Professor  |  Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism

David Jenkins

Department of Nutritional Sciences

MD, PhD, DSc

Location
Medical Sciences Building
Address
1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1A8
Research Interests
carbohydrate/fibre metabolism, clinical trials, diet and cancer, diet and disease, diet and environmental concerns, dietary Portfolio for cholesterol lowering, functional foods and nutraceuticals, plant-based diets, postprandial hypertension, plant proteins and health, nutrition in diseased populations
Appointment Status
Primary
Accepting
Pending the availability of funding

Qualification

  • FRCPC, Medical Scientist, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (1986)
  • DSc, Merton College, Oxford University (1988)
  • DM, Board of the Faculty of Clinical Medicine, Oxford University (1976)
  • DPhil (equiv. PhD), Board of the Faculty of Medicine, Oxford University (1975)
  • BM, BCh (equiv. MD), Oxford University (1975)
  • MA, Oxford University (1970)
  • BA, Animal Physiology, Oxford University (1965)

Google Scholar

Other Academic and Clinical Appointments

Director, Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital (1988 - present)

Professor, Department of Medicine, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (1984 - present)

Active Staff Physician, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital (1983 - present)

Associate Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Toronto General Hospital (1981 - present)


At a Glance

  • Dr. Jenkins’ research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 300 original publications on these and related topics.
  • Dr. Jenkins’ team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering.
  • Dr. Jenkins’ studies on combining cholesterol lowering food components (dietary portfolio) have been recognized as creating an effective dietary alternative to drug therapy (statins) for many people and was the only dietary approach referenced in the update of the guidelines of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III).

About Dr. David Jenkins

Dr. Jenkins is currently a professor in both the Departments of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, a staff physician in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Director of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center, St. Michael’s Hospital. He was educated at Oxford University, where he obtained his DM, DPhil and DSc. After further research at the British Medical Research Council’s Clinical Gastroenterology Unit, he returned to Oxford to a joint appointment in the Department of the Regius Professor of Medicine (Richard Doll) at the Radcliffe Infirmary and as a faculty member of the University Laboratory of Physiology. He is a fellow of the Royal Society Canada, the Royal College of Physicians (London) and of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.

Dr. Jenkins has served on committees in Canada and the United States that have formulated nutritional guidelines for the treatment of diabetes and recommendations for fibre and macronutrient intake for the general population under the new joint United States-Canada DRI system (RDAs) of the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC). His research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 300 original publications on these and related topics. His team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering. His studies on combining cholesterol lowering food components (dietary portfolio) have been recognized as creating an effective dietary alternative to drug therapy (statins) for many people and was the only dietary approach referenced in the last Guidelines of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III) and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines. To make therapeutic diets more accessible, he has devoted much time to working with the food industry to develop products for the supermarket with specific health attributes and, for example, helped to initiate Loblaw’s ‘too good to be true’ and ‘Blue Menu’ line of products.

Dr. Jenkins was awarded the W.O. Atwater Award of the USDA and the American Society of Nutrition for his studies on functional foods for the treatment of disease (2013) and the Order of Canada (OC) in 2013. He believes in the value of plant-based diets, and that a major effort is required to mount large studies to determine the extent of their health benefits. He also believes that diets have to be environmentally sustainable.


Research Synopsis

The ultimate goal of Dr. Jenkins’ research program is to elucidate the potential of diet to prevent and treat chronic diseases, primarily heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. His research is clinically based. Dietary trials allow Dr. Jenkins’ team to also assess mechanisms in vivo by which diet and/or its components alter risk for disease. Dr. Jenkins have spent considerable time assessing the glycemic index of foods, and have identified legumes and traditional methods of processing as producing a low-glycemic index (e.g., white pasta - low vs. white bread - high). He has and continues to carry out research on vegetable proteins and their potential health benefits (e.g., soy, gluten, and other cereal and vegan proteins). Most recently, Dr. Jenkins’ group has started to combine foods with cholesterol lowering actions (soy, viscous fibers, oats, barley, plant sterols and nuts - almonds) in a single diet to lower serum cholesterol, what we have termed as “dietary portfolio.”

Dr. Jenkins and his team have demonstrated that early statin-like effects can be achieved by the dietary portfolio under highly controlled conditions. In the real world, this dietary approach has a somewhat dampened level of efficacy, but remains a highly effective dietary approach to cholesterol reduction. Dr. Jenkins’ group continues to carry out studies on low-glycemic index diets, and the quest to find new low-glycemic index foods continues. They work in collaboration with the food industry on a diverse spectrum of food products and food components ranging from macronutrients to phytochemicals.

With the support of the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD) of the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Dr. Jenkins is establishing a Nutrition Trialists Network (NTN) to carry out major diet trials nationally and internationally and to link with exercise experts and trialists to form a comprehensive lifestyle program for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Dr. Jenkins’ teams’ network for Chronic Disease and Clinical Trials in adults compliments the Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences.


Recent Awards and Distinctions (Selected)

University of Toronto, President Impact Award (2024)

Government of Ontario, The Order of Ontario (2022)

E. V. McCollum Award, American Society for Nutrition (2022)

Fellow, Canadian Nutrition Society (2020)

Honorary Patron, Dietitians of Canada (2019)

Graduate Teaching Award for Sustained Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentorship, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (2018)

Medal of Honour, Health Research Foundation (2018)

Rundle-Lister Lectureship in Transformative Nutritional Medical Education, University of Toronto (2018)

Faculty of Medicine Teaching Excellence Award (MD Program), University of Toronto (2018)

Robert H. Herman Memorial Award, American Society for Nutrition (2017)


National and International Committee Memberships (Current)

Co-Chair, International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium 


Recent Publications

  1. Jayalath VH, Lajkosz K, Fleshner NE, Hamilton RJ, Jenkins DJA. The effect of lowering cholesterol through diet on serum prostate-specific antigen levels: A secondary analysis of clinical trials. Can Urol Assoc J. 2022 Aug;16(8):279-282. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.7975. PMID: 35905298; PMCID: PMC9343158.
  2. 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.
  3. Kaspy MS, Semnani-Azad Z, Malik VS, Jenkins DJA, Hanley AJ. Metabolomic profile of combined healthy lifestyle behaviours in humans: A systematic review. Proteomics. 2022 Jul 11:e2100388. doi: 10.1002/pmic.202100388. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35816426.
  4. Talukdar JR, Cooper MA, Lyutvyn L, Zeraatkar D, Ali R, Bierbrier R, Janes S, Ha V, Darling PB, Sievenpiper JL, Jenkins DJA, Banfield L, Mbuagbaw L, de Souza RJ. Effects of inulin-type fructans supplementation on cardiovascular disease risk factors: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2022 Jul 6;12(7):e058875. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-058875. PMID: 35793918; PMCID: PMC9260802.
  5. Jenkins DJA, Sahye-Pudaruth S, Khodabandehlou K, Liang F, Kasmani M, Wanyan J, Wang M, Selvaganesh K, Paquette M, Patel D, Glenn AJ, Srichaikul K, Kendall CWC, Sievenpiper JL. Systematic review and meta-analysis examining the relationship between postprandial hypotension, cardiovascular events, and all-cause mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jun 8:nqac158. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac158. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35675216.
  6. Di Maso M, Augustin LSA, Jenkins DJA, Carioli G, Turati F, Grisoni B, Crispo A, La Vecchia C, Serraino D, Polesel J. Adherence to a cholesterol-lowering diet and the risk of prostate cancer. Food Funct. 2022 May 23;13(10):5730-5738. doi: 10.1039/d1fo03795a. PMID: 35522943.
  7. Elliott LJ, Keown-Stoneman CDG, Birken CS, Jenkins DJA, Borkhoff CM, Maguire JL. Vegetarian Diet, Growth, and Nutrition in Early Childhood: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Pediatrics. 2022 May 2:e2021052598. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-052598. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35499383.
  8. Kavanagh ME, Chiavaroli L, Glenn AJ, Heijmans G, Grant SM, Chow CM, Josse RG, Malik VS, Watson W, Lofters A, Holmes C, Rackal J, Srichaikul K, Sherifali D, Snelgrove-Clarke E, Udell JA, Juni P, Booth GL, Farkouh ME, Leiter LA, Kendall CWC, Jenkins DJA, Sievenpiper JL. A Web-Based Health Application to Translate Nutrition Therapy for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Primary Care (PortfolioDiet.app): Quality Improvement and Usability Testing Study. JMIR Hum Factors. 2022 Apr 21;9(2):e34704. doi: 10.2196/34704. PMID: 35451981; PMCID: PMC9073604.
  9. Srichaikul K, Jenkins DJA. The Glycemic Index, Rate of Digestion of Carbohydrate Foods, and Their Potential Link with Cardiovascular Disease. J Nutr. 2022 Feb 16:nxab427. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab427. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35174392.
  10. Srichaikul K, Hegele RA, Jenkins DJA. Great Chinese Famine and the Effects on Cardiometabolic Health for Future Generations. Hypertension. 2022 Mar;79(3):532-535. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.121.18546. Epub 2022 Feb 9. PMID: 35138871.

In the News

Diets: how scientists discovered that one size doesn’t fit all. The Conversation. January 7, 2022.

University of Toronto study showed those on low-glycemic diet lost weight without trying. Toronto Star. January 3, 2022.

Fast carbs don’t necessarily make you fat, a new study suggests. Business Insider. August 14, 2021.

Low-glycemic diet reduces cardiometabolic risks for people with diabetes: U of T study. U of T News. August 12, 2021.

More evidence that a plant-based diet protects heart health. Medical News Today. August 4, 2021.

Global study finds diet high in poor-quality carbohydrates increases heart disease and death. U of T News. March 1, 2021.


Current Lab Members

Teenie Siu - MSc student


Teaching Appointments

Course Instructor, NFS 1220H – Clinical Nutrition, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Transition to Residency, MD Program, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Post-Graduate Medical Education, MD Program, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto