Course: Principles of Human Nutrition

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Course Description

Principles of Human Nutrition (222.641) provides an integrated overview of the physiological requirements and functions of protein, energy, and the major vitamins and minerals that are determinants of health and diseases in human populations. Topics include the following:

  • Dietary sources, intake levels, physiological role, and requirement of major nutrients.
  • The biological determinants of nutrient requirements and the assessment of nutrient status in individuals and populations.
  • The role of nutrition in growth and health through the life cycle.
  • The rationale for the development of dietary guidelines and of nutrition policies in different countries.
  • The role of diet in the development of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Provide an overview of the major macro and micronutrients relevant to human health.
  • Discuss the scientific rationale for defining nutritional requirements in healthy individuals and populations, with reference to specific conditions such as pregnancy, lactation, and older age.
  • Present current evidence for the role of key nutrients in the prevention of chronic diseases.
  • Discuss major nutrition-related diseases in a global context.


Required Reading:

  • J. Mann and S. Truswell (2nd edition, 2002). Essentials of Human Nutrition. Oxford University Press.

Recommended Reading:

  • Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition (1998). London: Academic Press.
  • Shils, Olson, Shike, and Ross (Eds.), (1999). Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th edition. Williams and Wilkins.
  • Linder, Ed. (1991). Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism, 2nd edition. Elsevier.