Study nutrition online to help many Australians who are trying to lose weight for health and fitness. In a recent study, 67 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children and adolescents in Australia were overweight or obese. Obesity is also one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. The Certificate of Nutrition (Weight Loss) focuses on a holistic approach to weight management and is ideal for personal trainers, occupational therapists, counsellors, life or weight loss coaches or anyone who wants to help themselves, friends or family lose weight.
When you study nutrition online, you will gain insights into the nutritional aspects of weight management, including normal eating patterns, the food pyramid, recommended daily intake (RDI), glycaemic index (GI), and the role of absorption, digestion, metabolism, hormones and medical conditions.
You will also learn about the assessment process, and diet and behaviour modification techniques, including prescribing supplements, diets, exercise and the role of health clubs, self-help groups and hypnosis.
Outcomes achieved when you study nutrition online include:
- Learning about the types of obesity – hyperplasia or hypertrophy of fat cells
- Exploring dietary trends and the incidence of obesity
- Studying the factors influencing habits and food intake – psychological, environmental and behavioural
- Gaining insights into the health risks of obesity including childhood obesity
- Examining weight and body composition
- Understanding evaluation techniques including Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Learning about Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)
- Exploring digestion, absorption and how we process food
- Studying the roles of major digestive organs
- Gaining insights into food composition – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre etc.
- Understanding the Glycaemic Index (GI) and Basal Metabolic Rate
- Learning about the Food Pyramid and Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
- Exploring the popular approaches to weight loss and control
- Studying vegetarian, low calorie and liquid diets and commercial low-calorie meal substitutes
- Gaining insights into blood type, detox, low carbohydrate and low fat and low Glycaemic Index (GI) diets
- Examining sweeteners and supplements
- Understanding fat burning diets and fat substitutes
- Learning about the guidelines for childhood weight loss
- Exploring how to prevent obesity and make the best food choices
- Studying metabolism and how to keep the metabolic rate stable
- Gaining insights into nutritional education and health initiatives
- Examining legislative controls and public health information
- Understanding how to treat obesity, assess clients, modify behaviour and prescribe diets
- Learning about weight loss hypnosis
- Exploring self-help groups, health clubs, health farms and holiday retreats
- Studying how to modify eating behaviour including the key stages in behaviour changes
- Gaining insights into cultural food patterns
- Examining how to assess current diets and make lifelong changes
- Understanding how to seek support and motivation from others
- Learning about restricting calorie intake including energy, age, activity and metabolism
- Exploring nutrition during disease
Two of the main evaluation techniques related to weight loss you will learn about when you study nutrition online include calculating Body Mass Index (BMI) and measuring waist circumference.
BMI is an internationally recognised standard for determining obesity and whether adults are overweight. However, it’s important to note that it doesn’t necessarily describe the same degree of fatness in different individuals or reflect body fat distribution.
It is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. A BMI of 25.0–29.9 is classified as overweight but not obese, while a BMI of 30.0 or over is classified as obese. A BMI of greater than 35.0 is classified as severely obese.
Measuring waist circumference in adults is a good indicator of their total body fat and is a better predictor than measuring BMI in terms of certain chronic conditions including Type 1 diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A waist circumference above 80 centimetres for women and 94 centimetres for men is associated with an increased risk of chronic conditions. A waist circumference above 88 centimetres for women and 102 centimetres for men is associated with a substantially increased risk of chronic conditions.
Healthy Eating Pyramid
When you study nutrition online, you will learn about the Healthy Eating Pyramid. This is a simple visual guide to the types and proportions of foods we should eat every day for good health. It contains the five core food groups and healthy fats, and explains how much they contribute to a balanced diet based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013). The layers are based on the recommended intake for 19 to 50-year-olds, however, the proportions and placement of each food group are generally applicable to all age groups up to 70 years of age.
The Foundation Layers
The foundation layers include the three plant-based food groups, which make up the largest portion of the pyramid. Plant foods — vegetables and legumes, fruits and grains — should make up 70 per cent of what we eat.
Plant foods contain a wide variety of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are also the main source of carbohydrates and fibre in our diet. Adults, teens and older children should aim to have at least five servings of legumes or vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. In terms of grains, individuals should choose mostly whole grains (like oats, quinoa and brown rice) and wholegrain, wholemeal and high-cereal varieties of pasta, bread, cereal foods and crispbreads. Refined and overly processed foods should be avoided.
The Middle Layer
The middle layer includes the milk, yoghurt and cheese (and alternatives) and the poultry, lean meat, fish, nuts, eggs, legumes and seeds food groups. Foods in the milk, yoghurt and cheese (and alternatives) group provide us with protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals, and include non-dairy options like rice, soy or cereal milks. Choosing reduced-fat options can also limit the excess kilojoules that are contained in saturated fats. Foods in the poultry, lean meat, fish, nuts, eggs, legumes and seeds food groups are our main sources of protein. They also provide a unique mix of nutrients, including iron, zinc, iodine, healthy fats and B12 vitamins.
The Top Layer
The top layer refers to healthy fats. Small amounts of these support brain function and heart health. Choosing healthy fats over trans and saturated fats is recommended. “Healthy fats” include unrefined monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from plant sources like nut and seed oils and extra virgin olive oil. Individuals can also obtain healthy fats from other food groups, including nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.
Stable Metabolic Rates
The word “metabolism” refers to the way the body uses its available energy sources, not the way we use energy. This is why metabolism is referred to as efficient or inefficient, functional or dysfunctional. Three key points important to understanding metabolism and energy expenditure are:
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The BMR is the percentage of calories ingested that is used solely for heart rate, cellular functioning and breathing rate. BMR can help those who are study nutrition online to work out an individual’s energy requirements.
Healthy people who are active and of “normal” weight typically use 65 per cent of their calorific intake on maintaining body functions. Men normally have a higher BMR than women due to their higher muscle mass. Similarly, older people generally have a lower BMR than young people.
BMR can be decreased if individuals don’t follow a normal and healthy eating pattern of three main meals per day. Therefore by eating small, frequent meals and grazing, blood glucose levels stay steady which maintains a higher metabolic rate.
Approximately 25 per cent of the calories we ingest are expended on movement and muscle contractions. Muscle cells are also up to eight times more metabolically active than fat cells. This means that muscle cells require up to eight times more energy to function than fat cells and they burn more calories than fat does. To lose weight, an individual needs to reduce their calorific intake and increase their BMR. By increasing muscle mass via resistance exercise or weight training BMR and calories will reduce.
Thermic Effect of Food
We use over ten per cent of our calorie intake for maintaining our bodies at the correct temperature. To increase the thermic effect of food, an individual’s diet should contain a higher proportion of quality protein rather than fats or carbohydrates. However, it’s also worth noting that complex carbohydrates burn more calories than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables and high-fibre cereals require more energy to be broken down so more calories are burned.
Avoid dehydration as it contributes to an inefficient metabolism because it affects body temperature. If you are dehydrated, your body temperature drops slightly and causes your body to store fat as a way to help raise or maintain temperature. Experts recommend you drink two to three litres of water per day to avoid dehydration.
Enhance your understanding of nutritional and holistic strategies that will help your clients, friends, family or yourself lose weight successfully. Study nutrition online with our Certificate of Nutrition (Weight Loss).