Nutrition and Metabolism

Course Information

These course outlines are a guide only. They are provided for the information of prospective students. Although every effort is made to ensure the most up to date information is provided, timetables often change each semester due to the availability of rooms and resources. Content (including lecture/practical topics, assessment and textbooks) is also regularly reviewed to ensure relevance and effective learning.

Unit of Study Overview

Nutrition is a multidisciplinary science that covers the role of food in health and disease. Advances in the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry have increased the focus of nutrition on metabolism and metabolic pathways that transform nutrients. This unit of study aims to explore core concepts of nutrition and metabolism. The focus will be the biochemical reactions that take place in cells, how these are influenced by different nutrients and what are the implications for the whole body. This unit of study will consider the structure and chemical characteristics of nutrients, their metabolism, and their role, mostly in the healthy individual.

Course Coordinator Contact Details

Mrs Wendy Stuart-Smith

Location: Level 4, East, D17 CPC

Telephone: 8627 1726



(MBLG1001 or MBLG1901) and (MBLG2071 or MBLG2971) and (BCHM2072 or BCHM2972). For BMedSc students: (MBLG2071 or MBLG2971) and 18 credit points of BMED units of study, including BMED2401 and BMED2405) or (BMED2801 and BMED2802 and BMED2804)

Assumed Knowledge: Intermediate level biochemistry/molecular biology and physiology. Students are strongly advised to complete NUTM3001 before enrolling in NUTM3002 in Semester 2.


Lectures: 1-2pm Tuesdays, 9-10am Thursdays

Tutorials: 1-2pm Wednesday (NB: tutorial/lecture times may be interchanged, depending availability of lecturers)

Practical Classes: 11am-4pm most Fridays during semester

Lecture Outlines

Moduel 1: Macronutrients
* sources, quality
* digestion and metabolism
* Amino acids – pools, metabolic role, functions, synthesis, degradation
* Requirements through the lifecycle

* Sources, Type/quality, including chemical structure (GI (what it is, how is it measured, why is it important), fibre, sugars and starches and role in diet) (brief revision of 2nd yr concepts for context)
* Digestion and metabolism
* Physiological role of CHO, storage, gluconeogenesis
* Requirements

* Sources
* Types, nomenclature – saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, trans-fatty acids
* Digestion and absorption, transport
* Lipoproteins, structure and metabolism
* Roles of fats

Module 2: Metabolism and Energy
* Metabolic pools, flux, balance, turnover
* Hormonal control (brief revision for context of 2nd yr concepts)
- Insulin/glucagon
- Adipokines, glucocorticoids
* Energy stores, measurement of energy expenditure, basal metabolic rate (incl determining factors) (brief revision for context of 2nd yr concepts then building)
* Body composition, methods of analysis, factors determining composition, BMI, HWR/o’wt/underweight/set point
* Personalised diets and nutrigenomics
* Role of the microbiome
* When intake is inadequate
- Starvation – conservation of electrolytes, energy metabolism
- Refeeding, refeeding syndrome, metabolic implications
- Malnutrition
- Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, BED

Module 3: Micronutriens (including reference standards) across the lifespan
* Ca, Fe, Mg, K, I, Se, trace elements

* Water soluble – B group, C, D, folate
* Fat soluble – A, E, K, D

Antioxidants and other phytochemicals
* role, types, sources, is more better?

Nutrition across the lifespan
* Pregnancy, Infant, Child and adolescent
* Foetal programming
* Growth and development
* Adult and senescent

Nutritional approaches to diet
* There are more ways than one to achieve a balanced healthy diet. Some practical considerations
* When is a diet a fad? Separating the facts from the fiction
* Food fortification, what, when and why

Module 4: Nutrient Sensing
* Macronutrient sensing in the gut (including sensing of fat in the oral cavity and SI)
* Macronutrient sensing in the tissues
* Energy sensing pathways in the cells
* Molecular Mechanisms of taste

Practical Classes

* Critical reading presentations
* Nutrigenomics and personalised diets (2 weeks)
* Glycaemic index and insulin sensitivity (2 weeks + 2 tutorials)
* Cell culturing – grow your own cells
* Nutrient sensing by G-protein receptors (2 weeks + in-class tutorials)


Essential Text
Essentials of Human Nutrition 4th Edition, 2012. Edited by Jim Mann and A. Stewart Truswell. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780199566341

Recommended Text
The following books may be purchased if desired, and will form useful references:
Introduction to Human Nutrition 2nd Edition 2009. Edited on behalf of the Nutrition Society (UK) by Michael Gibney, Susan Lanham-New, Aedin Cassidy, Hester Vorster. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, UK. ISBN: 978-1-4051-6807-6
Nutrition and Metabolism 2nd Edition 2011. Edited on behalf of The Nutrition Society (UK) by Susan A Lanham-New, Ian Macdonald and Helen Roche. Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, UK. ISBN: 978-1-4051-6808-3
Understanding Nutrition Australian and New Zealand Edition 2011. Whitney et al. Cengage Learning, S Melbourne, Australia. ISBN: 978-0-1701-8524-0

Advanced text:
Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective 3rd Edition 2010. Keith Frayn. Wiley-Blackwell West Sussex UK. ISBN: 978-1-4051-8359-8.


End of semester exam which covers the content of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. In addition, practical skills assessment during semester including quizzes, abstract, lab report, critical journal article review and presentation, literature review and presentation