, one for academic accomplishments and one for distinguished accomplishments in nutrition related industry field.

Centrum Foundation New Scientist Award

Canadian Nutrition Society

Canada Research Chair in Nutrigenomics