Qualification - Associate Diploma in Nutritional Science

Course CodeVSC008
Fee CodeAS
Duration (approx)1500 hours
QualificationAssociate Diploma

Nutrition Home Study Diploma

"Are you interested in biology and nutrition? What really happens to the food you eat?"

Achieve success with the help of our highly qualified tutors and academic staff who are thrilled to help people do well. When you submit your assignments you will receive quality feedback. Of course you can also email or call your tutor directly for support during your learning of this increasingly popular and fascinating subject.

Some possible career opportunities include working in the food industry, nutritional counselling, food provision, health care, education and public relations. You might opt for further study to go for a career in clinical nutrition, sports nutrition, community nutrition, public health or clinical studies. A research career and private practice are also possible with further study.

Head for a new career now!

Studying Nutritional Science will teach you an understanding of nourishment of the body in scientific terms by looking at biochemical processes which occur in all living cells.

Biochemistry is the chemistry of organisms and organic compounds. Metabolism is the process by which a body introduces into itself various energy‑rich materials from its environment (food or nutrients), and transforms these materials, with the release of energy, into other substances, some of which are retained by the body and some eliminated.



There are 10 Compulsory Modules, 4 Elective Modules and 100 hours of Industry Meetings.


COMPULSORY MODULES - click on them to find out more about the lesson content for each module:

1. Human Nutrition I

The nine lessons are as follows:

  1. Introduction to Nutrition
  2. The Digestive System
  3. Absorption & Enzymes
  4. Energy Value and Foods
  5. Carbohydrates and Fats
  6. Proteins
  7. Vitamins and Minerals
  8. Water
  9. Nutrient Disorders

2. Human Nutrition II

There are eight lessons is as outlined below:‑

  1. Cooking And Its Affect On Nutrition
  2. Food Processing And Its Affect On Nutrition
  3. Recommended Daily Intake Of Nutrients
  4. Vitamins
  5. Minerals
  6. Planning A Balanced Diet
  7. Assessing Nutritional Status And Needs
  8. Timing Of Meals, And Needs For Special Groups

3. Human Nutrition III

This course is divided into eight lessons as follows:.

  1. Problems With Eating
  2. Dental Problems
  3. Fibre and Bowel Diseases
  4. Different Ways of Eating
  5. Food Toxicity A
  6. Food Toxicity B
  7. Detoxification/Body Cleansing
  8. Consulting/Giving Advice

4. Biochemistry I (Animals)

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to biochemistry
  2. Lipids and proteins
  3. Enzymes and hormones
  4. Nucleic acids
  5. Thermo-regulation
  6. Carbohydrate metabolism
  7. Absorption
  8. Acidity and alkalinity
  9. Chemical analysis
  10. Biochemical applications

5. Biochemistry II

There are nine lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction to Biochemical Molecules
  2. Amino Acids
  3. Structure of Proteins
  4. Protein Dynamics
  5. Sugars and Polysaccharides
  6. Lipids (Fats) and Membranes
  7. Enzymes, Vitamins and Hormones
  8. DNA and RNA
  9. Labratory Techniques

6. Biochemistry III (Animal Processes)

There are eleven lessons in this module as follows:
  1. Introduction
  2. Glycolysis
  3. Movement Through Membranes
  4. Electron Transport and Oxidative Phosphorylation
  5. Sugar and Polysaccharide Metabolism
  6. Lipid Metabolism
  7. Photosynthesis
  8. Nucleotide Metabolism
  9. Enzyme Activity
  10. Reproductive Processes in Plants
  11. Other Processes

7. Cell Biology

The course contains 10 lessons: 

  1. Introduction to Cells
  2. Chemical Composition
  3. Chemical Processes
  4. Genetic Information
  5. Membranes
  6. Nucleus
  7. Protein Structure and Function in the Cell
  8. Bioenergetics
  9. Cell Signaling/Communication
  10. The Cell Cycle and Tissue Formation

8. Anatomy and Physiology (Human Biology 1A)

There are 6 lessons as follows:

  1. Cells & Tissues -
    Explains the human body at a microscopic level, including the structure and function of cells, tissues and membranes.
  2. The Skeleton -
    Examines features of the human skeletal system.
  3. The Muscular System -
    Describes the human muscular system, in terms of structure and basic function.
  4. The Nervous System –
    Looks at the human nervous system, in terms of structure and basic functions.
  5. Digestion & Excretion -
    Explains different physiological systems of digestion and excretion in the body.
  6. Physiological Systems –
    Focuses on the different physiological systems of the body.

9. Statistics

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Distributions
  3. Measures of central tendency
  4. The Normal curve and Percentiles and Standard Scores
  5. Correlation
  6. Regression
  7. Inferential Statistics
  8. The t Test
  9. Analysis of variance
  10. Chi square test

10. Research Project 1

There are 7 lessons as follows:

  1. Determining Research Needs
  2. Searching For Information
  3. Research Methods
  4. Using Statistics
  5. Conducting Statistical Research
  6. Research Reports
  7. Reporting On A Research Project.


100 Hours of Industry Meetings:

Industry Meetings can be satisfied by showing documentary proof of attendance at a combination of seminars, conferences, trade shows and/or committee meetings.


You also need to choose a further four (5) modules from the following electives (or other relevant modules), to suit your needs or to tailor this course to your choice of subject material!

Children's Nutrition

There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction to Child Nutrition
  2. Nutrition for Pre-Pregnancy
  3. Nutrition in Pregnancy
  4. Nutrition in Infants
  5. Nutrition in Childhood
  6. Nutritional Concerns
  7. Healthy Eating Behaviours
  8. Issues in Child Nutrition
  9. Childhood Obesity
  10. Diet Plans

Sports Nutrition

There are 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Human and Sports Nutrition
  2. Energy
  3. Energy in the Athlete’s Body
  4. The Training Diet
  5. The Competition Diet
  6. Fluids
  7. The Athlete’s Body Composition
  8. Weight Management
  9. Training for Size and the Use of Sports Supplements

Nutrition for Weight Loss

There are nine lessons in this course as follows:

  1. Understanding Obesity -Causes, genetics, lifestyle, exercise, eating habits, affect of pregnancy, medical conditions, diseases, water, changes at different stages of life (adolescence, menopause, etc). Evaluation of Weight status & Body Composition
  2. Nutrition Basics ….revision of the basics, discussion of food sources, organic/inorganic; not just what you eat but how & when you eat…. Healthy digestion,,,,
  3. Diets -Fads, Fiction and Fact…. A review of a range of popular approaches to Weight Control – Starvation, Ketogenic Diets, Dieting. Crash diets, supplements, cleansing/elimination diets, Low carb diets, sweeteners, fat substitutes; Dangers
  4. Preventing Obesity
  5. Treating Obesity
  6. Modifying Eating Behaviour
  7. Restricting Calorie Intake
  8. Medical Conditions: Hormones, Drugs, Eating Disorders
  9. Planning a Diet

Theraputic Nutrition

There are 9 lessons in this module as follows:
  1. Introduction to Therapeutic Nutrition
  2. Allergies and Intolerances
  3. Diabetes
  4. Heart Disease, Hyperlipidemia and Arteriosclerosis
  5. Renal/Kidney Conditions
  6. Cancer
  7. Digestive Disorders & Diet - Oesophagus, Small Intestine, Colon
  8. Other Metabolic Conditions (eg. Liver, Gall bladder, Pancreas, etc)
  9. Strategic Diet planning for a medical condition

Research Project II

There are 6 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Identifying research issues
  2. Acquisition of technical information
  3. Specialised research techniques
  4. Research planning and designing
  5. Statistics
  6. Conducting research

Bioenergtics (Human Biology 1B)

There are 7 lessons as follows:

  1. Energy and Work -
    Explains how energy is used in the human body to create work and power
  2. Energy Pathways –
    Looks at energy pathways during rest, work and recovery
  3. The Acid-Base Balance -
    Explains the significance of the acid-base balance in the body
  4. Osmosis & Diffusion -
    Explains movement of materials in and out of living cells
  5. Atmospheric Pressure –
    Examines the affect of changing atmospheric pressure on the human body
  6. Temperature Regulation –
    Centres on temperature regulation in the body
  7. Ergogenic Aids to Performance –
    Examines ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise


Nutrition is the science of providing adequately for the various body processes. It involves the study of foods and their use to the body and in case of human nutrition, how foods may be used to satisfy the nutritional needs of humans.

Food is defined as any substance, solid or liquid, which provides materials for:

1. growth and repair (maintenance) of the body

2. energy production

3. regulation of the body processes

The materials or chemical components of food which have these functions are called NUTRIENTS. Almost no food contains only one nutrient, most are very complex substances. In order to maintain health, a person needs to be eating foods that provide sufficient variety of foods to obtain adequate amounts of all the necessary nutrients. With nutrition studies we also think about quantities of nutrients provided within each food. 

The following types of nutrients are found in foods and are considered in more detail later:

1.      Carbohydrates provide energy and excess can be stored as glucose.

2.      Fats provide energy.

3.      Proteins provide material for growth and repair of the body tissues (from amino-acids).

4.      Mineral elements provide substances for growth and maintenance and the regulation of body processes.

5.      Vitamins act as catalysts in chemical reactions.

6.      Water is the medium in which all chemical changes take place within the body.

Nutrients are of critical importance to us from conception to the time of death. A new-born baby weighs on average between 2.7-4.1kgs and the materials for their growth come from the mother's food. For some years after birth the child increases their size and weight dramatically and the food they eat has a considerable effect their physical and mental development. Although growth stages are not as quick in adulthood as in childhood and adolescence, throughout life, changes are continuously taking place within the body’s cells. Cells may be replaced or repaired. Nutritional needs change to meet these new requirements; this is why recommended intakes of many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are quite different between adults and children. 

During the complicated processes of growth and maintenance of the body’s cells, energy is constantly being used. It is required for almost every physiological and physical activity of the body. If weight is to be maintained, there must be a balance between total energy expended and that obtained from the food which is eaten. The energy needs of the body take precedence over the other needs in the use of nutrients. In addition to providing materials for the processes already mentioned, food provides materials for the regulation or control of these processes. Food is needed for the growth, maintenance and energy production processes and for the control of these processes.



A diet is the food and the quantities in which it is eaten, usually in a 24 hour day, and a balanced diet is one which provides adequate amounts of all the nutrients. Not everyone has the same requirement for each nutrient because there are times when we have different needs; periods of growth and of greater energy expenditure and differences in metabolic rate. Everyone must have a satisfactory food intake to provide the appropriate amounts of all nutrients.

An unsatisfactory food intake over a period of time resulting in a shortage or excess of a particular nutrient can lead to malnutrition. Deficiency diseases such as rickets, scurvy and anaemia are all forms of malnutrition caused by a diet lacking in a particular nutrient. Obesity or an unbalanced intake of fatty food over other food is another example of malnutrition.

Although the body has considerable power to adapt to reduced food intake, insufficient food intake over an extended period will lead to malnutrition and eventual death by starvation. In the earlier years of the 20th century many people had too little food available and signs of malnutrition were obvious. Today there is enough food available, for not only has the total quality of food available increased but it is generally more fairly shared. This is however, not the case in developing countries, where people continue to die of deficiency diseases and starvation at an alarming rate.

People's intake of food, either qualitatively or quantitatively, is subject to a number of determining factors, such as appetite, likes and dislikes, economic restraints, geographic conditions, religious and national customs. These factors may impede or improve well-being to some extent. There are generally so many different ways to obtain a healthy diet, that most restrictions, whether due to taste, culture or religion should not result in malnutrition. That is, the food comprising one person’s diet may be very different from someone else’s, but both diets may be balanced.

It is a remarkable fact that no matter what foods are eaten the composition of the body changes very little and within a few hours of the food being eaten, food materials are being used for growth and maintenance, energy production (metabolism) and the regulation of body processes. This transformation can only take place after the foods have been broken down mechanically and chemically into simple soluble substances. This is achieved by the processes that make up digestion that we have already discussed in some detail. Following digestion, the simple substances are absorbed through the intestinal wall and carried via the blood to the various parts of the body where their use is required. Every single cell in the body has access to the blood and the nutrients (and toxins) contained within it.


Metabolism is the name given to the complex chemical changes which occur in the body in order to keep cells and tissues alive. The components of foods that are not nutritionally useful are excreted as faeces. The waste products produced by the metabolism occurring in individual cells as well as any toxins in the blood are filtered out by the kidneys and excreted as urine.  

An individual's required food intake is directly related to their energy requirements and under normal circumstances the appetite is a guide to the quantity of food needed. Most people eat sufficient food to satisfy their hunger. This provides energy by the oxidation or 'burning' of the three major nutrients carbohydrates, fats and proteins, in that order of preference.  If an individual’s weight remains constant, energy received from their diet is equal energy that is being expended.

When food is eaten in excess of energy expenditure there is a gain in weight, as the excess glucose is converted into lipid and stored in cells called ‘lipocytes’ which together make up fat tissue or ‘adipose tissue’. In contrast, too little food will result in weight loss as the stored fat in the adipose tissue is converted to glucose and used as energy, and later, muscle wasting as the body retrieves protein to breakdown as a final attempt to generate energy. Please note the chemical reactions involved in these conversions are not necessary to learn or understand for the purpose of this course. Although those chemical reactions are beyond the lesson aim, it is important to understand complex processes exist and can be learned in further nutritional science studies. 

Some Tips for Weight Loss

We could suggest a huge list of foods to avoid and foods to consume to control weight, lose weight, alter weight… but modifying eating behaviour is not simply about modifying what we eat, people must think about and modify how they eat

Suggestions for improved eating behaviours:

  • Don’t eat on the run, eat meals sitting at a table and if possible with other people, to encourage eating to be pleasurable and avoid digestive problems. 
  • Eat small meals more often to avoid binging when hungry and to encourage only eating until feeling full. This will stabilise blood sugar levels. The longer someone goes without a meal the more blood sugar levels drop, as blood sugar levels drop, people experience sweet cravings.
  • Alter daily eating patterns to ensure the largest meal of the day is breakfast. In the morning the body has possibly not consumed any food for 12 hours, therefore at this time people are likely to feel most hungry and have the highest need for energy. It’s a good suggestion to eat when feeling hungry!
  • Eat less fast food by making time for food preparation and cooking. If still eating out, choose healthier options from alternative restaurants. 
  • Don’t eat after 6pm in the evening if possible. Blood gathers in the digestive organs and sleep quality is reduced as a result. 
  • Don’t snack in front of the TV. Drink water instead. 
  • Don’t cut out all food pleasures, this will only create a desire for things that are no longer available. 

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