Professor David J.A. Jenkins

Dr. Jenkins is currently a professor in both the Departments of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, 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 College of Physicians (London) and of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.

He has served on committees in Canada and the United States that have formulated nutritional guidelines for the treatment of diabetes and most recently 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 250 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 2004 Guidelines Update to the National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III).

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 most recently their popular “Blue Menu” line of products.

He has received National and International awards in recognition of his contribution to nutrition research. He has awarded the Borden Award by the Canadian Society of Nutritional Sciences in 1983, and in 1985, The Goldsmith Award for Clinical Research of the American College of Nutrition. In 1996, he was presented with the Vahouny Medal for distinction in research in dietary fiber, at the International Conference on Dietary Fiber in Washington, DC. In 1999, he was awarded the McHenry Award by the Canadian Society of Nutritional Sciences in recognition of excellence in nutrition research and education. In 2000 he received the Dietary Fibre Research Award of the joint ICC/AOAC at the International Conference Research in Dublin. The same year he was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Nutrition in recognition of his contribution to nutrition research. In 2001, he received the Danone Nutrition Award (Canada) for contributions to nutritional research and education. In 2003, he was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (2003). He then received the Clinical Research Health Award in 2006. In 2006, he was also listed in Who’s Who in Health Care for Medical Research, presented by Sunlife/Warren Shepell. In 2007, Dr. Jenkins received the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washing, DC in recognition of his studies to promote human health that also reduce the negative impact on the environment. His growing interest in this area was a further reason why, as a physician, he was asked to serve, as a member of Agriculture Canada’s Science Advisory Board (2004-2009) to advise on the future direction of Canada’s agriculture and agricultural research.