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This content is taken from the EIT Food, University of Reading & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines. Join the course to learn more.

Welcome to the course

Welcome to ‘Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines’, a European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food online course produced by the University of Reading, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) and the Technical University of Munich.

Why this course?

The link between our health and what we eat is well established but what’s not so clear is which particular foods are good for us and which aren’t. We are bombarded with conflicting news stories about food, and the speed at which these messages change leaves us unsure of what to believe and how to make the necessary changes to our diet.

This course takes a detailed look at the communication processes of both science and the media and uncovers the reasons for the confusing messages. We’ll also take a look at ourselves, the readers, and discover how our biases affect the way we interpret what we read. And we’ll explore ways to analyse stories and get to the truth behind the headlines.

Each week we approach the issues from the perspectives of the reader, the journalist and the scientist.

  • In Week 1 we look behind the headline and become familiar with the techniques journalists use to attract our attention to a scientific finding.

  • In Week 2 we’ll dig deeper into the psychology of influence and find out how to interpret statistics.

  • In Week 3 we’ll examine the issue of trust and discover how to judge the reliability of a source.

What difference will it make?

By the end of the course you will have analysed the headlines, stories and science behind 5 major food and nutrition news reports and acquired the skills and tools to help you come to your own conclusions about the healthiness of what you eat. These reports address:

  • the link between ultra-processed foods and cancer
  • the link between junk food and mental health
  • the effects of red and processed meats on our health
  • the cholesterol-lowering effects of apples
  • the difference between school dinners and packed lunches

Who will I learn from?

Meet the Educators who developed the course:

Dr Jing Guo Registered Nutritionist and Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Reading.
Dr Jutta Roosen Professor in Marketing and Consumer Research at the Technical University of Munich.
Dr Miriam Clegg Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading.
Dr Joanna Kaniewska Senior Manager for Nutrition & Health at the European Food Information Council.

Meet your Course Mentors:

Stephanie Fussell Nutrition and Food Science graduate
Rebecca P Nutrition and Food Science graduate

Between 28 September - 13 November the course will be facilitated by the Educators and Mentors, who’ll be on hand to help support the discussions found at the end of most Steps and enhance your learning experience.

You may like to follow their activity in the discussions; to do this you just need to view their profile and click the ‘Follow’ button. You will recognise them by ‘Educator’ or ‘Mentor’ appearing next to their name in the comments and discussion areas. By following a profile, any comments made will appear in your activity feed, which you can filter by selecting ‘Following’. Please note, the team will do their best to answer as many questions as they can but they will not be able to respond to them all.

Glossary

To help you get to grips with the terminology used within the course, we have provided a glossary which you may want to refer to as you go through the course. The glossary can be found at the beginning of each week.

Top tips

If you’re new to the FutureLearn platform, here are some tips you may find useful to help you prepare:

  • Take a look ahead to see what is coming up in the following Weeks.

  • Each video also has a transcript which you can read by clicking ‘view transcript’ found underneath each video.

  • As you work through the course, mark each Step as complete to help keep track of your progress.

  • Hold down the shift key when clicking on a web link. This will open the link in a separate window so you don’t lose your page that you’re working through.

  • Look out for any further reading which can be found at the bottom of the Steps under the heading ‘See also’ and supporting documents listed under ‘Downloads’.

If you have any questions about how the site works, you may find FutureLearn’s start guide and FAQ pages helpful.


Thank you for joining us on this course. Please share your reasons for joining in the discussion area below. We look forward to hearing from you as the course progresses.

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This article is from the free online course:

Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

EIT Food