Chris Tomlinson, Associate Professor

University of Toronto

Dr. Tomlinson is Associate Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto and Staff Neonatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He studies the growth and nutrition of pre-term and critically ill infants, with a focus on medical management of surgical patients within the neonatal intensive care unit.

Dr. Tomlinson trained in Neonatology in Scotland and Toronto, completing his PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Protein quality and Canada’s food guide: is the plant-based food guide appropriate for all?

Canada’s 2019 food guide revision represents a major shift to include more plant-based protein in the diet. While the major focus is on health and environmental sustainability, the question remains whether a plant-based diet is adequate for all. Protein quality refers to both adequate composition of amino acids from foods and their availability in-vivo to ensure optimal protein synthesis. This session will describe the limiting amino acids from plant-based foods, including oats, rice, wheat, chickpeas and lentils, and their in vivo bioavailability in humans from a recent set of experiments. The impact of amino acid requirements in different life stages (pregnancy, elderly), loss during food processing and benefits of complementation in a plant-based diet will be discussed. The session will finally outline what is yet unknown about protein quality and propose new research focus to enhance the knowledge about adequacy of plant-based diets for all.

The session will be chaired by Dr. Chris Tomlinson, Associate Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Paediatrics, University of Toronto, who has research interests in nutrition, growth and development. The session speakers will be Dr. Rajavel Elango, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Glenda Courtney-Martin, Assistant Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Toronto. Together the team has extensive experience in protein and amino acid nutrition and bioavailability in humans across different life-stages.

Learning Objectives:

1) To understand concepts and application of protein quality in plant-based diets

2) To understand the In vivo effect of food processing and protein complementation on protein quality

3) To understand the impact of amino acid requirements in different life stages (children, pregnancy and elderly) on protein quality of plant-based diets