Dr. Wolever obtained his medical degree from Oxford University, England in 1980. During this time he became interested in the potential role of dietary fiber to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. He took a year off from his medical studies to do an MSc on the effects of dietary fiber on blood glucose responses under the supervision of Dr. David Jenkins. As part of his MSc research, he helped design and conduct the first study showing that the ability of fiber to reduce blood glucose and insulin responses was related to its viscosity, and also the first successful study to use purified fiber supplements to treat diabetes mellitus. In addition, before completing medical school, Dr. Wolever was involved in the development of the Glycemic Index, playing a major role in the data analysis for the first paper on GI published in 1981.
Dr. Wolever obtained his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto in 1986, researching the validity of the GI concept. He obtained a Doctorate in Medicine from Oxford University in 1993. Dr. Wolever was first appointed to a faculty position in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto in 1986, and was promoted to full professor in 1998. He has been a member of the medical staff at St. Michael’s Hospital in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism since 1987. From the beginning of his research career, Dr. Wolever has had a special interest in diabetes, and has been an active volunteer for the Canadian Diabetes Association for many years. He has served as a member of the National Nutrition Committee from 1984-87 and its Chair from 1996-2000. He also sat on the Grants Committee from 1995-1999; on the Council of the Clinical & Scientific Section from 1996-98; on the Planning Committee for CDA Professional Conference in 1998; and on the committee for the Revision of clinical practice guidelines in 1997-98 and again in 2002-03. He was also a member of the Personal Awards Committee from 2000-2005. Dr. Wolever was an expert consultant and appointed Rapporteur for the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Carbohydrates held in Rome in 1997.
Industry Expertise (5)
Training and Development
Areas of Expertise (7)
Oxford University: D.M., Medicine 1993
University of Toronto: Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences 1986
Oxford University: M.A., Physiology 1980
Oxford University Clinical Medical School: B.M., B.Ch., Medicine 1980
University Laboratory of Physiology: M.Sc., Physiology 1978
Oxford University: B.A., Physiology 1976
- University of Toronto, Department of Nutritional Sciences : Professor
- St. Michael's Hospital, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism : Active Medical Staff
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto : Consulting Physician
- Glycemic Index Laboratories : President
Media Appearances (6)
3 Healthy Diet Tips To Remember
Huffington Post online
Dr Thomas Wolever MD, PhD a Nutritional Sciences professor at the University of Toronto explains, "It's important to consider dietary patterns that include foods that have lower glycemic indexes, are high in fibre and have a variety of micronutrients. We know that there is not one universal diet that is a fit for everyone, however there are common elements of these diets that help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Recent research suggests healthy diets containing low glycemic index foods were relevant to the prevention and management of diabetes and coronary heart disease and probably obesity."
Tips for making your holiday meals a healthier occasion
Global News online
“I would say that if overeating is ever allowed, that it is allowed for the major festivities that occur a few times a year – provided that food intake is controlled the rest of the time,” says Thomas Wolever, a professor in the University of Toronto’s department of nutritional sciences. Wolever says overeating by 2,500 calories – in other words, doubling an average daily intake – on three days a year can be offset by cutting back 20 calories per day for the other 362 days...
Sugar is the same, nutritionally, even by any other name
"The calories from all of these are identical within less than a per cent," adds Dr. Thomas Wolever, a physician and professor at the University of Toronto's department of nutritional sciences. "In terms of energy, they are no different whatsoever." Even high fructose corn syrup, used in soft drinks and which has also received a lot of bad press, is basically the same as sugar, Wolever said...
Oat Beta-Glucan Consumption Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Natural Products Insider online
“We now know more about the importance of the physico-chemical properties of oat beta-glucan in determining its ability to reduce cholesterol and blood glucose in humans," said Thomas Wolever, one of the study authors. “Our meta-analysis is the first to take this information into account by only including studies using high molecular weight oat beta-glucan."...
Nutrition labels to be 'easier to read,' Health Canada proposes
Dr. Thomas Wolever, who teaches in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, gives the changes an eight out of 10. "I think nutrition is extremely complicated and I think this label does a very good job to try and inform consumers," Wolever said. "I always tell my class, you need a PhD in nutrition to interpret these labels and you almost do."...
Unhand that glass of shiraz: Turns out, red wine is not beneficial to healthy women after all
"The result don't surprise me. As I understand it, the amount of resveratrol in a glass of wine is WAY below the amount required in animal studies, or cell culture work, to have any effect," says Thomas Wolever, a professor from the University of Toronto's department of nutritional sciences. Wolever says that though moderate amounts of alcohol itself may be beneficial, "I would tend not to recommend moderate alcohol consumption because one never knows who might become an alcoholic on the basis of such a recommendation."...
Is glycaemic index (GI) a valid measure of carbohydrate quality?National Centre for Biotechnology Information
This paper addresses current criticisms of GI and outlines reasons why GI is valid: (1) GI methodology is accurate and precise enough for practical use; (2) GI is a property of foods; and (3) GI is biologically meaningful and relevant to virtually everyone.
Plasma vitamin D levels and risk of metabolic syndrome in CanadiansOfficial Journal of the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation
Vitamin D plasma levels are associated with the occurrence of metabolic syndrome components and insulin resistance among Canadians and are linked to increased level of insulin resistance.
Physicochemical properties of oat beta-glucan influence its ability to reduce serum LDL cholesterol in humans: a randomized clinical trialThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Consuming 3 g oat β-glucan is considered sufficient to lower serum LDL cholesterol, but some studies have shown no effect. LDL cholesterol lowering by oat β-glucan may depend on viscosity, which is controlled by the molecular weight (MW) and amount of oat β-glucan solubilized in the intestine (C).
Effect of a low glycaemic index diet on blood glucose in women with gestational hyperglycaemiaNational Centre for Biotechnology Information
A low-GI diet was feasible and acceptable in this sample and facilitated control of postprandial glucose. A larger study is needed to determine the effect of a low-GI diet on maternal and infant outcomes.
The fermentable fibre inulin increases postprandial serum short-chain fatty acids and reduces free-fatty acids and ghrelin in healthy subjects.National Centre for Biotechnology Information
It is thought that diets high in dietary fibre are associated with reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, at least in part because the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced during the colonic fermentation of fibre beneficially influence circulating concentrations of free-fatty acids (FFAs) and gut hormones involved in the regulation of blood glucose and body mass. However, there is a paucity of data showing this sequence of events in humans. Thus, our objective was to determine the effect of the fermentable fibre inulin on postprandial glucose, insulin, SCFA, FFA, and gut hormone responses in healthy subjects.