FBMNUT-Nutrition Concepts

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Jeremy Spencer

Email: j.p.e.spencer@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces and expands fundamental concepts of nutrition, including – but not limited to – macro- and micronutrients, water, alcohol, anti-nutrients and bioactives, the development of dietary reference values and recommendations and techniques used in nutrition research. It will also introduce current research topics in the area of nutrition and health.


The aim of the module is to provide a thorough understanding of nutritional concepts including metabolism and how nutrition can affect human health. A further aim of the module is to become familiar with current research and research methodology in nutrition. Students will have an understanding of major issues of nutrition during the life cycle and have an appreciation of the scientific base of nutritional recommendations and controversial topics in nutrition research.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Evaluate the role of macronutrients and micronutrients in human energy metabolism, growth, development and disease prevention.

  • Explain and interpret nutritional concepts and how these relate to the development of dietary reference values and public health recommendations.

  • Evaluate common methods and technologies used in nutritional research.

  • Investigate how diet can affect health and how nutritional research can influence recommendations and policy.

  • Critical appraisal and evaluation of published nutritional research.

  • Understand and show compliance with current legal requirements for nutrition and health related measures, including product labels and nutrition health claims.

Additional outcomes:

  • Engage in weekly group discussions and formative tests to evaluate student understanding.

  • Participation in weekly topic-specific tutorials and class discussions aimed to promote excellent group work, communication and retention of knowledge.

  • Exposure to current nutritional research, including respective strengths and limitations, thus building skills in the critical evaluation of nutritional science.

Outline content:

This module will introduce the fundamental concepts of nutrition, nutrients and non-nutrients and their relationship to human health and wellbeing.  The module will begin with an in-depth overview of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) and their role in human physiology, particularly that relevant to energy metabolism and the consequences for energy balance, basal metabolic rate and total energy expenditure.  With these concepts in mind, we will then evaluate the role micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) play in optimising macronutrient energy metabolism and defining optimum physiological function.  Other topics addressed on the module include water and hydration, alcohol and nutrient-nutrient interactions and anti-nutrients.  Lastly, there will be a special focus on the physiological actions of various plant-derived bioactives and their role in disease prevention and optimum human health.  In the second part of module, we will focus on current and emerging areas of nutrition research, including recent results from current research in nutritional sciences.  These topics, will be led by members of academic staff who are leaders in the area and will be an opportunity to immerse oneself in how nutrition knowledge continues to expand and develop.

Global context:

The impact of malnutrition, and in particular deficiencies, will be discussed in a global context.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 20
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 30
    Wider reading (directed) 40
    Preparation for seminars 20
    Revision and preparation 10
    Carry-out research project 20
    Essay preparation 30
    Reflection 10
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

  • End of module examination (Spring term; 50%)

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Written project (1500 words) on a topic of current nutritional research (Spring submission; 30%)

  • Assessed group project to interpret dietary information from a fictional subject and provide recommendations (20%)

Formative assessment methods:

Students will engage in weekly group seminars on topics introduced in the plenary lecture and formative assessments will be carried out after each topic. Tutorials will be throughout the term and contributions will be formatively assessed.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% in each assessment

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1. Required text books £50 

Last updated: 13 May 2019


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