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Study information

Nutrition Science

Module titleNutrition Science
Module codeESS2512
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Luciana Torquati (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will develop your understanding of nutritional biochemistry and how the nutritional status of individuals and populations is determined. Topics covered include:

  • components and role of gastro-intestinal tract, endocrine system, and immune system as determinants of food intake and nutrient absorption/utilisation status;
  • signs, symptoms and causes of nutrient deficiency;
  • the function of nutrients and significance in the context of the life-cycle and of chronic disease.

The module also covers how nutrition science is translated into dietary guidelines, and equips you with the tools to discern objectively between sound nutrition information and ill-founded and unsubstantiated nutrition claims.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to build your knowledge in nutrition and metabolism to deepen your understanding of nutrition science and nutrients’ effect on body functions. We will explore how nutrients are extracted from different food sources, the factors that affect our ability to digest and absorb them, and how these variables and nutrient demands change throughout the life cycle. You will gain a deep understanding of nutrition science research and how methods and study design influence the quality of evidence. You will need this knowledge to understand how dietary guidelines and public health agendas are informed and shaped. This module includes a variety of practical sessions in our teaching/research kitchen for you to apply your knowledge in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe details of digestion, absorption, and excretion of nutrients and non-nutrients, and how these relate to bodily functions
  • 2. Explain nutritional requirements through the life cycle, including assessment and the consequences of nutrient deficiency
  • 3. Critically appraise nutrition science evidence

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Explain integration of metabolism at the whole body level for different nutrients and systems.
  • 5. Perform nutrition analysis and assessment of foods and diets, identifying strengths and limitations of methods used.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Synthesise complex information into simple and accurate information

Syllabus plan

  • Review of nutrition science concepts, focusing on food groups and sources of macro- and micro-nutrients.
  • Digestion, absorption, transportation and storage of nutrients.
  • Detox systems, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of nutrient and non-nutrient compounds.
  • Nutrient interactions: nutrient-nutrient, nutrient-gene, ‘nutraceuticals’, functional foods and drug-nutrient interactions
  • Nutrition through the life cycle and the role of nutrition in both prevention and treatment of disease.
  • Assessment of nutritional status: biochemical and dietary collection methods.
  • Consequences of nutrient deficiencies.

Evidence appraisal in nutrition science and dietary guidelines development (study designs, hierarchy of evidence, risk of bias).

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching10Practical sessions (kitchen)
Guided Independent Study34Reading
Guided Independent Study20Completing study tasks on ELE
Guided Independent Study60Preparation for assessments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation6010 minutes1-6Oral/written
In-class test4030 minutes1-6Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Oral presentationOral presentation1-6August/September Assessment period
In-class testIn-class test1-6August/September Assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will need to complete further assessment as required. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Brown, J. (2018) Nutrition Throughout the life cycle. Wadsworth Publishing 
  • Department of Health (2011) Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition Dietary Reference Values for Energy .
  • Gandy J (2019) The Manual of Dietetic Practice. BDA. Wiley Blackwell
  • Gropper, Smith and Groff (2016). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (7th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  • Calder, P. C., & Yaqoob, P. (Eds.). (2013). Diet, immunity and inflammation. Elsevier.
  • Payne, A., Barker, HM. (2010) Adanced Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition. 1st edition. Churchill Livingstone.
  • Ralston, ST., Penman, I., Strachan, M., Hobson.., R (2018) Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine.
  • Shaw, V. (2015). Clinical Paediatric Dietetics. (most recent edition). BDA. Wiley Blackwell.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Nutrition science, macronutrients, micronutrients, evidence-based nutrition, dietary guidelines, nutraceuticals, gut microbiome

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS1606 Nutrition and Metabolism, ESS1703 Bioenergetics

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date