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The Open University

The science of nutrition and healthy eating

The Open University via OpenLearn

Overview

Are we really what we eat? How do we know what is in our food? Does it need to be difficult to follow a healthy eating pattern?This free course, The science of nutrition and healthy eating, will help you to answer these questions.TranscriptYou'll look at the science behind nutrition, covering aspects of biology, chemistry and physics as well as gaining insight into healthier eating. Reading food labels, choosing healthier foods, hydrating appropriately and understanding how we taste food will allow you to be more informed about the choices you make for the food you eat. You'll also investigate how information about healthy eating differs around the world.The biology part of the course will focus on the digestive system and how the body uses the elements in our food to function. It is important to understand the macro and micro nutrients in the foods we eat and how our bodies use them. Some people follow food restriction due to choice or religious observation. Malnutrition is not just a concern for developing countries – it can mean over nutrition as well as under nutrition. Sometimes certain components of food can be an enemy rather than beneficial, so special diets have to be followed.When you've finished the course, you may even wish to consider what you eat at the moment and what changes you will make as a result of what you have learned! This OpenLearn science course was produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch's Foundation.   This course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office. It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development and on successful completion of the course you will be awarded 24 CPD points. Evidence of your CPD achievement is provided on the free Statement of Participation awarded on completion.Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation. Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation - which also displays your Open University badge.The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Syllabus

  • Introduction and guidance
  • Introduction and guidance
  • What is a badged course?
  • How to get a badge
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week1Week 1: The basics of food
  • Introduction
  • 1 Why do we eat?
  • 1.1 What are the reasons for eating?
  • 1.2 Ghrelin
  • 1.3 The components of food
  • 2 Protein
  • 2.1 Protein sequencing
  • 2.2 Phenylketonuria
  • 2.3 Protein in foods
  • 3 Fats and oils
  • 3.1 Saturated fats
  • 3.2 Fat makes food taste good
  • 3.3 Butter and chocolate
  • 4 Carbohydrates
  • 4.1 Sugars
  • 5 Salt makes food taste good
  • 6 Vitamins and minerals
  • 7 Where can you find fibre?
  • 7.1 The benefits of fibre
  • 8 This week’s quiz
  • 9 Summary
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week2Week 2: What happens to the food we eat?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Holes, tubes and valves
  • 1.1 Opening out the human digestive system
  • 1.2 Digestive system of a pig
  • 1.3 Move along in there, please
  • 1.4 The path your food travels
  • 2 A window into the stomach
  • 2.1 The pH scale
  • 2.2 Measuring pH
  • 2.3 Why is the stomach so acidic?
  • 2.4 Stomach ulcers
  • 2.5 Enzymes
  • 2.6 Enzymes in washing powder
  • 2.7 Digestion inside and outside the body
  • 2.8 Do the liver experiment
  • 2.9 Digestive enzymes
  • 3 Peristalsis
  • 3.1 Absorption into the blood
  • 3.2 What does the liver do?
  • 3.3 Taking the nutrients around the body
  • 3.4 Taking glucose from the intestine to the brain
  • 3.5 The large intestine
  • 4 This week’s quiz
  • 5 Summary
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week3Week 3: The importance of hydration
  • Introduction
  • 1 What is hydration?
  • 2 Why you need to drink
  • 3 How much should you drink?
  • 4 What should you drink?
  • 5 Caffeine intake
  • 6 Effects of dehydration
  • 7 Physical activity and fluid intake
  • 8 Alcohol intake
  • 8.1 How much alcohol should you have?
  • What is a unit of alcohol?
  • 9 This week’s quiz
  • 10 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week4Week 4: What do food labels tell us?
  • Introduction
  • 1 What is in my food?
  • 1.1 Percentages
  • 2 Chemical analysis
  • 2.1 Using the laboratory data
  • 3 Presenting the data on the packaging
  • 4 Allergens
  • 5 Food additives
  • 6 Traffic-light system
  • 7 Eating like a horse!
  • 8 Packaging claims – to confuse the unwary shopper
  • 9 Do you look at food labels differently now?
  • 10 This week’s quiz
  • 11 Summary
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week5Week 5: Energy from food and sweeteners
  • Introduction
  • 1 How much energy is in food?
  • 1.1 How do we find out the energy in food?
  • 1.2 How many kilocalories in a peanut?
  • 1.3 Some numbers
  • 1.4 Scientific uncertainty
  • 2 Calories and joules
  • 3 How much food do we need?
  • 3.1 Physiological requirement
  • 3.2 Reference values
  • 3.3 Calculating RIs
  • 4 Sweeteners
  • 4.1 How safe are sweeteners?
  • 5 This week’s quiz
  • 6 Summary
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week6Week 6: What do people eat?
  • Introduction
  • 1 The Eatwell Guide
  • 1.1 Dietary advice from around the world
  • 1.2 Five a day – or more?
  • 1.3 Seven a day
  • 1.4 What about ten a day?
  • 2 Healthy snacks
  • 3 Vegetarian and vegan diets
  • 4 Malnutrition
  • 4.1 The Global Nutrition Report
  • 4.2 The obesity epidemic
  • 4.3 Measuring obesity
  • 4.4 Different BMI classifications for some population groups
  • 4.5 Measuring your waist
  • 4.6 Obesity levels
  • 4.7 What has caused the obesity epidemic?
  • 4.8 A drastic solution: bariatric surgery
  • 5 Food in the Second World War and food banks now
  • 5.1 Food in the Second World War
  • 5.2 Food banks
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Further reading
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week7Week 7: Food allergy or food intolerance?
  • Introduction
  • 1 Food allergy
  • 1.1 Symptoms of a food allergy
  • 1.2 Top 14 food allergens in the UK
  • 1.3 Anaphylaxis
  • 1.4 The science bit
  • 1.5 Nut allergy
  • 2 Food intolerance
  • 2.1 Symptoms of food intolerance
  • 3 Diagnosing and managing a food allergy and food intolerance
  • 4 Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • 4.1 Healthy eating and lifestyle with IBS
  • 4.2 The low FODMAP approach
  • 4.3 Prebiotics and probiotics for good gut bacteria
  • 5 Coeliac disease
  • 6 This week’s quiz
  • 7 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week8Week 8 Taste and psychology
  • Introduction
  • 1 How we taste food
  • 1.1 The science bit
  • 2 Reasons for eating
  • 2.1 Sensory signals
  • 2.2 Pre-absorptive information
  • 2.3 Post absorptive signals
  • 3 Food habits
  • 4 Eating disorders
  • 5 Your food diary
  • 5.1 Thoughts on your food diary
  • 6 Summary
  • 7 This week’s quiz
  • 8 End-of-course round up
  • Tell us what you think
  • Where next?
  • References
  • Acknowledgements

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