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 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.
He 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.