Scientific Advisors

David J.A. Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nutrition  and Metabolism,  Department of Nutritional Sciences,  Faculty of Medicine - University of Toronto
Educated at Oxford University, David is currently a professor in both the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine, 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 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 fiber 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 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 were the only dietary approach referenced in 2004 Guidelines update of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III) and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) guidelines for 2012. He has received many National and International awards in recognition of his contribution to nutrition research. He believes that diets have to be palatable and more readily available to encourage dietary adherence, equally they have to be environmentally sustainable.

Cyril W.C. Kendall, PhD
Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine - University of Toronto

Cyril is a Research Associate in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center, St. Michael's Hospital and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. He was educated at the University of Toronto, where he obtained his Honors BS and graduate degrees, MS and PhD. During his post-doctoral studies he conducted research and received training at Purdue University and the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. His primary research interest is the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity) and the development of functional foods and nutraceuticals to control these disease states. Cyril has over 120 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals and has been invited to present at numerous international conferences. 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 were the only dietary approach referenced in the Current Guidelines of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III). He has also conducted much research on the role of healthy diets, including low glycemic index diets, in the control of type 2 diabetes. To make therapeutic diets more accessible, he has worked with the food industry to develop products for the supermarket with specific health attributes.  


Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, LD, FADA
Adjunct Associate Professor,  Nutrition Department - University of Massachusetts

In addition to teaching at the Nutrition Department of the University of Massachusetts, Reed is also a nutrition advisor for the non-profit, educational Vegetarian Resource Group as well as nutrition editor and a regular columnist for the quarterly publication, Vegetarian Journal.  She is a co-author of The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets (2nd and 3rd editions) and of the American Dietetic Association's 2009 and 2003 position papers on vegetarian diets. She has served as Chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and is currently editor of this group's newsletter, Vegetarian Nutrition Update.  Reed has also authored several books for the public including The Everything Guide to Vegetarian Pregnancy and Simply Vegan.


Kathy McManus, MS, RD, LDN
Director, Department of Nutrition; Director, Dietetic Internship - Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Kathy graduated with a BS from Simmons College and earned an MS in nutrition from Framingham State College. She serves as the Director of the Department of Nutrition as well as the Director of the Nutrition and Behavior Modification Programs for the Program for Weight Management at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She also served as Co-Investigator on an NIH-funded obesity study, POUNDS LOST (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies), and was the co-author of a recent study which suggests that weight loss is not about juggling fat, protein, and carbohydrates as some commercial diets say; it’s about eating small portion sizes and cutting calories.


Virginia Messina, MPH, RD
Adjunct Assistant Professor - Loma Linda University

Ginny is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in public health from the University of Michigan. She writes about vegetarian and vegan diets for both the public and health professionals. She blogs at and is a regular columnist for,, and

She is also the co-author of two books on vegan nutrition, Vegan for Life and Vegan for Her, and of the first vegetarian textbooks for health professionals, The Dietitians’ Guide to Vegetarian Diets. She has twice co-authored the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Position on Vegetarian Diets, and writes two columns on current vegetarian nutrition research for a newsletter published for vegetarian RDs. She speaks on vegan and vegetarian nutrition at scientific events for health professionals as well as events for the public.

Ginny taught nutrition to dietetics students at Central Michigan University, was a dietitian for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and was director of nutrition services for the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC.

She lives in Port Townsend, Washington with her husband and an ever-changing population of rescued cats. When she’s not researching and writing about vegan nutrition, she volunteers for her local animal shelter, practices piano, gardens, collects vintage kitchen linens, and is learning to knit with plant fibers.


Sharon Palmer, RD
Food and Nutrition Writer; Consulting Dietitian to the Oldways Vegetarian Network

Sharon has created a career based on combining her two great loves: food and writing. As a registered dietitian with 16 years of health care experience, she focuses on writing features covering health, wellness, nutrition, cooking, wine, restaurant reviews, and entertainment. Often, these features include original recipes with nutritional analysis for publication. Sharon is also a passionate writer about food and environmental issues having published a number of features on hunger, agriculture, local and organic foods, eco-friendly culinary practices, sustainability, food safety, humane animal practices, and food security.

Over 750 of Sharon’s features have been published in a variety of publications including Better Homes and Gardens, Prevention, Oxygen, LA Times, Cooking Smart, Delicious Living, Food Product Design, Today’s Dietitian, and CULINOLOGY. She has contributed to several books, including Food & Cultural Issues for the Culinary and Hospitality and Nutrition Professions (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. 2009). Sharon is also the editor of the award-winning health newsletter, Environmental Nutrition. Her latest book, The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012), hit bookshelves last spring.

Living in the Chaparral Hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting the local farmers’ market every week, cooking, and entertaining friends and family in her home.


Sudha Raj, PhD, RD
Director of the Graduate Program in Nutrition Science, Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition – Syracuse University
Sudha is a Senior Part-time Instructor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition in the David B Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University. She obtained her BS and MS degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Madras and Bombay University in India. Subsequently she completed her PhD in Nutrition Science from Syracuse University in 1991. She currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Nutrition.

Her current research interests are in the area of dietary acculturation, organic foods, and vegetarianism as well as integrative and functional nutrition. She has served as the Senior Editor for Vegetarian Nutrition Update as well as the Chair for the Vegetarian Nutrition DPG. Currently she is the Chair for the Evidence Based Analysis Work Group on Vegetarian Diets. The Evidence Analysis portion of the Library on Vegetarian diets was published in 2011. Sudha continues to be involved in the development of the toolkit for the Vegetarian Diets Evidence Analysis Protocol. More recently she has served as the Co-Chair for the SOP-SOPP Workgroup for Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. (The SOP-SOPPs for the Integrative and Functional Medicine practice were published in the June issue of JADA in 2011.)  She is also involved in the Certification Task Force for DIFM.

Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH
Chair and Professor, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health - Loma Linda University
From Spain, Joan is a board certified physician in internal medicine who moved to the U.S. to further train in Public Health Nutrition. He obtained the degree of Doctor of Public Health in Nutrition from Loma Linda University. He was an American Heart Association post doctoral fellow in the Preventive Medicine Department, then became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and in the Department of Nutrition. Shortly after, he rose to Associate Professor. In 1998, he was named Chair of the Department of Nutrition while continuing his teaching commitments in epidemiology.

He served as principal investigator in a nutrition research study that directly linked the consumption of walnuts to significant reductions in serum cholesterol. His findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 and received the attention of more than 400 media sources, both national and international. Bringing the research full circle Archives of Internal Medicine has recently published the findings of his pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials establishing the benefits of nut consumption on blood lipid levels and lowering the risk of heart disease. Joan continues to research the relationship of almonds, pecans, and walnuts to heart disease risk factors. He has served as a co-investigator of the Adventist Health Study, a cohort study of nearly 60,000 Seventh-day Adventists and the relationships between their diets and various diseases and is currently a co-investigator of the Adventist Health Study-2, which enrolled 96,000 Seventh-day Adventists.

He has also conducted considerable research in the area of vegetarian nutrition, is editor of the book Vegetarian Nutrition published in 2001, and was the principal architect of the Vegetarian Food Guide Pyramid released in 1997 at the 3rd International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition and redesigned in 2008. As co-chair of the 3rd International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition in 1997, chair of the 4th congress in 2002, the 5th congress in 2008, and the 6th congress in 2013 he has been influential in helping establish the scientific evidence of the health benefits of vegetarian diets.


Frank Sacks, MD
Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention - Harvard School of Public Health

Frank is Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. He is also Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a senior attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he has had a specialty clinic in hyperlipidemia with the cardiovascular division. He is involved in research and public policy in nutrition, cholesterol disorders, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
His research program is a combination of laboratory research on human lipoprotein metabolism, and clinical trials in nutrition and cardiovascular disease. The laboratory research concerns the acute and long-term effects of dietary and drug treatments on the function of lipoproteins including VLDL, LDL and HDL in humans; and biochemical epidemiology of lipoprotein particle types and CVD.  His group recently discovered that a type of HDL that contains apolipoprotein C-III predicted higher rates of heart disease, the opposite to the protective relation for the total HDL. He was Chair of the Design Committee of the DASH study where the DASH diet was designed, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the DASH-Sodium trial. These multi-center National Heart Lung and Blood Institute trials found major beneficial additive effects of low salt and a dietary pattern rich in fruits and vegetables on blood pressure.  Frank also was Co-Chair of the OmniHeart Trial, a multicenter feeding trial that found that a variation of the DASH diet that is higher in protein or unsaturated fat diets further improved blood pressure and lipid risk factors compared to the lower fat DASH-type diet. He was Principal Investigator of an NIH funded trial on dietary approaches for weight loss and maintenance, the PoundsLost trial. In this trial, 4 diets varying in protein, carbohydrate and fat content were tested in 811 overweight people for 2 years. The diets had the same beneficial effects on weight loss, and all favorably affected risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Dr. Sacks is principal investigator of a new trial that is evaluating the effect of carbohydrate, type and amount, on insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk factors. He recently published a clinical review on dietary treatment of hypertension in the  New England Journal of Medicine. This review emphasized that optimizing diet quality, including sodium reduction, can eliminate the age-related rise in blood pressure with age in just 4 weeks, as shown in new analyses in the DASH-Sodium trial.

Frank is active in national and international committees and conferences in dietary and drug treatments of dyslipidemia, and nutrition and health guidelines. He is Chair of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee which advises the AHA on nutrition policy. He was a member of the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel IV, the NIH advisory group that is developing new guidelines for treatment of dyslipidemia. He was a member of the Hypertriglyceridemia Guidelines Committee of the Endocrine Society. He is a member of the Lifestyle Working Group of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Clinical Guidelines for Reducing Cardiovascular Disease. He teaches at Harvard School of Public Health as course director for nutritional biochemistry and for scientific writing, and at Brigham & Women’s Hospital on treatment of lipid disorders. He  received the 2011 Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association and  has published 175 original research articles and 72 reviews, editorials, and letters.

Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH
Frederick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Chair, Department of Nutrition - Harvard School of Public Health
Walter is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  He was born in Hart, Michigan, and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. He has focused much of his work over the last 25 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.
Walter has published over 1,500 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has three books book for the general public, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists, Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen, and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett. He is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.  




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