Professor  |  Associate Chair, Undergraduate Education

Ahmed El-Sohemy

Department of Nutritional Sciences


C. David Naylor Building
Mailing Address: Medical Sciences Building, Room 5253, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1A8
Research Interests
nutriegenomics, nutrigenetics, personalized nutrition, nutrition and athletic performance
Appointment Status
Pending the availability of funding


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health (1999-2000)
  • Summer Program, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health (1999)
  • PhD, Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto (1999)
  • BSc (Hons.), Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto (1994)

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At a Glance

  • Dr. El-Sohemy's 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

About Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy

Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy is a Full Professor at the University of Toronto and held a Canada Research Chair in Nutrigenomics. He earned his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard. The goal of his research is to understand how genetic differences modify response to diet for optimal health and performance. Dr. El-Sohemy has published over 175 peer-reviewed articles, given over 200 invited talks and received a number of awards for excellence in research by the Canadian Nutrition Society and the American College of Nutrition. He is the founder of Nutrigenomix Inc.

Research Synopsis

The overall goal of Dr. El-Sohemy's 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. His research program employs metabolomics, proteomics, and genomics to study the effects of diet on human health. This approach will help Dr. El-Sohemy and his team to understand how genetic and dietary factors interact to regulate various metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in the development of chronic diseases. His lab has 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. 

Recent Awards and Distinctions (Selected)

NutraIngredients Award, Personalised Nutrition Initiative (2020)

NutraIngredients Award, Personalised Nutrition Initiative (2019)

Stanley Wallach Award, American College of Nutrition (2018)

Mark Bieber Professional Award, American College of Nutrition (2016)

National and International Committee Memberships (Current)

Science Advisory Council, American Nutrition Association (2020-present)

Nutritional Genomics Advisory Board, American Nutrition Association (2019-present)

Scientific Advisory Board, The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (2011-present)

Scientific Advisory Board, Nutrigenomix Inc. (2011-present)

Recent Publications

  1. Lee D, Chiavaroli L, Ayoub-Charette S, Khan TA, Zurbau A, Au-Yeung F, Cheung A, Liu Q, Qi X, Ahmed A, Choo VL, Blanco Mejia S, Malik VS, El-Sohemy A, de Souza RJ, Wolever TMS, Leiter LA, Kendall CWC, Jenkins DJA, Sievenpiper JL. Important Food Sources of Fructose-Containing Sugars and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2022 Jul 12;14(14):2846. doi: 10.3390/nu14142846. PMID: 35889803; PMCID: PMC9325155.
  2. LeMoire A, Abdelmagid S, Ma DWL, El-Sohemy A, Mutch DM. Δ5 and Δ6 desaturase indices are not associated with zinc intake as determined by dietary assessment or modified by a zinc-FADS1 rs174547 SNP interaction in young Canadian adults. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2022 May;180:102439. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2022.102439. Epub 2022 Apr 21. PMID: 35500529.
  3. Kerzner S, Zeitoun T, Jarosz A, Garcia-Bailo B, El-Sohemy A. Plasma Carotenoids and Premenstrual Symptoms in a Multi-Ethnic Population of Young Women. Nutrients. 2021 Oct 29;13(11):3870. doi: 10.3390/nu13113870. PMID: 34836125; PMCID: PMC8618911.
  4. Jarosz AC, Noori D, Zeitoun T, Garcia-Bailo B, El-Sohemy A. Variation in the vitamin D receptor gene, plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and risk of premenstrual symptoms. Genes Nutr. 2021 Sep 22;16(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s12263-021-00696-2. Erratum in: Genes Nutr. 2021 Oct 19;16(1):18. PMID: 34551710; PMCID: PMC8459465.
  5. Sicova M, Guest NS, Tyrrell PN, El-Sohemy A. Caffeine, genetic variation and anaerobic performance in male athletes: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021 Sep 16. doi: 10.1007/s00421-021-04799-x. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34529114.
  6. Gonzalez-Soto M, Abdelmagid SA, Ma DWL, El-Sohemy A, Mutch DM. Soy Consumption, but Not Dairy Consumption, Is Inversely Associated with Fatty Acid Desaturase Activity in Young Adults. Nutrients. 2021 Aug 17;13(8):2817. doi: 10.3390/nu13082817. PMID: 34444977; PMCID: PMC8400722.
  7. Wolever TMS, El-Sohemy A, Ezatagha A, Zurbau A, Jenkins AL. Neither low salivary amylase activity, cooling cooked white rice, nor single nucleotide polymorphisms in starch-digesting enzymes reduce glycemic index or starch digestibility: a randomized, crossover trial in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Jul 22:nqab228. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab228. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34293081.
  8. Wong O, Marshall K, Sicova M, Guest NS, García-Bailo B, El-Sohemy A. CYP1A2 Genotype Modifies the Effects of Caffeine Compared With Placebo on Muscle Strength in Competitive Male Athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2021 Jul 20:1-7. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2020-0395. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34284351.
  9. Garcia-Bailo B, El-Sohemy A. Recent advances and current controversies in genetic testing for personalized nutrition. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2021 Jul 1;24(4):289-295. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000763. PMID: 33883417.
  10. Vanderhout SM, Rastegar Panah M, Garcia-Bailo B, Grace-Farfaglia P, Samsel K, Dockray J, Jarvi K, El-Sohemy A. Nutrition, genetic variation and male fertility. Transl Androl Urol. 2021 Mar;10(3):1410-1431. doi: 10.21037/tau-20-592. PMID: 33850777; PMCID: PMC8039611.

In the News

Gene that affects iron metabolism linked to improved performance in athletes, U of T study finds. U of T News. March 24, 2021.

Do DNA-based diets work? TODAY. June 18, 2020.

Current Lab Members

Matineh Rastegar Panah – PhD student

Tara Zeitoun – PhD student