Why the man who brought us the glycemic index wants us to go vegan

In 1981, a plain-speaking, unassuming scientist at the University of Toronto published with his colleagues a meticulous list that ranked foods according to the effect they had on blood sugar. The goal was to better understand the role of carbohydrates in managing diabetes. But the effect was more far-reaching than perhaps he ever would have imagined.

Dr. David Jenkins’s glycemic index revolutionized the diet industry. His isn’t a household name, but the diets his research inspired certainly are: Atkins, The Zone, South Beach, Sugar Busters and the G.I. Diet, to name a few. Along with laying the scientific groundwork for wildly popular lower-carb diets, Jenkins’s work on international committees has influenced dietary guidelines issued by the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and national diabetes associations around the world. His research demonstrated the statin-like cholesterol-lowering power of what he coined the “Portfolio Diet” and he helped create the President’s Choice Blue Menu line of healthier food products in the hopes of reaching even more consumers.

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