Human Nutrition 1

Learn about food science and healthy nutrition. Make better food choices for yourself or learn to help or counsel others.

Course CodeBRE102
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn What Good Food Is

For anyone working in hospitality, good food must be something that is appealing to the eyes and taste; but also free of any contents that might cause a problem (contaminants, allergens, bacterial organisms).

For the health professional, there may be a greater emphasis upon the health benefits of the food, than for the caterer or restaurateur; but whatever the circumstances, the best food surely must be both the healthiest and most attractive.

This course is your first step toward a serious understanding of human nutrition.

  • It provides complimentary skills for people involved with food and health across a wide range of vocations (Health, carers or fitness professionals through to chef's and health food shop sales staff).

  • It provides a starting point for persons wanting to work more specifically in the field of nutrition (Note: To work as a nutritionist or prescribe food supplements in most developed countries will require you to do far more study than the 100 hrs involved in this course)

  • It provides the concerned individual with the knowledge needed to better manage their own diet, and that of those around them.


Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Nutrition
  2. The Digestive System
  3. Absorption & Enzymes
  4. Energy Value and Foods
  5. Carbohydrates and Fats
  6. Proteins
  7. Vitamins and Minerals
  8. Water
  9. Nutrient Disorders

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain the role of different food types in human health.
  • Explain the physiology of digestive processes.
  • Recommend appropriate intake of vitamins.
  • Recommend appropriate intake of minerals.
  • Recommend appropriate food intake to meet an individual's energy needs.
  • Recommend appropriate carbohydrate intake.
  • Recommend appropriate fat intake.
  • Recommend appropriate protein intake.
  • Recommend appropriate water intake in different situations.
  • Recognise signs and symptoms of the major nutrient disorders.

What You Will Do

  • Distinguish between nutrition terms including: food, nutrition and diet.
  • Distinguish between characteristics of all major food groups, including;
    • chemistry and foods which are a good source.
  • Explain the significance of each of the major food groups, including:
    • Carbohydrates
    • Proteins
    • Fats
    • Minerals
    • Vitamins.
  • Label on unlabelled illustrations, parts of the digestive system, including:
    • Oesophagus
    • Liver
    • Stomach
    • Gall bladder
    • Pancreas
    • Duodenum
    • Ascending colon
    • Caecum
    • Appendix
    • Transverse colon
    • Descending colon
    • Ileum
    • Sigmoid colon
    • Rectum.
  • Explain the function of different parts of the digestive system, including:
    • Salivary Glands
    • Liver
    • Stomach
    • Gall bladder
    • Pancreas
    • Duodenum
    • Colon
    • Ileum
    • Rectum.
  • Distinguish between digestion and absorption of food.
  • Explain the different layers of the digestive tract, including:
    • Mucosa
    • Submucosa
    • Muscularis
    • Serosa.
  • Explain different physiological processes involved in absorption
  • Explain how different hormones control the digestive process, including:
    • Gastrin
    • *Gastric Inhibitory Peptide
    • Secretin
    • Cholecystokinin.
  • Explain the action of different digestive enzymes.
  • Convert calories to joules.
  • Explain the meaning of basal metabolic rate (BMR).
  • Describe how the intake of different types of food may affect metabolic rate.
  • Explain how different factors other than food intake can affect digestion, including stress and disease.
  • Compare energy values of different foods, on a given food chart.
  • Explain possible implications of mismatching food intake to individual's energy needs, through over or under intake of energy requirements.
  • List foods which are a common sources of carbohydrate.
  • List common foods in your own diet which are poor sources of carbohydrate.
  • Distinguish between monosaccharides and disaccharides in your own normal diet.
  • Explain relative values of alternative sources of carbohydrates.
  • Explain factors which affect the bodies demand for carbohydrate.
  • Develop guidelines to determining appropriate carbohydrate intake, in accordance with an individuals specific requirements.
  • List foods which are a common source of fats.
  • Distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fats in the diet of a specific person.
  • Explain the relative value of alternative sources of fats.
  • Explain factors which affect the bodies demand for fat.
  • Explain the role of fat in the body, including an explanation of different physiological processes involving fat.
  • Develop a set of guidelines to determining appropriate fat intake, in accordance with an individuals specific requirements.
  • List foods which are a good source of protein.
  • Explain the role of protein in the body, including examples of different physiological processes involving protein.
  • Explain relative values of different sources of protein.
  • Explain factors which affect the bodies demand for protein.
  • Develop guidelines to determining appropriate fat intake, in accordance with an individuals specific requirements.
  • List different sources for each of several different minerals considered essential to human health.
  • Explain the role of different minerals in the body.
  • Consider the relative values of different sources of minerals in your own diet, to determine minerals which may be supplied in inappropriate quantities.
  • Describe symptoms of different nutrient disorders including deficiencies and toxicities.
  • Explain the use of different mineral supplements in a specified human diet.
  • Distinguish between sources of different types of vitamins which are important to human health, including:
    • Retinol
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin K
    • Ascorbic acid
    • Thiamine
    • Riboflavin
    • Nicotinamide
    • Pyridoxine
    • Pantothenic acid
    • Biotin
    • Cyanocobalamin
    • Folacin.
  • Explain the role of different vitamins in the body.
  • Explain the relative values of different sources of each of five vitamins.
  • Explain proliferation of vitamin supplement usage in modern society.
  • Describe symptoms of five different vitamin disorders including deficiencies and toxicities.
  • Explain the role of water in the body, for different physiological processes.
  • List factors which affect the bodies requirement for water.
  • Compare different methods of purifying water, including different commercially available water purifiers.
  • Explain the physiology of dehydration, at different levels.
  • Discuss the affect of different water impurities on human health.
  • Distinguish between the signs and symptoms of forty common problems associated with nutritional disorders, including:
    • deficiencies
    • sensitivities
    • diseases.
  • Describe different techniques used by health practitioners for determining food/nutrition disorders.
  • Explain the importance of obtaining a recommendation from a medical practitioner, when a nutritional disorder is suspected.
  • Explain the significance of "second opinion", when diagnosing nutrient disorders.

Understanding Nutrition is Vital


Providing food is one of the most diverse and important industries on earth.

It involves understanding the significance of

  • Food source and supply

  • making choices about what food to grow and the way it is grown

  • choosing how to harvest, process, store and market food

  • choosing how to prepare and present food (eg. on the market shelves, in restaurants, take away's), menu design

  • choosing what, how much, how often and when to eat.

These choices can be made by the individual; but choice is influenced by what is presented, promoted and made available.

Those who work with food at any level have an opportunity to influence the quality of life of others; to do that in an informed way, an understanding of human nutrition is needed.

Making Appropriate Dietary Decisions

Nutrition and dieting are things that everyone has an opinion on. Dietary advice can be found everywhere from papers and magazines, the internet, information found in health food shops to that provided by healthcare professionals. Unfortunately the wealth of information available can be contradictory and confusing, while in some instances following advice can expensive and even be detrimental to health.

Sources of dietary advice whether written or verbal will only ever be as good as the evidence (that is research) they are based on. In view of this before evaluating different sources of advice we will begin by looking at the respective merits of the underlying nutritional research.

Nutrition research fits into two main categories- observational and experimental. In an observational study researchers examine groups of people and look for cause and effect that is the effect of one factor on another. An example of nutrition based observational study is the Harvard Nurses Study, which is now one of the largest and longest running investigations into the factors affecting women’s health covering over 80000 women. This study has been used to suggest a range of links between factors such as diet/smoking and physical activity with health outcomes. For example, some researchers looking at the results of the study showed a link between vegetable consumption and improved cognitive function, while another group has shown links between the intake of wholegrain breads and cereals and the incidence of heart disease.

Whilst observational studies can be wide ranging and yield lots of new insights into the effects of nutrition on health, unfortunately there are limitations to this re

search. One of these limitations is that these studies can only suggest and not necessarily show cause and effect. This is because it is impossible to control other determinants on health such as medical factors and other diet and lifestyle factors. To achieve more conclusive results experimental studies are required and of these randomized trials are considered the most effective way of confirming a suggested effect.

Learn from Our Experience

We have been teaching and writing about human nutrition here at ACS for decades; and when you undertake this course, you are benefiting from those many years of experience.

By studying you will interact with tutors who are scientists as well as educators; who work or have worked for years in food production, processing or preparation. This experience, coupled with the learning pathway laid out in our course notes, provides a sound and unique opportunity to lay a foundation for growing your own expertise in the field of nutrition.

Where might this course lead you?

Some students undertake this course to enhance a career they have already started.
 Food growers, processors or cooks and waiters can find the knowledge gained here may give them a whole new perspective on the job they already do, and enlighten them as to all sorts of ways they can combine their existing knowledge of food with a knowledge of human nutrition; opening up their existing career or business prospects to a wide range of new and exciting possibilities. Health professionals, food processors or farmers may take this course to fill a gap in their knowledge.

Whatever your reason for studying; your understanding of the scope and nature of food and nutrition will develop as your studies progress. As this happens, you will see food from different perspectives, and that expanded perception will lead you to see opportunities you might otherwise have overlooked. Opportunities then lead to a wider experience, which in turn grows your knowledge, competence and overall career prospects


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Karen Lee

Nutritional Scientist, Dietician, Teacher and Author. BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics. Registered dietitian in the UK, with over 15 years working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projec
Maggi Brown

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture
Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
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