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ACE2361 Sugar, Fat and Fad Diets: Introduction to Nutrition and Health (Evening, UCC on-campus delivery only) is a Course

ACE2361 Sugar, Fat and Fad Diets: Introduction to Nutrition and Health (Evening, UCC on-campus delivery only)

Starts Jan 31, 2023

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Full course description

Course Overview

We will learn about fat, sugar, protein, vitamins and minerals as they relate to health. We will explore the scientific basis of some hot topics and alternative diets in nutrition (e.g. paleo diet, organic food, and the recent rise in orthorexia). We will also examine the link between nutrition and common Western diseases and discuss issues like overweight and obesity, food labelling and allergies. Practical activities will include studying food labels, calculating calorie requirements and learning how to accurately take height, weight and blood pressure measurements.Underpinning all this is a grounded nutritional science perspective from experienced UCC tutors who look to the scientific evidence for answers. We hope this course will help participants separate nutritional fact from fiction, and give them the confidence to make healthy food choices in their own lives going forward.


This course is taught by scientists who have specialised in nutrition. They will discuss current nutrition topics of interest in the context of the available scientific evidence. Participants on the course will gain a deeper understanding of the principles of nutrition, and how to apply these to everyday life to maintain or improve their health. Classes are lecture-based, with accompanying presentation slides. Open discussion is encouraged. Classes include practical activities where possible to encourage student participation and enhance the learning experience.


Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered on Tuesdays 7-9pm for eight weeks from 31 January to 21 March 2023

Location: Western Gateway Building, UCC. Room G08



Closing date for applications: Monday 23 January 2023



As the course content is partly determined by the interests of the course participants, the series of lectures may change slightly from year to year. Typically, the 8 lectures comprise:

Week 1  Fat and sugar – friends or foes?

Week 2  The role of vitamins and minerals in health

Week 3  Nutritional needs from infancy to old age

Week 4  Western diseases: Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Type II Diabetes

Week 5  Physical activity and introduction to sports nutrition

Week 6 Obesity and overweight (including physical measurements)

Week 7  Food labelling and food allergies/intolerances

Week 8  Hot topics in nutrition (nutrition in the media)


Course Lecturers

Dr Colette O'Neill has a strong background in nutritional sciences [BSc (Nutritional Sciences); PhD (Nutrition)]. She has completed her PhD in 2015 in the area of nutrition, healthy ageing and cardiovascular disease at the University of East Anglia, UK. She is currently carrying out research in the area of vitamin D at UCC.

Dr Aoife McNamara has a strong background in nutritional sciences [BSc (Human Nutrition); PhD (Nutritional Metabolomics)]. She has completed her PhD in 2019 in the area of specific food biomarkers of dietary intake in University College Dublin. She has also completed research in dietary patterns, dietary intakes of preschool children, dietary supplementation influence on breastmilk composition and dietaray intake and mental health. She is currently carrying out research in the area of iron deficiency in pregnancy and early infancy at UCC. She has lectured in the area of Nutritional assessment, Critical thinking for scientific writing, Nutrition for physiology, Omic technologies for nutrition in UCD previously and Fundamentals for nutrition in UCC.


Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Contact Details for Further Information