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Free online course

The Science of Nutrition

Explore the science behind what you eat with this free online course.


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

The Science of Nutrition

Why join the course?

Are we really what we eat? And how do we know what is in our food?

This free online course will look to answer some of these questions, by looking at the science behind nutrition, covering aspects of biology, chemistry and physics. You’ll look at the components of food that are given on food labels and consider how these are processed by the body.

There will be some human biology, focusing on the digestive system, including the liver, and the bloodstream, which carries the processed food components to all parts of the body. You will also find out how much energy different sorts of foods supply.

You will have the opportunity to carry out some experiments to find out a little more about the role that acid plays in digestion and how enzymes work, as well as working out how much energy is contained in a single peanut.

Finally, you’ll consider some of the advice that is given about what constitutes a healthy diet and how overconsumption has led to an obesity epidemic in many countries of the world.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Demonstrate and understand how food is processed and then used in the body.
  • Describe and know about food allergies and intolerances.
  • Apply knowledge to understand healthy eating advice and identify how it varies in different countries.
  • Interpret and understand the basic components of food.
  • Discuss and to be able to make sense of food labels and do basic calculations of energy in food.
  • Describe and understand possible reasons for the current obesity epidemic.
  • Experiment and to be able to conduct simple experiments using easily available materials.

Who is the course for?

This course is intended for anyone with a general interest in science or nutrition and does not require any prior experience of studying this subject.

Who will you learn with?

Audrey Brown

I'm an Associate Lecturer with the Open University, with wide interests across science and particular expertise in supporting students who are taking their first steps in science subjects.

Who developed the course?


Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £49.00

Statement of Participation £24.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.