Good nutrition is essential for a healthy life, but how we eat is just as important as what we eat. The Certificate of Human Nutrition (Advanced) is ideal for caregivers, fitness professionals, life coaches, food industry workers, community health workers, allied medical and health professionals or anyone wanting to enhance their overall health and wellbeing.
In this human nutrition course, you will deepen your knowledge of nutrition in order to plan balanced diets for individual or group needs and prepare food to ensure nutrient retention. You will study the recommended daily intakes of nutrients, the different methods of cooking and processing and its affect on food and nutrition, and the roles and features of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
You will also learn how to assess the needs and nutritional status of different individuals, and understand the timing and needs of special groups, including those who have diseases or dietary issues.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a human nutrition course include:
- Learning about cooking and its effect on food and nutrition
- Exploring the nutritive value of food after cooking
- Studying fish, meat, poultry and plant foods like fruit, vegetables, cereals and pulses
- Gaining insights into baking, blanching, braising, grilling and poaching
- Understanding boiling, pressure cooking, roasting, sautéing and steaming
- Learning about preserve nutrition in food including different vitamins
- Exploring food processing and nutrition
- Gaining an understanding of canning and pasteurisation
- Studying flours and milling and grain processing
- Gaining insights into wet-heat treatments
- Examining food additives and flavouring and sweetening agents
- Understanding preservatives, emulsifying agents, anti-caking agents and humectants
- Learning about recommended daily intakes (RDI) of nutrients
- Exploring macronutrient intakes
- Studying RDI of energy and protein
- Gaining insights into RDI of fats, fluids and water
- Understanding requirements for vitamins and minerals
- Learning about hypervitaminosis and hypovitaminosis
- Exploring the role, sources, deficiency and toxicity of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K
- Studying water soluble vitamins
- Gaining insights into vitamins and the liver
- Examining vitamins and the bowel
- Understanding vitamins, cancer and chronic diseases
- Learning about minerals
- Exploring the role of, deficiency, toxicity and sources of calcium
- Studying iodine, iron and magnesium
- Gaining insights into phosphorous and potassium
- Examining sodium
- Understanding other trace elements – chromium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc
- Learning how to plan a balanced diet
- Exploring menu planning
- Studying a day’s diet at a residential school
- Gaining insights into plate waste
- Examining how to use the food pyramid
- Understanding how to approach diet planning
- Learning about how to assess nutritional status and needs
- Exploring the nutritional needs of infants and young children
- Studying the nutritional needs of adolescents
- Gaining insights into the the nutritional needs of expectant, postpartum and nursing mothers
- Examining the nutritional needs of elderly people and migrants
- Understanding vegetarian and vegan diets
- Learning about timing meals and the needs of special groups
- Exploring diet formulation
- Studying dietary risk factors
- Gaining insights into obesity, coronary heart disease, blood cholesterol and blood pressure
- Understanding dental cavities, dietary fibre and bowel disease and diabetes
- Learning about gastric, gluten-free and low salt, fat and sodium diets
- Exploring diets that can lower cholesterol
2021 Australian Food Trends
As you’ll learn in a human nutrition course, a balanced diet is often at the forefront of many people’s minds when it comes to overall health and wellbeing. However, food trends are constantly changing, and this year, some of them revolve around plant-based diets, sustainability and conscious consumption.
#1 – Plant-based eating
Vegetarian, vegan, pegan (a paleo/vegan combination), flexitarian (a “flexible” vegetarian) … the list of plant-based dietary choices goes on … and continues to evolve. Tied to this is the ongoing trend of buying locally-grown produce and seasonal ingredients to celebrate artisanal products and regional cooking, including seeking paddock-to-plate dining experiences.
#2 – Conscious consumption
A similar trend is “clean” eating, which means eating predominantly fruit, vegetables and whole grains and limiting meat, sugar, salt and processed foods. It also involves growing your own produce and cooking from scratch — sometimes termed “eating like a nana”!
#3- Intermittent fasting
Google Trends data has shown that online searches for “intermittent fasting” have doubled over the past four years in Australia and continue to rise. Popular diets include the 5:2 (cutting kilojoules two days a week and then eating “normally” for the other five), and the 16:8 (eating over an eight hour period and fasting for the rest of the day). However, research has shown that people achieve better results when their diet has been personalised, rather than embracing “fad diets”. And that’s where the value of a human nutrition course comes in!
#4 – Conscious drinking
Australian’s love of alcohol is well known. However, another positive emerging trend towards a healthier diet is “conscious” alcohol drinking. The low “alcohol by volume” (ABV) category has continued to grow with the increasing popularity of alcohol-free spirits, low ABV beers and hard seltzer. Hard seltzers — which are typically flavoured with fruit — contain a small amount of alcohol and are one of the lowest-caloric options on the market.
#5 – A gut feeling
Many people suffer from digestive health issues, and some of these have a moderate or severe impact on an individual’s overall health. Consumer interest has increased in a more holistic approach to health, including a greater understanding of the foundational role of gut microbiome. Products targeting and supporting microbiome — like prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics — have been shown to help address metabolic issues and conditions like immune system support, weight management and better emotional wellbeing.
#6 – New technologies
In this era of new technologies, AI, gene editing and nanotechnology are being used to address modern food challenges. These include improving sustainability, reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions and feeding the world’s growing population. Genetic engineering is being used to increase yields, enhance nutritional value, and broaden livestock diversity and agricultural crops.
The Effect of Timing on Meals
One of the factors you will learn about in a human nutrition course is the effect of timing on meals if individuals are trying to lose weight. But does it actually matter what time we eat?
Well, according to one of the largest human studies into the correlation between meal timing and body mass index (BMI), yes. Researchers from Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center in California studied meal frequency and timing and the correlation with BMI in more than 50,000 people.
The results, published in The Journal of Nutrition found four factors are associated with a decrease in BMI:
- eating only one or two meals per day
- maintaining an overnight fast of up to 18 hours
- eating breakfast instead of skipping it
- making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day.
Regardless of overall calorie intake, participants who made breakfast the largest meal of their day lost more weight than those who ate a bigger lunch. The two factors associated with higher BMI were making dinner the largest meal of the day and eating more than three meals per day (snacks were counted as extra meals).
A spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia, says animal studies have produced similar findings. It showed that when animals had the same calorie intake at night compared to during the day, some animals had more metabolic control and lost more weight. Metabolic control is how our bodies convert the fuel we consume into energy. A practical example of where this can cause weight gain, higher insulin levels and poorer metabolic and glucose control is with shift workers who eat when they should be sleeping.
However, while eating more calories earlier in the day is a good general rule for healthy weight maintenance, overall intake is still the most important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight. A bigger breakfast can be important because individuals are less likely to get ravenously hungry and make poor food choices later on in the day.
Experts also say it’s crucial to include some carbohydrates, some lean protein and plenty of salads and vegetables with every meal. It’s also important that individuals try to avoid the mentality of restriction, as diets aren’t a one-size-fits-all approach. An individual’s approach to meals and food needs to fit in with their lifestyle to be sustainable.
Learn how food interacts with the human body and how to keep the body running in optimal condition with a human nutrition course like our Certificate of Human Nutrition (Advanced).