Qualification - Certificate In Nutritional Counselling

Course CodeVRE009
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours


Obesity is a growing epidemic globally, it is becoming "normal" for people to have low energy levels, many people have high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes....  this needs to be addressed!

Many people have had tremendous success in improving their health with the support of a nutritional counsellor or health coach. Why? Because these services can provide a holistic approach to treating a person's health. As we know, health and well being is not just about what we eat and how we exercise (although this certainly helps!)... health and well being is also about our mental health - our thoughts, how we feel about ourselves, our habits and cognitive processes. By combining nutritional wisdom with psychology, counselling and coaching skills, you can offer your clients a complete service, that addresses the deeper issues that have led them to poor health in the first place - providing effective strategies to guide your clients to good health.
Why study here? ....ACS is different in many ways
  • Established since 1979, Internationally recognised (IARC)
  • Support from an international team of highly qualified health and nutrition experts
  • Courses are continually reviewed and revisions are happening every month of the year
  • Courses are "experiential" based learning (This is different to many other schools)

Duration: 600 hours


This course is made up of 6 modules: four compulsory and two elective:


Human Nutrition I  (BRE102)

There are nine lessons in this course as follows:

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

What You Will Do In This Course

-Distinguish between nutrition terms including: food, nutrition and diet.

-Distinguish between characteristics of all major food groups, including chemistry and foods which are a good source.

-Explain the significance of the major food groups, including: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Minerals, Vitamins.

-Label on unlabelled illustrations, parts of the digestive system.

-Explain the function of different parts of the digestive system.

-Distinguish between digestion and absorption of food.

-Explain the different layers of the digestive tract, including: mucosa, submucosa, muscularis, serosa.

-Explain 3 different physiological processes involved in absorption

-Explain how different hormones control the digestive process, including: gastri, gastric inhibitory peptide, secretin, cholecystokinin.

-Explain the action of three different digestive enzymes.

-Describe how the intake of different types of food may affect metabolic rate.

-List foods which are a common sources of carbohydrate.

-Explain three factors which affect the bodies demand for carbohydrate.

-List foods which are a common source of fats.

-Distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fats in the diet of a specific person.

-Develop a set of guidelines to determining appropriate fat intake, in accordance with an individual's specific requirements.

-Explain the role of protein in the body, including examples of two physiological processes involving protein.

-Explain the role of ten different minerals in the body.

-Explain the role of water in the body, for five different physiological processes.

-List factors which affect the body's requirement for water.

-Describe three different techniques used by health practitioners for determining food/nutrition disorders 

Human Nutrition II (Bre202)

The content of each of the eight lessons is 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

What You Will Do In This Course

- Explain reasons for cooking food.

- Compare different methods of cooking food in terms of their effect on both health and nutrition.

- Explain the effects on nutrition of cooking different types of foods, for different periods of time.

- Distinguish between function, effects, and chemistry of different types of food additives, in food preparation, including: *Colours  *Preservatives  *Antioxidants  *Vegetable gums  *Flavourings  *Thickeners  *Anti caking agents  *Bleaches  *Emulsifiers  *Humectants  *Food acids  *Mineral salts.

- Explain how "freshness" of different specified foods impacts upon nutrient status of those foods.

- Explain how physical treatment of different specified foods (eg. cutting or crushing) may affect the benefit of that food, including: *digestibility  *keeping quality  *nutrient status.

- Explain freezing of food, in terms of the process, function and affects.

- Analyse in a report the effects of food additives found in three different supermarket food items.

- Explain problems that may result from food additives including: *allergic reactions   *hyperactivity

- Demonstrate five different food processing techniques, by independently preparing samples to a commercial standard.

- Compare recommended dietary intake information from three different sources.

- Explain how food requirements vary, in terms of components and quality, at different ages, including:  *babies  *children  *teenagers  *young adults  *elderly people.

- Explain nutrient disorders associated with three different significant vitamin imbalances, including vitamin B complex, vitamin C, and one other vitamin.

- Evaluate two different people the learner is familiar with, with respect to vitamin intake, lifestyle and health status, to determine if vitamin B & C needs are being satisfied.

- List food sources of calcium in order of richest to poorest source.

- Distinguish nutrient disorders associated with calcium and iron imbalances, in terms of diagnosis and significance.

- Evaluate the diets of two different people, with respect to mineral intake, lifestyle and health status, to determine if mineral requirements including calcium and iron needs, are being met.

- Develop a questionnaire to analyse the dietary requirements of a person.

- Recommend  aspects of diet which could be improved for individuals analysed. 

Human Nutrition III  (BRE302)

The content of each lesson is outlined below:‑

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

What You Will Do In This Course

Prepare a questionnaire/form to monitor individuals’ eating and health over a period of time.

You will be required to submit the completed forms together with your analysis.

Explain the significance of diet to cancer in adults over the age of 40.

Explain the effect of the following five different foods on the teeth and gums: chocolate, white bread, a tossed salad without dressing, steak, chocolate milk shake.

Prepare a list of guidelines for healthy dental hygiene procedures, including both dietary and other practices.

Investigate the fibre content in the diet of four different people.

Explain possible implications of inadequate fibre in the diet, for the following three different demographic groups: teenagers, 13-15 years of age, adult office workers, 40-50 years of age, pregnant women.

Explain inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in the case of a pregnant 30 year old woman who suffers mild ulcerative colitis and does not suffer any signs of Crohn's disease.

Life Coaching (BPS305)

The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction: Nature and scope of life coaching
  2. Individual perceptions
  3. A well-balanced life
  4. Coaching processes
  5. Coaching skills
  6. Coaching and physical well-being
  7. Coaching and psychological well-being
  8. Coaching success
  9. Goal-setting
  10. Review and adjustment

What You Will Do In This Course

*Identify principles that differentiate life coaching from other helping professions.

*Do case studies to reflect on and/or observe the effects of different life-coaching approaches on improving a person’s quality of life.

*Design and administer a questionnaire  to research some effects of negative aspects of self-perception.

*Discuss the importance of balancing a client’s limitations and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zones

*Examine the relationship and interaction between a person's mental/psychological and physical health and wellbeing.

*Consider how to deal with clients with special needs such as disabilities.

*Identify the processes involved in life coaching and describe what each can contribute to a client's personal growth and development.

*Discuss ways individuals might resist life changes and ways to facilitate change.

*Discuss the pros and cons of assertiveness training.

*Identify reasons that individuals are unable to make decisions.

*Explain the importance of listening to the client and how to do it.

*Consider factors that might make a life coach’s personal skill repertoire ineffectual.

*Research factors that must be considered when setting out a life coaching plan to promote physical health, and psychological health.

*Identify crucial information to be included in the development of a client’s plan.

*Discuss ways to nurture a client's goal setting, planning and self-monitoring skills .           

*Explain how the life-coach can monitor the effectiveness of his/her program for a client.

*Create and evaluate an action plan for a real person/client, including monitoring.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Certificate In Nutritional Counselling.
 Human Nutrition and Food 1 BRE102
 Human Nutrition II BRE202
 Human Nutrition III (Disease & Nutrition) BRE302
 Life Coaching BPS305
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 7 modules.
 Anatomy and Physiology (Human Biology 1A) BSC101
 Biochemistry I (Animal) BSC103
 Introduction To Psychology BPS101
 Nutrition For Weight Control BRE210
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Child & Baby Nutrition BRE304
 Sports Nutrition BRE303

Note that each module in the Qualification - Certificate In Nutritional Counselling is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


 Balance is the key to a well rounded individual. We require –

  • A good balance of work and play
  • A balanced diet
  • Well balanced relationships – built on communication and respect.

As a human you are interconnected psychologically and physically. In other words, your emotional state will affect your physical well being and vice versa. Individuals who maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly will readily vouch the benefits to their level of energy, motivation and more positive attitude.

Individuals who make time to rest and relax - be it to sit and read a book, meditate or simply indulge in a relaxing bath at the end of the day will also sing the benefits of calm and quiet time.

Individuals who proactively tackle personal problems - be it an interpersonal conflict, a financial predicament or a problem stemming from many years ago - will feel emotionally less burdened and more in control of their lives.

The foundation of life coaching is the understanding of what makes a well-rounded individual – both psychologically and physically. It is therefore essential to impart this knowledge to the client in relevant and practical terms.

Other Inter-Relations between Psychology and Physiology


Most of us are aware that there is a relationship between levels of stress and physical well-being. Under stressful conditions we take behavioural and physical (autonomic) action. Our brains become aroused and the nervous system is excited. High levels of corticosteroids are secreted in order to mobilise metabolic resources in the body. Under most circumstances we are able to avoid the stressor and hence reduce our levels of stress back down to tolerable levels.

However, where we are unable to do this, it results in a persistent state of arousal. For example, if we were working under a boss who made us feel under stress the whole time, we might not be able to walk out because of the need for an income. In such cases our stress system would be working under ‘open loop’ conditions where there is no effective coping strategy. Hence the result is stress.

Cognitive processes play a role in stress. Some of these cognitive stressors include:

  • a disparity between an actual and an expected reward
  • the loss of something such as a job
  • difficulty balancing financial accounts
  • engaging in inner dialogues on failure
  • etc

These stressors are characterised by such features as ‘informational discrepancy’ or lack of cognitive or behavioural resources. Behavioural indices of stress might be reinforced by statements such as ‘I really feel that I cannot cope anymore’.

Physical disturbances such as stretching of the bladder or blood loss also result in an increase in corticosteroids.

Consequences of Stress

If we are stressed and in a sedentary position (e.g. we are angry at the boss but we cannot fight or flee) then fatty substances known as lipids which are released into the bloodstream cannot be fully metabolised and tend to gather on the walls of arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis. 

Similarly, excessive levels of corticosteroids over a long period can damage the immune and nervous systems. There are interactions between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. However, we should never assume that psychological factors are all-important and the causation of illnesses such as cancer. The psychological effect is only one of many factors that influences the immune system and so consequently can contribute to disease.

The Immune System

Stress can inhibit or ‘down-regulate’ the immune system. This has been noted with chronic stressors such as divorce, bereavement, sleep deprivation, exams, and war.

However, stressors sometimes boost the immune system, or they can depress one part of the immune system but boost another. We must also consider that stressors can exert an effect on the immune system through other routes. For example, divorce or bereavement might result in less sleep, relaxation and exercise and an increase in cigarette and alcohol consumption which has an independent effect on disease. Also, by changes in physiology, some stressors can influence disease other than through the immune system. It is known for example that some stressors result in a reduction in saliva in the mouth which can reduce protection in the oral cavity (Evans et al., 1997).

Personality and Heart Disease

Friedman and Rosenman (1959) identified Type A and Type B personalities. A number of studies have found a significant correlation between Type A behaviour patterns and coronary heart disease. Type A is characterised by feeling under excessive time-pressure, aggressively competitive, overly-ambitious, and easily aroused to hostility by situations perceived as being trivial to Type B personalities. Type A’s also veer towards individualism and accomplishment which tends to promote isolation rather than interpersonal connection. They have a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system and an under-active parasympathetic nervous system. There is high secretion of corticosteroids and high blood cholesterol which results in a tendency towards heart attacks. Obviously not everyone is Type A or Type B but most people tend to exhibit aspects of each.

Not all Type A behaviour may be significant in the onset of heart disease. It would seem that hostility is the most important factor.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Ulcers

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disturbance of contractions of the gut organised by the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS is a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system, responsible for controlling the gastrointestinal system. Stress, whose effects are mediated via the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system is a causal factor implicated in this.

Peptic ulcers would seem to be caused by an interaction of psychological factors and bacterial infection.

Ways to Stay Healthy

By recognising stress we can avoid situations that bring it about and maximise situations that bring about the opposite response. We can unlearn behaviour that brings about a hostile response.

Also, for some disorders social isolation poses a greater risk than for those who are happily socially integrated. Defence against stress is also provided by a happy social environment. Where people have a sense of belonging, they tend to form part of a social network that is harmonious and gives them meaning in life and enables them to predict, control and cope. Goals become acceptable and attainable within a social network and the person values friendship above the acquisition of material resources (Friedman 1996).

Culture can also have a large impact. Japanese culture emphasises social interaction, inter-dependence, stability, cohesion and group values far more than Western culture. Marmot and Syme (1976) carried out a study and found that Japanese people living a traditional lifestyle, but living in California, had a five times lower rate of coronary heart disease than Californians.

Meditation has been linked to a reduction in sympathetic nervous system domination and hyper-arousal (Bracke and Thoresen, 1996). The parasympathetic contribution is simultaneously strengthened.

Owning a pet also seems to have a positive correlation with mental health. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and lower levels of fatty substances in the blood compared to non pet owners (Anderson et. al., 1992). There is no difference between types of pet so walking the dog cannot explain this phenomenon.

There is some (though rather weak) evidence that thinking positively can also help cancer patients. Sustained aerobic exercise can actually help prevent heart disease and also alleviate depression and anxiety.

There are lots of alternative ways to alleviate stress. For example:

  • A massage once in a while is known to eliminate stress and make a person more relaxed.
  • Reiki is a form of healing which focuses on the sense of touch for healing purposes both physical and psychological.
  • Yoga stretches and strengthens the body and calms the mind to help relaxation.
Acupuncture balances out the energy in the body and can induce relaxation
Why People Do this Course
  • Learn Human Nutrition at Home -Online course, or distance education
  • Learn what food is healthy
  • Start a business or find employment helping others manage their diet
  • Recognised internationally through International Accreditation and Recognition Council
  • Graduates qualify to join the Association of Coaching and /or Complimentary Medicine Association (UK)
  • Pathways available to continue studies toward higher qualifications (including Advanced Diplomas with HSA and degrees)
  • Graduates may find work in
    • health support and complimentary medicine
    • life coach or nutritional advisor
    • weight management, health and fitness
    • food service, processing and supply enterprises (everything from catering to health food shops)
Note: In some countries, and in some high level jobs (eg. Hospital dietician), you may need a university degree or higher. This course is equivalent to less than 20% of such a qualification

Why Choose This Course

  • Courses are revised annually so our students learn up-to-date theory
  • We work to help you understand and remember information – not just pass exams!
  • Our courses are designed to enable your new skills to be applied in the real world
  • You will develop networks and contacts with like-minded individuals in your field
  • Start any time, study at your own pace, study from anywhere
  • Don’t waste time and money travelling to and from classes
  • More choices in your assignments giving you options to focus on parts of the subject which interest you most
  • Tutors are accessible; your tutor will interact with you one-to-one.
  • Support means if you find a task you can’t do, we will help you through it or give you another option.
  • Additional guidance after graduation, advice on getting work, starting a business, putting a CV together. We promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet.

How You Study

  • When you enrol, we send you an email that explains it all.
  • Watch our short online orientation media clip, as the Principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access support services
  • You are either given access to your course online, CD-rom or course materials through the mail (by courier).
  • You work through lessons one by one. Each lesson has at least four parts:
    • An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
    • Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
    • Set Task(s) -These are practical, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
    • Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
    • Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
  • You are given access to and encouraged to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
  • You are provided with a "student manual" which you can refer to if and when needed. It provides a quick solution to most problems that might occur (some people never need to use this; but if you are studying late at night & have a problem, the manual provides a first port of call that can often get you moving again).

Recognition & Credibility

  • ACS is known and highly respected internationally by employers and academics alike
  • Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
  • ACS has been training people around the world since 1979
  • Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
  • Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
  • A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.

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