25 Excellent Open Courseware Classes on Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Are you confused by all the news about food and nutrition? According to Tufts University, only 25 percent of U.S. medical schools have a required nutrition course. You can overcome this knowledge deficiency through open courseware projects that focus on nutrition. These courses are online, they’re free and you can learn at your own pace.

The following list of 25 open courseware classes on nutrition and healthy eating are provided by major universities as well as by government entities. The classes and information are divided by category, and each class is listed alphabetically within those categories. Get started with learning the basics and move on to learn more about nutrition and disease (such as diabetes) and nutrition policies and the environment.

Getting Started

  1. Eat Well for Less: This is a series of learning modules on how to plan and prepare healthy low-cost meals. Eat Well for Less has three modules: Pyramid Power, We Wish You Well, and Stretching Your Food Dollars. [Oregon State University]
  2. Introductory Nutrition: Information is provided about carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals and their digestion, absorption, transport and metabolism, their sources in foods, effects of deficiency or excess, and the biological roles they play in the body. [University of Texas]
  3. Introduction to Human Nutrition: Foods are discussed in these Webcasts as a source of nutrients, and the evidence is reviewed as to the effects of nutrition on health. The emphasis of the course is on issues of current interest and on worldwide problems of food and nutrition. [University of California at Berkeley]
  4. Label Education Tools: Learn how to use the nutrition facts labels on packaged foods to make healthy food choices. [Food and Drug Administration]
  5. Nutrition for Everyone: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has streamlined dietary information into an easy-to-grasp outline to study, along with links to further information. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
  6. Understanding Human Nutrition: This course will provide a useful background for you if you are interested in your own and your family’s diet, or if you are involved in the nutrition and health of others, e.g. in schools, hospitals or residential care. [The Open University]
  7. Vitamin Village: This package of learning modules addresses vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as a basic introduction to antioxidants. [The University of Nottingham]

Basic Biology

  1. Chemistry of Sports: Learn more about how nutrition is tied into performance as a fuel that rebuilds bodies. [MIT]
  2. Gastroenterology: Learn about the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioengineering of the gastrointestinal tract and the associated pancreatic, liver and biliary tract systems. [MIT]
  3. Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology : Explore the pathophysiology of a variety of gastrointestinal disorders from gastroesophageal reflux disease to cirrhosis. [Tufts]
  4. Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology/a> : Use these Webcasts to learn more about metabolism, structural tissues, activation, storage, excretion and toxicity. [University of California at Berkeley]
  5. Proteins: Starting with a simple analysis of proteins, this course moves on to look at how proteins are digested and absorbed. [The Open University]

Diet, Obesity, Health and Disease

  1. A Love-Hate Relationship: Cholesterol in Health and Disease: This is an advanced undergraduate seminar that addresses mechanisms of cholesterol sensing, mechanisms of feedback regulation in cells, cholesterol in the brain, cholesterol in the circulation, ‘good cholesterol’ and ‘bad cholesterol,’ cholesterol-related human disorders, and the drugs that deal with some of these disorders. [MIT]
  2. Critical Analysis of Popular Diets and Dietary Supplements: The aim of this course is to acquire the knowledge to critically appraise a weight control diet or dietary supplement and choose the best plan for success, both in the short-term and the long run. [Johns Hopkins]
  3. Diabetes and Obesity – Treatment: Learn more from this lecture about how the basic principles of nutrition apply to patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. [Tufts]
  4. Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! Learn the keys to achieving and maintaining a lifestyle that includes healthy eating as well as other tools that are tied to a healthy diet. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
  5. Nutrition and Medicine: Only 25 percent of U.S. medical schools have a required nutrition course, so Tufts provides such a course with 25 hours of instruction as lectures and small group activities. [Tufts]
  6. Obesity: balanced diets and treatment: This course teaches the components of a balanced diet, energy intake and the causes and dietary treatments for obesity. [The Open University]

Nutrition: Policy and Environment

  1. Food and Nutrition Policy: The purpose of this course is to illustrate the steps and dynamics of policy-making processes that address nutrition problems and issues. [Johns Hopkins]
  2. Food Production, Public Health, and the Environment: This course explores the connections among diet, current food and food animal production systems, the environment and public health. [Johns Hopkins]
  3. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy: The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy remains the only graduate and professional school of nutrition in North America. You can learn more about its mission to improve the health and well-being of people worldwide through open courseware on agricultural policy. [Tufts]
  4. Health and Nutrition: This site is filled with information and updated regularly on policy issues, statistics, drug information and more regarding national health and nutrition. [U.S. Government]
  5. Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of Food: Explore many of the fascinating issues that surround food as both material fact and personal and cultural symbol. [MIT]
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