Department of Nutritional Sciences - University of Toronto

Mary L'Abbé PhD
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Contact Info
T: (416) 946-7545
Medical Sciences Building, 5th Floor, Room 5368C
1 King's Circle College
Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8
Pending the availability of funding
PhD, Nutrition, McGill University, 1988

Professional Memberships:

International Committees (Present):

  • World Health Organization (WHO) Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs
  • Chair, PAHO/WHO Technical Advisory Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention through Dietary Salt/Sodium Reduction
  • International Obesity Task Force, International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)
  • World Obesity Federation, Scientific and Technical Advisory Network
  • WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG) and member of the Diet and Health sub-committee

National Committees (Present):

  • Council on Mission: Priorities, Advice, Science and Strategy (CoMPASS), Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

External Reviewer for Granting Agencies (Present):

  • College of Reviewers, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grants

Membership and Participation in Scientific Committees (Present):

  • Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS)
  • American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
  • Dietitians of Canada (DC)
  • Canadian Obesity Network (CON)
  • Partnership for Advancing Nutritional and Dietary Assessment in Canada (PANDA-C)

Serve on several University of Toronto scientific, administrative, and executive committees


Research Synopsis

My Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health research program provides an evidence base to support public health nutrition policy in areas such as health claims on foods, front-of-pack labelling, children's marketing on foods, nutritional quality of packaged and restaurant foods, menu labelling, food fortification, food-like natural health products, trans fat, sodium, and sugar. Research approaches include: (i) consumer surveys on knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to foods and nutrition; (ii) assessments of the nutritional quality of Canadian foods; (iii) the development and evaluation of mobile apps to motivate and enable consumers to improve their dietary intakes; and, (iv) the development of methods for assessing and modelling population intakes, using national food consumption surveys. My group has developed two large national food databases, which have been used to answer a number of policy related research questions, and also serve as the basis of our consumer apps.

Recent Theses/Graduate Projects Supervised

"Evaluation of nutrient profiling methods for public health nutrition and nutrition regulation"
Marie-Eve Labonte, Postdoctoral Fellow
"Regulating nutrition interpretative claims on food packaging: The potential benefits to population health by influencing changes in dietary intake towards healthy-eating habits"
Beatriz Franco Arellano, PhD student
"Evaluating the quantity and type of sugars in the diets of Canadians"
Jodi Bernstein, PhD student
"Association of major dietary patterns with obesity and chronic disease risk in the Canadian population"
Mahsa Jessri, PhD student
"Restaurants, fast food, and interventions to promote healthy eating when eating out"
Mary Scourboutakos, PhD student
"Development and validation of mobile app technology for dietary assessments"
Mavra Ahmed, PhD student
"PAUSE - Prevalence and consumer attitudes, understanding, and use of supplemented foods in Canada"
Sheida Noorhosseini, MSc student
"Investigation of the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in Canadian foods"
Min Ah Kim
3rd year research project
"Nutrient profiling of foods marketed to children"
Christine Mulligan
3rd year research project
Alyssa Schermel, MSc, Research Assistant

Publications and Awards

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

Honours and Awards

2014       World Hypertension League Notable Achievement in Dietary Salt Reduction Awardee, World Hypertension League, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

2012       Earle W. Crampton Award for Leadership in Nutrition, McGill University

2011       Certificate of Excellence Award for contributions in reducing dietary sodium in Canada and internationally, Hypertension Canada

2010       Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition, Canadian Nutrition Society