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ACE2455 Sugar, Fat and Fad Diets: A No Nonsense Guide to Nutrition and Health (on campus only)

Started 6 Feb 2024

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

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 Practicalities:


Classes will be delivered on Tuesdays 7-9pm for eight weeks from 6th of February to 26th March 2024.

Location: Western Gateway Building, Room G13, UCC


Closing date for applications: Monday 29th of January 2024.


Course Content:

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 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.


Dr Niamh Walsh graduated from University College Cork with a BSc. in Nutritional Sciences. Niamh's research interests focus on public health nutrition, particularly at key life stages such as pregnancy, childhood and adolescence. Niamh worked as a fieldworker on the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative Study (COSI) collecting anthropometric measurements of school children across Cork and Kerry. Niamh completed her MSc. in the UCD Perinatal Research Centre at the National Maternity Hospital where her work focused on low calorie sweetener (LCS) intakes during pregnancy as well as the role of patient and public involvement in research (PPI). Niamh's PhD focused on micronutrient intakes in teenagers, with a particular emphasis on the role of fortified foods. Niamh has published and presented her work at numerous national and international conferences. 


Entry Requirements:

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

Contact Details for Further Information:


Please note our refund policy as follows
100% refund  if student cancels before course commencement
100% refund if student's course is cancelled due to insufficient numbers. 
If the student cancels after the first week of the course - full refund minus €50 processing fee 
If the student cancels after the second week of the course - no refund