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Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

Learn how to find reliable, scientific information about food and nutrition and identify the truth behind food headlines.

17,821 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Rebuild your trust in nutrition science and look beyond the media headlines

Due to conflicting messages from the media, it’s becoming harder to know what to believe when it comes to following a healthy diet and lifestyle.

On this course, you’ll compare how nutrition and health topics are handled by the media and science.

You’ll be encouraged to think critically about the information behind media headlines and come to your own conclusions about what’s good for you.

You’ll explore the psychology of why we’re easily influenced by headlines and learn about different types of biases, like confirmatory and availability bias.

You’ll also learn how to find reliable information online and identify unreliable health studies.

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  • Week 1

    What's behind a headline

    • Welcome

      Welcome to the course! Meet your Educator team and find out what you'll be learning and discussing over the next week.

    • How do we interpret headlines?

      When you're scrolling through news articles, what do you look for? How do you decide what articles to read? Discuss the cognitive processes involved when reading headlines.

    • How do journalists produce their news?

      Journalists have the complex role of translating scientific information to the public. Discover how journalists select what to cover in their news stories and the drivers behind this choice.

    • How is scientific credibility established?

      The strength of scientific evidence produced by different types of studies can vary. Learn about the strengths and limitations of different studies.

    • Take action

      Let's put what you've learned this week into action by exploring a headline and taking a closer look at the scientific study it refers to.

  • Week 2

    Influence and interpretation

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Welcome back. The Educator team provides a full analysis of the scientific paper you investigated at the end of last week.

    • What bias do readers bring?

      Reflect on how personal experiences, unconscious and conscious biases, and tightly held values may affect they way you interpret food news.

    • The statistics behind a headline

      Statistics from studies are used frequently in journalism. Understand key terms such as population sample and absolute and relative risk.

    • How do you read a scientific paper?

      Published research generally follows an established format: abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion and references. Learn more about these parts of a scientific paper.

    • Take action

      Let's put what you've learned this week into action by exploring a headline and taking a closer look at the scientific study it refers to.

  • Week 3


    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome back. The Educator team provides a full analysis of the scientific paper you investigated at the end of last week.

    • How do you find reliable information?

      Let's work together to generate a list of trusted sources for food news.

    • How do you check if an article is credible?

      Learn how to use a detailed assessment tool for checking the credibility of a news article before practising with the credibility checklist yourself.

    • How is a scientific study published?

      Understand the various stages of quality assurance which scientists have to follow in order to publish a peer-reviewed study.

    • Take action

      Put everything you've learned into practice and discover how you can continue your learning with these recommended next steps.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Interpret why the media is so interested in reporting about food & nutrition, why the 'advice' changes so rapidly and the part we play in that, as readers.
  • Explore the hierarchy of scientific evidence and judge for yourself whether you believe an example headline.
  • Explore the biases you bring to what you read and gain a perspective into journalists' agendas which influence how they present scientific evidence.
  • Identify how to find the original research, how to interpret scientific terms and make sense of statistics.
  • Discuss where to obtain the information you can trust about food & nutrition and use tools that help identify unreliable studies.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who is losing trust in media headlines about how what we eat affects our health and who wants to get to the truth.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Jing Guo is a Registered Nutritionist. She has great experience in teaching Food Science and Nutrition and has led several research projects including different types of studies.

I am a consumer researcher at Technical University of Munich. My research focuses on cognitive aspects and cultural influences on food choices and nutrition behavior.

Dr Miriam Clegg is a Lecturer and Researcher in Nutritional Sciences and a Registered Nutritionist. She researches appetite and nutritional health across the life-course.

I am a Senior Manager at the European Food Information Council. My role is creating science-based content on nutrition and health whilst leading communication activities for EU research projects.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial skills in Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem.

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Learning on FutureLearn

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