Health, Diet And Nutritional Studies (Level 5)


Course Code EDOCCLHBF23

Course Overview

A distance learning course is the ideal way to gain a qualification Level 5 Diploma in Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies. Whether you're looking to go on to further education, improve your job prospects or expand your knowledge, distance learning Level 5 Diploma in Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies is a flexible and convenient course, which allows you to comprehensively prepare for a Level 5 Diploma in Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies exam or career through home study. What's more, because the distance learning Level 5 Diploma in Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies course is a fully comprehensive course, no prior knowledge is required.

Health, Diet and Nutrition are essential aspects of life. This internationally recognised qualification, can equip you with the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career within this rapidly growing industry. This Level 5 Diploma covers specially selected units which confer both transferable skills and essential knowledge. Whether students are looking to further their knowledge or move onto a new career path, this qualification is invaluable. Upon completion, students are eligible to register for membership with the Complimentary Medical Association.

On successful completion of this course, the students will be awarded 240 UCAS points.


What Could I Do After Taking This Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies Course?

With relevant Experience and Qualifications, you can go on to become a Nutritionist. Nutritionists carry out research and use scientific knowledge to provide information and advice about the effects of food and nutrition on health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in healthy eating and want to help improve people's wellbeing, this job could be perfect for you. Nutritionists need to be able to relate to people from all backgrounds. They need to inspire and motivate people. They also need a non-judgemental attitude.

As a nutritionist, you would work closely with dieticians and other health professionals, such as pharmacists, GPs, and hospital or community diet and nutrition teams.

As a nutritionist working in the NHS you will usually start on Band 5 with a salary between £21,692 and £28,180 a year.
In the food industry your salary will depend on your experience and your role. You will usually earn around £20,000 to £50,000 a year.*
*Figures are intended as a guideline only.​​​


Course Features

Your Health, Diet And Nutritional Studies (Level 5) Course:

    This internationally recognised qualification, can equip you with the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career within this rapidly growing industry. This course specially selected units which confer both transferable skills and essential knowledge.

Study Time

Study Hours are an approximate figure and are dependant upon how much time you can dedicate to your studies and how well you grasp the learning concepts in the course material. Furthermore, at the end of each lesson there is a question paper that needs to be completed and returned to your tutor. You should allow at least 1 - 2 hours of study to complete each question paper.

The approximate amount of time required to complete the Health, Diet And Nutritional Studies (Level 5) course is: 960 Hours

Study Time
Please select the average number of hours you can study per week.
Hours per Week
Completion Time (weeks)
* Please note that these are approximate figures.
Key Topics
  • Unit 1: Using ICT in Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies  
  • Unit 2: Understanding health and wellbeing  
  • Unit 3: Understanding disease processes  
  • Unit 4: Promoting health  
  • Unit 5: Anatomy and physiology in health and disease part 1  
  • Unit 6: Anatomy and physiology in health and disease part 2  
  • Unit 7: Body chemistry and organisation  
  • Unit 8: Pathology, immunology and epidemiology  
  • Unit 9: Digestion, nutrition and the psychology of appetite
  • Unit 10: The science of nutrition
  • Unit 11: Energy and nutrition
  • Unit 12: Weight loss, dieting and weight gain
  • Unit 13: Food safety
  • Unit 14: Treating ailments and illnesses through nutrition
  • Unit 15: Diets and dieting
  • Unit 16: Eating disorders and nutrition for special populations

When you have completed the programme, your tutor needs to verify that you have worked through all parts of any Workbooks, Activities and Exercises successfully.

Upon verification of the activities, exercises and assignments, you will be awarded your diploma by ABC Awards as confirmation that your written work has met all of the learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the programme.

Entry Requirements
Level 3 Diploma

All students must be 17 years of age and above. Students should have completed a Level 3 Diploma or an A level standard course (or equivalent) before the Level 5 qualification.

You have the freedom to start the course at any time and continue your studies at your own pace for a period of up to 12 months from initial registration with full tutor support.

The students are required to provide a photocopy of their Photo ID and Qualification after they enrol

Home Study Support

You will be provided with comprehensive materials - Online, designed to provide you with everything required to complete your course of study. You will have your own personal tutor helping you with your course work and with any questions you may have. Plus you can contact our Student Advisors by email or phone for all the practical advice you may need – so we really are with you 100%.  

What's more, you'll have access to the online student portal, where you can interact with other students, browse our resource library and manage your account.

Home Study Resources

You will be provided with comprehensive materials designed to provide you with everything required to complete your course of study. Your course fee covers all textbooks, study folders, and/or online learning aids designed for distance learning.

This Level 5 Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies Course pack includes the Student Handbook with all relevant information that you would need to successfully complete the course.


Level 5 Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies Diploma

Points Awarded : 240 UCAS Points

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a accredited certificate from CIE and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units the learner has completed as part of the course).

The course has been endorsed accredited by CIE. This means that the provider has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future.

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 5 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning to meet specific learners' and/or employers' requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. The CIE certificates involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

Possible Career Path

Nutritionists carry out research and provide evidence-based information and advice about the effects of food and nutrition on health and wellbeing. As a nutritionist, you would work closely with dietitians and other health professionals (such as pharmacists, GPs, hospital or community-based dietetic and nutrition teams). Your work could include:

  • practical nutrition research projects
  • recruiting volunteers to take part in trials
  • processing and analysing biological samples
  • raising awareness and educating colleagues in the health field on the benefits of healthy eating and the latest research
  • targeting healthy eating campaigns at particular groups (or geographical areas) such as young mothers or low-income families
  • giving talks and delivering presentations on the results of project trials
  • working to make healthy food such as fruit and vegetables more easily available
  • gathering statistics and judging the success of projects.

Find out more about the Job Role for Nutritionist .

What's Included

Our online courses are fully digitised so you can study on any smart device. Your learning programme is completely flexible so you can study at a pace that suits you. All our content is broken down into bite size chunks to make your learning more manageable and effective. Your course of study is broken down into units and sections, each of which contains lessons, activities and test papers. Courses are delivered on our Digital Learning Environment allowing you to study from anywhere on any smart device as long as you have access to the Internet. The course concludes by preparing you for examination using past papers in your chosen subject.

As a student, your course fee covers everything you will need to successfully complete the Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies home study course and earn your award:

  • Online study materials to enable the student to successfully complete the course.
  • Completion Certificate
  • Tutor marked assessments (TMAs)
  • Access to the online student portal (Student Chat, Forums and Online Support Resources)
  • NUS Extra Card (discounted membership)
  • One year educational support by e-mail.

You can also choose to pick from following while you are enrolling and avail the services at a highly discounted price for our students.


Makes your assignment submission and study on the move an absolute breeze. Available at a reduced price of £69.99 (RRP £99) to all students who enrol on 2 or more courses and pay for their course in full at the time of enrolment. Download your study materials and turn commuting time into profitable study time.

See the Specifications of the 'Android Tablet'


Reordering a course pack, if you have damaged yours, can be costly. You can usually expect to pay a huge price for a copy. The 12 month insurance Cover will meet the cost for you if your pack was damaged. We will send out another Course Pack at no extra cost if you send us a proof of the damaged course.

See the details of '12 Month Course Insurance '.


We support our students even after they have graduated from the college. Learning for Life Services include:

  • 1. Academic Reference: We are often asked to provide references for students by employers or colleges and universities. The aims of an academic reference are to confirm facts (confirm accuracy of statements made in any application) and to provide relevant opinion on the candidate's aptitude and ability.

  • 2. CV Refresh Service: When you successfully complete your course you will be entitled to our CV refresh service. We will update your current CV to ensure that your new skills and achievements are presented to the highest standard. We will also add your CV to databank of our sister company

  • 3. 25% off Courses: *(This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers)

    For all students who successfully complete their course, you will be entitled to 25% off any future courses through eDistance Learning or it's partners.

    Furthermore this offer will be extended to your family and friends.

  • See details on 'Learning for Life'

Further Information
Award Level: Level 5 Diploma

Awarding Body: CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)

Format: Online / Paper

If your course is being delivered online, please ensure you meet the minimum requirements below.

For Windows:
Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 - Acrobat Reader 4.0 and above

For Macintosh:
Mac OS X, Mac OS 9.2 - Acrobat Reader 4.0 and above

In the student 'On Campus' you are also able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community. After enrolling online you will receive your username and password to access the On Campus area within 5 working days. You will also receive your personal student number via email. 

From time to time we may enrol our students with our partner sites; this is dependent on the number of students enrolling on a particular course and course material availability. If this happens, nothing changes for you other than the name of the college administering your course. We will continue to be your point of contact; you will get the exact same course you have enrolled on with the same high level of quality content and support.

This course can be enrolled upon by students internationally. There are no deadlines for enrolments.


Step One: It's simple - all you need to do now is choose whether you want to pay in instalments or in full and then click on the relevant enrolment button at the top of this page.

Step Two: Once you have selected your payment option to enrol you will be redirected (this can take a few seconds) to our PayPal payment page for you to select your payment method and complete your enrolment.

Step Three: Within 7 days (normally 48 hours) your enrolment papers and course materials will be with you. A tutor and a dedicated support advisor will also be allocated to you.

That's it..... Thanks and wishing you the best of luck with your studies.

Professional Membership

About CIE (Cambridge International Examinations)

The international qualifications by CIE are recognised by the world’s best universities and employers, giving students a wide range of options in their education and career. They deliver high-quality educational programmes that can unlock learners’ potential. Their programmes and qualifications set the global standard for international education. They are created by subject experts, rooted in academic rigour and reflect the latest educational research. They provide a strong platform for learners to progress from one stage to the next, and are well supported by teaching and learning resources.


What is a Level 4 Diploma Equivalent to?

Level 4 qualifications recognise specialist learning and involve detailed analysis of a high level of information and knowledge in an area of work or study. Learning at this level is appropriate for people working in technical and professional jobs, and/or managing and developing others. Level 4 qualifications are at a level equivalent to Certificates of Higher Education.

What is a Level 5 Diploma equivalent to?

Level 5 qualifications recognise the ability to increase the depth of knowledge and understanding of an area of work or study to enable the formulation of solutions and responses to complex problems and situations. Learning at this level involves the demonstration of high levels of knowledge, a high level of work expertise in job roles and competence in managing and training others. Qualifications at this level are appropriate for people working as higher grade technicians, professionals or managers. Level 5 qualifications are at a level equivalent to intermediate Higher Education qualifications

Can I re-sit the exam if I fail?

You can take an online exam re-sit within 3 months of taking the exam, or before the end of your course, whichever is sooner. There is a £150 charge to re-sit the exam.

What is the duration of the course?

Our Level 4 Diplomas last for 1 year from the date of enrolment. All studies and the online exam must be completed within the 1 year time frame.

Can I extend the course if I don’t finish in time?

We do offer a course extension programme where Level 4 Diploma courses can be extended for £75 per month for up to 3 months. The extension period starts from the expiry date of the course.

Can I get into university with a Level 4 Diploma?

Most universities require UCAS points to gain entry. Some universities accept Level 4 Diplomas. We urge you to check the entry requirements of your chosen college/university/employer before enrolling on a course with us.

When will I receive my course?

If you have paid in full and opted for the Online version, the course access will be emailed to you within 48 hours. The paper version will take 3 weeks after you have received the online version and are happy with the course contents.

For students, who choose to pay in instalments - you are required to complete the necessary agreement before the course is emailed to you.

Will I get a certificate on completion of my course?

You will receive a certificate from the College. A digital version is included in the price and will be emailed to you within 5 days of taking your online exam.

Should you require an embossed hard copy of your certificate to be sent to you by Special Delivery post, you can order this separately after taking your exam.

How do I contact my tutor and submit assignments?

All our tutors are working professionals in their chosen fields and prefer to be contacted by email. In this way they can record your questions and progress.

Will my tutor answer my support requests quickly?

Yes, all tutors aim to give you feedback on your assignments within 10 working days. However, you do not usually have to wait this length of time.

Are there any exams?

Most of our courses are designed to be completed through assessments so you are not required to take exams except for A Levels and some Bookkeeping courses. However, as mentioned elsewhere, the arrangement for a centre at which to sit your exams is for you to make.

How does distance learning work?

To ensure studying is flexible and convenient, most of our courses are divided into sections. You work through each section at your own pace and time. Once completed, send the test paper back to your personal tutor for marking. You will then move onto the next section once successfully completing the previous section. The support period is dependent on the type of course you choose; our minimum support period is one year.

When can I start the course?

The answer is simple, when YOU want; you can start the course at any time we do not have any set enrolment dates. Most of our courses don’t require any previous experience or qualifications. All you need is a desire and motivation to succeed. You can even start right now - call and speak to one of our Professional Course Advisors.

How long do the courses take?

This is dependent upon your choice of course and how fast you want to learn. A full breakdown of the course is available in your course literature. We do provide estimated number of study hours; ask our course advisors for details.

I want to buy a course that is not on the course list. What do I do?

Our website has an excellent list of the most popular courses on the market. However, we do have access to a more in-depth portfolio should you not find the course you are looking for. You can call our course advisors and discuss the course you are interested in.

Do the courses have tutorial support?

Yes, You will be allocated an experienced tutor who will guide you through the course, mark your assignments and generally help you with any problems you may have. Your tutors can be contacted via email and post. Please note that some of the courses do not have tutor support. Please check the course literature for details

Is the course work done online or sent via the internet?

Most of our courses are available in both Online & Paper formats. You can choose the way your want to study and submit your course work

Is there a time limit or any deadlines?

We do like you to complete the course within the tutor support period but we can extend this for a small charge (currently £65). If you follow the recommended study hours, this will give you a good guide to complete the course withim the specified time period.

I wish to cancel my course. How do I do this?

If you have decided that this is not the right type of course for you you may cancel your course, in writing, within the first seven days of having received it. You then need to return your materials to the address printed on the course pack. This is at your own expense and we would advise that you return the materials by a traceable service, as this is your responsibility until we receive the materials. Once we have received the materials, in good condition, we will organise a refund cheque to be sent to you. Please note that an admin fee will apply. If you required your materials to be delivered abroad, the additional postage charge will not be refunded.

Do I have to buy any other materials?

Our comprehensive course materials are designed to be self-contained with all the relevant information you require to complete the course and gain the relevant certification. However some of our students undertake additional reading via relevant textbooks/study guides and/or the Internet to add value to their studies.

I’m not sure of what course I should take? Can you help?

Yes we can, it is important that you pursue a course which you will enjoy. Although we cannot make this decision for you, we employ a team of dedicated Professional Course Advisors, who will guide you towards making the right choice. Whether you want specific information, or just a chat about what’s available, contact us now.

Why choose eDistance Learning?

The breadth and depth of our portfolio of courses means that we will have a course to interest you. We are committed to your success, and offer advice and support through every step of the process. We have a dedicated team of Professional Course Advisors that can give you access to career and recruitment advice, whilst offering excellent value and quality courses.

Please contact us if you have not found the answer you are looking for.

Course Outline

How is the course structured?

The Level 5 Diploma in Health, Diet & Nutritional Studies course is divided into sixteen comprehensive units:

Unit 1: Using ICT in Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies

Information, communication and technology (ICT) comprises core skills for learning. In this distance learning course utilisation of methods, tools and strategies of ICT is important in order to establish and maintain a sound working relationship with tutors and the college. Students will need to develop ICT skills in order to communicate effectively and maximise their study progression.

The first unit explains how to set up an ePortfolio which students will use during the lifetime of the course for storage of all their files including coursework, self-assessment activities, independent research notes and reflective journals. The ePortfolio may be requested from time to time by tutors and moderators. Students will be asked at various points in the course to upload files for this purpose. The ePortfolio will not only provide students with a structured system of unique information but once completed can be used as a resource for continuing professional development (CPD), and a body of revision for future studies.

Independent research is fundamental to level 5 study and also equips students with confidence to source and evaluate information relevant to the core course topics. In this first unit students are presented with tools and strategies with which to begin to undertake independent research and integrate this into coursework activities, for example suggesting ways to read research articles and assimilate types of information from these.

The development of knowledge and understanding through writing skills is important for communicating ideas and arguments to tutors and other readers of written work. Therefore this unit reviews writing skills, and incorporates reflective writing into both the course and coursework activities. Reflective writing is a way that individuals can review their own approaches to learning and communication; and it also promotes pro-active implementation of skills enhancement through tutor feedback and self-assessment.

Unit 2: Understanding health and wellbeing

There are many influencing factors which contribute to an individual’s perceived or actual state of health. Within this section we will explore some of the key factors. The social sciences are usually concerned with the study of human patterns of behaviour, activities and experiences of groups and communities and how those groups are organized into societies . The aspects of the social sciences that we should be concerned with in our studies and relevant to those working within health fields are: lifestyle choices and activities that people choose and that affect their wellbeing, this is also related to ethnicity, gender and social class. In addition the individuals’ personal development within their social group and community will affect their experiences, so this is a key factor as well.

The biological aspects involve understanding how the body works, health and disease and lifestyle; all these being related to what sort of care requirements they may need or seek.

Psychological aspects are concerned with the human mind, including thoughts and emotions that may influence actions, behaviours, and again, lifestyle choices. The following diagram shows how some of the social aspects of individuals are classified in groups. Many of these overlap and are certainly related to each other. All these factors are explored in the unit and relevant theories, models and legislation discussed

The quality of diet in general has deteriorated in recent years and more people are consuming highly processed foods, together with convenience meals in growing quantities. In addition the consumption of high sugar drinks and low fibre content foods is adding to the obesity problem amongst the general population. Portion size is becoming an increasing problem and contributing factor to obesity and the predisposition to chronic disease associated with being overweight such as coronary heart disease and Type II diabetes. Obesity also contributes to other serious health problems such as specific cancers, osteoarthritis, asthma, low back pain, sleep apnoea (not being able to breathe normally when asleep), fertility problems and a whole host of other conditions. This unit will explore factors which may affect diet such as socio-economic, demographic and ethnicity influences

Physical inactivity is known to contribute, not only to obesity but also to the risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, Type II diabetes, stress, anxiety states and depression. Exercise is also fundamental in maintaining health bones and in the prevention of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in later life. This unit discusses many of the conditions related to inactivity as a risk factor

Smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable disease in the UK and is bereft of any healthy benefits; in fact it predisposes to development of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer because of the intake of carbon monoxide, nicotine and tar. Alcohol and drug use is a part of normal social life to some people, however taken in excess they will almost certainly result in detrimental health effects. Binge drinking is becoming a significant problem in modern life and impacts health and social care services to disproportionate levels. These three key addictions are briefly discussed and associated issues of health and wellbeing explored.

Unit 3: Understanding disease processes

Defining health is a difficult and subjective issue; it could simply be an absence of disease or disease symptoms, to other individuals it may be a snapshot of how they feel at any given time and may even be when diagnosed disease exists. Disease likewise is just as difficult to define but in 2003 the World Health Organization introduced the 10 th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) which is a framework for disease categorization and statistical reference. Each disease is coded and grouped in one of 4 sub-categories. Another more simplistic way of categorization is to describe diseases as being physical, mental or social. In this unit we look at the classification of disease

Diagnosis is normally done by assessing the signs, symptoms and clinical features that a person presents with and that fits the ‘normal’ aetiology or pattern of that particular disease. Early diagnosis is the most effective weapon against disease and the spread of disease. There are many common diagnostic processes, tests and procedures. This unit presents examples of common diagnostic tests and procedures

Gathering data is an importance process in the field of public health as it not only provides a snapshot in time of current health status of populations and communities but also identifies trends and potential problems. This section of the unit looks at how data are gathered and evaluated. It also explores the applications of this gathered data and how the outcomes might influence health and wellbeing

When people experience ill health, many of these facets are linked and therefore it important that they are treated holistically rather than concentrating on a set of symptoms. The medical model is seen as a rather negative approach but has remained a powerful view in society, probably due to its link to pathology of disease and ‘scientific’ basis. The holistic approach or view takes into account all aspects of an individual’s life and therefore can give a more definitive view of someone’s state of health. For example a person with a controlled disease or disability may consider themselves to be healthy; but according to the medical model of health status measurement, they would not be. The unit looks at the different models of health and disease.

Unit 4: Promoting health

Health promotion is a collaborative process; as well as involvement by public health departments, the NHS and local provisions; there are many ways in which individuals can take responsibility for improving their own health and maintaining a positive status. This module examines the provisions and ways in which individuals can take this responsibility

Health promotion is delivered through a number of routes which can be formal or informal, for example we may attend a support group or take part in an organized campaign, or alternatively we may exchange or impart health education within and between family members. There is however, a great deal of collaboration between the different organizations and agencies who deliver health promotion in a formal way. Different health promotion models are examined and evaluated

As discussed previously in the course material, research is important in order to predict and establish trends, possible outcomes and health needs relevant to care service provision and disease control. In order to move or progress practice in health care forward, research based evidence in strategic areas is needed. High standards are expected when research is carried out which involves patients and members of the public, therefore research governance are a collection of crucial processes to ensure that these standards are met. They include: ethical approval, research and development approval, evidence of informed consent and where clinical interventions are taking place, evidence of appropriate safety procedures.

Psychology aims to help us understand and explain how individuals think, feel and behave. In many care settings you are trying to effect behaviour change of some sort, therefore it is important to have a basic understanding of behavioural concepts and psychological approaches that can be employed to help this process. This section explores the psychology of health, associated theories and concepts.

Unit 5: Anatomy and physiology in health and disease part 1

In each of these following units, example illnesses and conditions will be presented and discussed alongside the core course material

The body’s internal environment is rigidly controlled and this state needs to remain as constant as possible within certain ranges. The process of homeostasis is controlled by sophisticated mechanisms which are sensitive to changes that affect the body’s internal environment, and they respond accordingly. This section will concentrate on homeostasis and look at feedback mechanisms

Blood consists of 55% plasma, and 45% cells. It accounts for approximately 7% of total body weight, or about 5.6 litres in an average 70kg (11 stone) man. Blood is a connective tissue, and a communication medium between the body and the external environment. Haemoglobin is a large protein containing a globular protein called globin and a pigmented iron complex called haem. Each haemoglobin molecule consists of four globin chains, four haem units with one iron atom attached to each. The iron atoms can combine with oxygen which means that each haemoglobin molecule has the capacity to carry 4 oxygen molecules. In turn there are approximately 280 million haemoglobin molecules in each red blood cell. The haemoglobin molecule is said to be saturated when all iron atoms or binding sites are full and it therefore becomes oxyhaemoglobin. With the increased oxygen content the colour of blood becomes bright red, conversely blood low in oxygen content is a blue colour (unsaturated). Oxygen is easily release from red blood cells when required. This section of the unit concentrates on the constituent parts of blood and discusses how oxygen is distributed throughout the body.

The cardiovascular system and conduction are fundamental to homeostatic maintenance. This section presents detailed anatomy and physiology. We will also look at: the cardiac cycle, cardiac output and blood pressure. In conjunction with the cardiovascular system we examine and discuss the respiratory system which is concerned with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the blood and the lungs; this is essential for the provision of energy for cellular metabolic function. Most of this energy extraction which is derived from chemical reactions can only take place in the presence of oxygen, and the route of oxygen intake is via the respiratory system.

Next the unit moves onto the musculoskeletal system and the composition of bone, structure and function of muscles, tendons and joints. We look at movement and the skeletal relationship to other systems

The section will also look in detail at the central nervous system which detects and responds to internal and external environmental changes in, and out on the body. Finally in this section we examine the digestive system and processes, and link all the systems by homeostatic role.

Unit 6: Anatomy and physiology in health and disease part 2

The endocrine system consists of several unconnected glands. These glands contain groups of secretory cells which are surrounded by dense networks of capillaries, allowing the diffusion of the hormonesthey produce, into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical messengers which target specific organs and tissues in the body, influencing growth and metabolism. Although the endocrine system, which is under the control of the ANS is partially responsible for homeostatic maintenance, its main role is control of precise and slow changes of this state.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It completely covers the body, and is continuous with all the linings, membranes and orifices. The skin protects underlying structures and organs from injury, and the invasion of foreign material and microbes

In almost every cell of the human body the nucleus contains and identical copy of the individual’s genetic material (apart from red blood cells and gametes or sex cells). Chromosomes carry genes along their length and each gene contains coded information which allows the cell to produce a specific protein. Each gene codes for one protein. Genes consist of long, tightly wrapped strands of DNA, totally in excess of one metre in each cell. DNA is a double stranded molecule consisting of two chains of nucleotides, which in turn each consist of a sugar, a phosphate group and a base. Most cells within the human body are capable of division by mitosis which produces identical diploid or daughter cells; these are essential for normal growth and repair. The production of the gametes or sex cells is different because of the chromosome number and role that they play in gender differentiation.

The reproductive system is one of the things that sets living things apart from nonliving things. It is not essential when it comes to keeping the living alive, but is essential in keeping the species alive. It is the process by which organisms produce more organisms like themselves. Both the male and female reproductive systems are essential when creating a new organism, and are very much alike in their qualities

The urinary system has key roles in thermo and fluid regulation as well as filtration and control of specific hormones and substances. This unit will look in detail at these and link the processes to homeostatic maintenance

The special senses link many of the systems and processes, and bring the external environment into homeostasis. These systems and processes will be examined.

Unit 7: Body chemistry and organisation

The atom is the smallest part of a known element that exists in a stable form. Atoms are largely spaces which contain protons and neutrons with electrons continually orbiting them. Neutrons do not carry any electrical charge but protons are positively charged and electrons negatively charged. Atoms contain protons and electrons in equal numbers so therefore have no net charge to them. Where these particles differ is their mass which is measured in atomic mass units; a proton has 1 mass unit with 1 positive electric charge, a neutron has 1 mass unit with neutral charge, and an electron has a very small (almost immeasurable) mass with 1 negative electrical charge.

In addition to this, each element or substance that contains only one type of atom differs from each other by the number of protons it contains in its atomic nuclei. Examples of elements are hydrogen, oxygen and sodium. We need to have a basic understanding of atoms as their configuration and behaviour produce molecules required for biological diversity.

This section of the unit looks at molecules essential to life The unit presents and discusses structure and function of these molecules and includes discussion about balance and role in homeostasis

Efficient cellular function is essential to maintaining normal of function. This section covers cell structure, function and discusses how cellular transport occurs, and what can go wrong when this is interrupted or prevented from occurring.

Unit 8: Pathology, immunology and epidemiology

Pathology is literally translated as the study of suffering and it links clinical science with clinical practice, combining investigation of the causes of disease (etiology) and the underlying mechanisms which result in presentation of signs and symptoms (pathogenesis).

In pathology there are many strategies which are employed in order to understand the changes that occur in cells, tissues and organs; these are: molecular, microbiologic and immunologic. The pathology will help to guide diagnosis and therapy through the identification of microscopic changes in cells, tissues and body fluids (morphology).

Therefore the basis of pathological science is the behaviour of cells and because cells are active participants in their environment, they are sensitive to changes and adjust their structure and function accordingly in order to maintain homeostasis.

Immunity can be described as a bodily state of protection against disease through the activities of the immune system. The immune system is a collection of cells and proteins that protect the body from harmful micro organisms. In this unit we look at different types of immunity

Bacteria and viruses attack the body systems in different ways. In this section we build on knowledge and understanding of pathology and immunology and discuss how diseases are prevented and what kinds of deficiencies in the body might cause these diseases.

Unit 9: Digestion, nutrition and the psychology of appetite

All living organisms, including humans, need food and water, for the following reasons:

  • To stay alive and to carry out the key activities of ingestion, digestion, absorption, respiration, movement and co- ordination, circulation, excretion and reproduction.
  • To control and regulate our metabolic processes.
  • To build up our resistance to, and fight, illness and disease.
  • To enable growth, repair and maintenance of our muscles, bones, organs and tissues.

Good nutrition can also protect our bodies against common health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. It provides us with sufficient amounts of the right type of fuel and fluid to enable us, not only to go about our daily lives, but to also take part in regular physical activity. It can also improve our levels of concentration and even our mood. This unit explores these statements and assumptions.

The processes of digestion and absorption are key to good nutrition and homeostasis. This section builds on knowledge and understanding of anatomy and physiology to bring the processes into focus and relate them to how, what and why we eat.

Seeing and smelling food is just as important as tasting when it comes to enjoying our food. Even though our eyes and nose are not considered as part of the digestive tract, the starting point of digestion occurs here. All of us experience a conditioned response when we see appetising food. Our words or thoughts about these foods stimulate our brain, which tells our digestive organs to get ready. As far as our nose is concerned, what happens when we smell food is solely physical. This section examines the process in detail.

So, what makes us decide what we like to eat or not? It’s a fact, deep rooted in biology and evolution, that all humans and most animals like sweets, crave salt, go for the fat, and avoid the bitter, at least when we first start out on our culinary journey.

Scientists used to think that we all had particular taste buds for particular flavours, for example sweet taste buds for sweet flavours, etc. However, the theory nowadays is that groups of taste buds work together, so that the chemical bonds in taste buds link with the flavour chemicals in food to make the tastes we are familiar with: sweet, sour, salt and bitter. This is known as across-fibre pattern theory of gustatory coding and is closely examined in the unit.

There does seem to be a link between the foods that taste good and our need for them in the right amounts, if we are to maintain a healthy body. This section will explore these assumptions.

Unit 10: The science of nutrition

The nutrients in our food provide energy, promote growth and development and regulate our bodily functions. A variety of these nutrients are needed to keep fit and healthy particularly if you are generally active. Our body depends on these nutrients, as it is unable to produce sufficient amounts on its own.

There are six major groups of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils (otherwise known as lipids), vitamins, minerals and water.They all work together in our bodies to provide good nutrition to enable us to achieve optimal health, with each nutrient performing a specific function. If just one of these nutrients is missing from our diet, then, our bodies are at a disadvantage.

Therefore we can see why it is important to have a balanced dietary intake of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, together with vitamins and minerals. Without this balance, homeostasis cannot be maintained, and these deficiencies may result in illness and loss of normal function, such as fatigue. Humans require a mixed diet from different food groups in order to achieve and maintain this balance. This section will concentrate on the different food groups and what kinds of nutrients they provide.

Everyone should aim to eat as varied and balance a diet as possible, so that daily needs are provided for. Supplements can be useful to “plug the gaps” if regular consumption of a balanced diet is not possible due to a lack of access to the right kinds of food, or when nutritional needs are increased at specific times in our lives.

Supplements supply micronutrients but cannot replace the macronutrients in our diet. Many athletes take vitamin and mineral supplements, because they believe that taking them will lead to better performance. There is no evidence to suggest that supplementation with vitamins and minerals enhances performance except in cases where a pre-existing deficiency exists and then it just brings you up to the correct level.

In other words, most of the research has found that vitamin and mineral deficiencies adversely affect performance, but consuming more than is necessary will not improve it. This section looks closely at dietary supplements and their effects on homeostasis.

The last section in this unit concentrates on antioxidants, free radicals and plant nutrients. Cellular stress is a precursor to inflammatory processes and therefore we explore the concepts of including specific foods in the diet to combat this state.

Unit 11: Energy and nutrition

Energy is stored within the chemical bonds and when they are broken the energy is released; the amount of energy contained in a food substance can be measured by a process known as calorimetry.This process measures the energy released in a given quantity of food when it is completely oxidised by burning in pure oxygen.

We all need a basic amount of energy so that normal function can be maintained – this is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and is measured at rest. It is calculated from body temperature changes over a given period of time and is related to total and lean body mass. Therefore those with higher proportion of muscle with have a higher BMR as muscle needs more energy to function than fat. Consequently, men normally have a higher BMR than women. BMR decreases with age as muscle is lost. The new Food Guide Pyramid was introduced in 2005 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human services (HHS) and was designed to help American people make positive changes in their diets so that they try to eat a balanced diet from a variety of foodstuffs without feeling that they have to count calories. It provides a basic understanding of what our bodies need to function properly and is a useful starting point when talking about diet and nutrition.

The My Pyramid Plan can help you find out about the sorts of foods you should eat every day and how much of these you need to eat, depending on your age, gender and the amount of physical activity you do. Once this basic nutritional plan is in place, we can then tailor the plan to suit individuals; those wanting to lose or gain weight, vegetarians and vegans, young people, etc.

The final thing to look at is the way your body manages the food it receives. The increase in the energy needed to digest food is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF) and is easy to work out. The TEF = the total kcal consumed x 10%. If you eat 2,000kcal a day the calculation is 2000 x 0.10 = 200 kcal used for TEF. Alternatively, we can use the Harris Benedict Equation, which is a formula that uses your BMR and then applies an energy factor to determine the number of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your weight. This unit presents all the relevant equations and formulae and then discusses specific nutritional plans for different individual needs.

Unit 12: Weight loss, dieting and weight gain

Many people wish to lose weight. They may want to improve their appearance and confidence, as well as improving their overall health and well being. However, rapid weight loss can cause problems and have serious consequences for our health. Therefore, it is essential that we know about safe weight loss methods. The key to long- term weight management is, in fact, lifestyle management. It is not enough to lose vast amounts of weight suddenly, as invariably, this weight goes back on. Health experts estimate that between 96-98% of dieters fail to maintain their weight loss within a 2-3 year period and some even put on more weight. This section looks at the effects of weight loss on health, and also examines several weight loss plans.

More and more people are complaining about their stressful lives, causing them to gain weight. Research has shown that those people who experienced one or more upsets during the day like an argument with a colleague or missing a deadline ate a lot more between-meal snacks and fewer vegetables than those who hadn’t experienced these upsets. In this section the causes of stress are examined and different physiological and psychological effects of eating and food types discussed.

It is estimated that about one in twenty people in the United Kingdom are vegetarian, one in three only eat meat now and then and one-quarter of households now has a family member who is vegetarian, and this figure is steadily rising. Many people choose to follow a vegetarian diet for varying reasons. The unit explores this current trend and looks at the different types of vegetarian diet including possible resulting deficiencies and illnesses.

We will now look specifically at the dietary needs of women at different stages of their lives, including during pregnancy and the menopause. We will also consider the particular issues faced by women who are very active and look at whether premenstrual tension can have an effect on well being and performance and what we can do about it.

Other groups with special dietary needs include those diagnosed as having diabetes, heart disease, allergies and asthma. We will consider the signs and symptoms associated with these diseases and what we can do to prevent or delay their onset.

Unit 13: Food safety

For many of us, knowing about basic food safety is something we take for granted. We seem to instinctively know how to avoid food poisoning and how to handle food, possibly because our mums taught us at a very early age.

However, there are still an estimated 5.5 million cases of suspected food poisoning in the United Kingdom every year; that amounts to about 1 in 10 people suffering from some food related illness. This unit looks at food safety rules and explores how domestic food preparation and cooking practices are relevant.

Some processed foods are self evident, such as, for example, processed cheese, that is, cheese altered from its original form. Not so obvious are all these processed foods, for example, baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, tinned tuna and frozen peas. All these foods have been altered in some way.

One of the key reasons manufacturers’ process food is to preserve it and give it a longer shelf life, so that we throw out less food that has, “gone off” and that food can travel greater distances and still be edible.

Food processing attempts to prevent the time it takes for microorganisms to attack the food, preventing us from consuming it safely. We know, already, that not all of these microorganisms are bad for us; for example, we use the good ones to ferment milk to make yoghurt and cheese. However, there are plenty of other microbes that do need to be eradicated if our food is to last longer without causing us any problems. This unit examines these practices and relates then to nutritional values in food.

Having looked at some of the processes our food goes through when it is manufactured, we’ll now look in more detail at what gets added to our food and why?

As well as preserving food, additives also improve the texture, colour and/or taste of the food we eat. In the United Kingdom, manufacturers are only allowed to use additives in food if they are deemed necessary and safe.

All additives must also be included on the food labels of the products and are represented by a number, and if the additive has been approved by the European Union, it is also prefixed by the letter, “E”, hence the term, “E numbers”.

We will see that food additives can be synthetic, that is, man made in a laboratory, or natural, as is the case of vitamin C, which is added to food because of its natural preservative property.

Most of the food we consume nowadays is cooked in some way, whether it be grilled, boiled, baked or cooked in the microwave. Cooking not only affects the appearance, smell, taste and nutritional value of food, it also affect its safety. This unit looks at different cooking methods and how it affects the nutritional value of food as well as potential organism growth.

Unit 14: Treating ailments and illnesses through nutrition

This next unit in this BTEC in Health, Diet and Nutritional Studies course concentrates on looking at how different types of food might help relieve symptoms of illness or conditions as well as contribute to prevention of them. There are specific food groups identified as well as common examples of illnesses and conditions.

The research into skin conditions suggests that diet may play a key role in the maintenance of healthy skin. Suffice to say, we are not going to look at all 2,000 skin disorders, but will pick out some of the common ailments and illnesses and explore how a healthy diet can help alleviate some of the associated symptoms.

Acne happens when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce a lot of oily sebum and, therefore, block the sebum duct, causing bacteria to grow. The exact causes are unknown, but many experts in the West are not convinced that an unhealthy diet causes acne. However, some nutritionists are convinced that excluding some foods from our diets may help to alleviate the symptoms of acne and, for many, this comes as a relief to know.

Psoriasis is a very distressing skin disorder, which usually occurs between the ages of 15 and 25 and can be linked to stress and anxiety. The correct advice is therefore that sufferers avoid red meat and dairy products as much as possible and that they also avoid alcohol, as research has shown that alcohol may trigger psoriasis in those who are prone to it.

All the cells in our body need oxygen to be able to function properly. We get oxygen via our respiratory and circulatory systems. These systems also have the job of removing any carbon dioxide, which our bodies do not need, so it is a waste product.

It seems, that despite numerous years of research, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do to prevent the common cold except take lots of vitamin C. Echinacea has also been shown to help prevent the onset of colds if taken for a short period of time before the “cold” season sets in.

There is, however, some evidence to suggest that allergies and asthma respond to nutritional therapy and that our risk of lung cancer can be less if we regularly consume certain fruits and vegetables.

The key role of our urinary system is to form and excrete urine. Our kidneys have the job of regulating the amount and make-up of the fluids in our body. They act as a filter and filter waste products like uric acid from our blood. They also control the levels of potassium and sodium in our body. Any excess fluids are then excreted as urine.

The best way of keeping our kidneys healthy is to drink plenty of water, as this prevents us from becoming dehydrated and helps stop the formation of kidney stones. Cranberry juice has also been shown to help relieve kidney-tract infections.

If they are suffering from urinary diseases like cystitis, individuals should avoid coffee, tea and cola drinks, citrus fruits and spicy foods. This unit looks at these nurtirtional plans and evaluates their effectiveness.

As we have seen, diet can help alleviate many symptoms and help in the treatment of different ailments within our bodies. It is, therefore, natural, that consuming a healthy, balanced diet should, also help any ailments of the ears, nose, throat, mouth and eyes that we may have. In fact, research has shown that the more antioxidants you consume, the less likely you are of developing eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma. To maintain the health of the ears, nose, throat, mouth and eyes, individuals should consume a healthy, balanced diet made up of plenty of fruits and vegetables and little sugary and fatty products.

Everybody knows that a healthy heart is essential to good health. Heart disease is one of the Western world’s biggest killers. Too much bad cholesterol can narrow and clog our arteries, causing a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

One of the best foods for a healthy heart is garlic, as it reduces the amount of bad cholesterol and blood fats, whilst increasing the amount of good cholesterol, it lowers our blood pressure and helps prevent our arteries from hardening. Oily fish contain omega-e essential fatty acids, which reduce the chance of suffering a heart attack, and lower high blood pressure, so it’s a good idea to try to eat herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines or trout about twice a week.

Fibre, including beans, brown rice, corn, fruit, lentils and wheat, works to keep our heart healthy by producing substances that clear our blood of bad cholesterol, and prevents fat being brought into contact with our blood vessels, and, consequently, less is absorbed, so more of the bad cholesterol is then excreted. In this section of the unit we look at some of these dietary plans and specific cardiovascular benefits.

Unit 15: Diets and dieting

If you pick up any glossy, particularly women’s magazine, you will instantly find some new diet that supposedly “works wonders”. Usually endorsed by some star or other, they claim to help you lose weight quickly, so that you too can be the same size and have the same success!

In this section, we’ll look at some of these, deciding what makes them so special and, more importantly, do they work?

The term, “detox”, is usually reserved for those suffering from alcohol and/or drug dependency, but is also used for anyone wanting to rid their body of toxins, such as pesticides, food additives, pollution and cigarette smoke, which have built up over a period of time. As we can see, these can be the toxins from food and drink we consume, as well as the toxins present in our everyday environment.

During detoxification, our bodies neutralize and elminate these toxins, transforming them chemically, and then excreting them. A detox diet is not intended to be a long term way of life, but a short-term diet typically 3 weeks, which can aid digestion, and promote a feeling of well-being.

It may be that an individual needs to gain weight, but it’s not enough just to eat more, as this will result in a fat gain, rather than a lean muscle gain. To gain muscle mass effectively, a positive energy balance is needed. That means that they need to consume more calories than they need for maintenance, and these need to be high quality calories. This calls for a general increase in dietary intake and this increase should come from a balanced ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

It has become more obvious over recent years that the foods and drinks we consume can affect our ability to fight diseases and infection. The research suggests that, if we consume little vitamin C, zinc and beta-carotene, we are reducing the power of our immune system to combat disease.

These are foods that are able to fight against the effects of bacteria and viruses like garlic and onions. As well as eating foods, which fight against bacteria, it’s also important to adapt our lifestyles to avoid stressful situations and pollutants like cigarette smoke, and take plenty of exercise. This unit examines these claims and looks at food groups related to them.

Unit 16: Eating disorders and nutrition for special populations

Sufferers of disordered eating have an intense fear of becoming fat or gaining weight even though their weight is normal. They may not fall into the clinical eating disorder categories of anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating, but they may certainly have a sub-clinical eating disorder.Not only does their weight concern them, they are also preoccupied with food and body shape. They have a distorted body image and attempt to lose weight by restricting their daily calorie intake. They may also exercise excessively in order to burn more calories. This results in a disordered eating pattern and lifestyle.

Some people restrict their calorie intake to such an extent, that even though, technically, they do not have an eating disorder, they display the signs of disordered eating. They may have a low body weight for their age and height and may also have episodes of binge eating and purging, the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. In this unit we look at disordered eating and the underlying causes.

More and more people are complaining about their stressful lives, causing them to, not only to become unhealthy, but also to gain weight. Stress can also increase the risk of a wide variety of illnesses including, eczema, IBS, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Research has shown that those people who experienced one or more upsets during the day like an argument with a colleague or missing a deadline ate a lot more between-meal snacks and fewer vegetables than those who hadn’t experienced these upsets. In this section we look at various stress-related conditions and also concentrate on male problems.

During pregnancy a woman needs to have a varied diet that contains adequate amounts of all the nutrients needed by herself and her growing foetus. All women of child-bearing age who may become pregnant are advised to take daily supplements (400 micrograms) of folic acid, as this can help to reduce the risk of the baby suffering from a neural tube defect. Pregnant women need to limit their intake of alcohol and caffeine and minimise their risk of suffering from food poisoning.

Staying physically active during pregnancy is important to promote general health and well-being.

The unit continues to look at the dietary needs of women during different life stages such as the menopause as well as presenting example food groups and diet plans for a range of special groups and problems, this unit presents a considerable amount of current research for evaluation.

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