• The Open University

The Science of Nutrition

Get an introduction to nutritional science. Explore the biology, chemistry and physics of food and how our bodies digest it.

99,576 enrolled on this course

The Science of Nutrition
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours

Explore the nutritional science behind what you eat

Have you ever looked at a food label and wondered what kilocalories really mean? Would you like to know more about fat, protein or carbohydrates, and how our bodies process them?

On this course, you will explore biology to find out how our digestive system and bloodstream process and transport food. You will use physics to work out how much energy food contains, and through chemistry, you will discover the role that acid and enzymes play in digestion. You will also consider the science behind dietary advice, and why we’re facing an obesity epidemic worldwide.

What topics will you cover?

  • Basic chemistry of protein, fat and carbohydrate components of food
  • Basic biology of the digestive system, how enzymes function and how products of digestion are used
  • Measurements of nutrients in prepared food and interpretation of food labels
  • Measurement of the energy available from food
  • Constituents of a healthy diet and analysis of dietary advice
  • The obesity epidemic and aspects of different diets throughout the world

What will you achieve?

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

  • 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 be able to make sense of food labels and peform basic calculations of energy in food.
  • Describe and understand possible reasons for the current obesity epidemic.
  • Demonstrate 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.

What do people say about this course?

This is a nice beginner course to nutrition: some of the topics go into the chemistry of food, you're given a lot of extra material to explore, and some nice activities to make you think about your own diet.

Class-Central Review

Who will you learn with?

I've recently retired from the Open University. I have wide interests across science and make the most of living close to the Lake District

Who developed the course?

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning, with a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

  • Established1969
  • LocationMilton Keynes, UK
  • World rankingTop 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020


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