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Nutrition Concepts and Controversies
FNH 250
Instructor: Dr. Gail Hammond
Office: FNH 214
Office Hours: Wed 12:00-13:00 or by appt
Class Schedule: Tues, Thurs 11:00-12:30pm
Classroom: FNH 60
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

We all make food choices throughout each day, although many of us are unaware of how nutrition impacts our lives. The purpose of this introductory nutrition course is for you to learn about the basic science of nutrition. By working through various nutrition-focused issues, you will be able to put what you learn into action in your personal food choices.

Course Website: Important correspondence for the course will be posted on the FNH 250 Connect course website, use your CWL to login.

Course Materials:

  • TEXT: Whitney, E.; Rolfes, S; Hammond, G.; and Piché, L. Understanding Nutrition, 1st Canadian ed. 2013. Nelson Education Canada, Toronto, ON.
  • SOFTWARE: Diet Analysis Plus - online access to most recent version

Learning Outcomes

FNH 250 is designed for you to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1. The primary course outcome is for you to gain a basic understanding of the science of nutrition that you can apply to your daily food choices.
  2. Your success of the primary course outcome will be achieved by you:
    • describing key physical features of the nutrients,
    • explaining the functional roles of nutrients in the body,
    • assessing the effects of interrelationships between selected nutrients,
    • analyzing the nutrient content of foods by using food composition tables,
    • applying recommended intakes of foods and nutrients to your own dietary intake, and
    • improving your personal eating habits to reduce your risk of inadequate or excessive nutrient intake.
  3. Your acquisition of the basic tenets of nutrition will enable you to make informed decisions about nutrient information, concepts, and controversies publicized in various media.
  4. You will also gain exposure to links between nutrition and certain disease states.

Course Rationale

You will likely arrive at this class with your own thoughts, opinions, and practices around nutrition. Controversies about in nutrition: your beliefs are important contributions to helping us work through a number of nutritional issues. In this introductory nutrition course, you will learn about the science of nutrition and be able to put into practice what you learn. Through in and out of class activities, you will learn about:

  • the classes of nutrients
  • rich food sources of the nutrients
  • major roles of nutrients in the body
  • how nutrients impact your health

You will apply your learning of the science of nutrition in a detailed analysis of your own diet over three days and your activities for at least one day, and compare your results with current recommendations (project details are on the course website).

Course Format

The format of FNH 250 will be a combination of:

  • class lectures
  • small group work
  • informal debate
  • large group discussion
  • real-world scenarios

As instructor, I will be responsible for integrating instructional strategies that support collaborative and active learning and accommodate students' different learning styles; as a student, you will be responsible for developing new knowledge by engaging in critical dialogue and research with your classmates; together, we will both be responsible for ensuring a respectful, engaging, inclusive, effective, and productive learning environment.

To be an active participant in class, you need to prepare before arriving at each class, actively engage with your classmates in class, and continue your learning outside of class. You will build on your own knowledge base through dialogue and solving problems with your classmates in a learning environment that uses your own strengths and learning styles to further develop your critical thinking skills. By committing to readings, research, and thoughtful discussion, you will be able to achieve the course objectives.

Course Input & Feedback

If you have suggestions for changes to the class format that will help you more effectively learn the course material, feel free to propose your ideas to me at any time. At the start of the course, I will ask you for ways that help you learn. Approximately midway through the course, I will gather your input on how to best make the learning activities fit with your learning needs. Subsequent changes to the course activities will reflect your input.

Course Schedule

Classes are held Tues/Thurs 1100h-1220h in FNH 60. The following schedule is tentative. See course:FNH250/Schedule.

Course Conduct

Your attendance at all classes is expected and will enhance your likelihood of successfully completing the course. If you cannot attend a class, it is your responsibility to be informed of the content discussed in class; for example, class announcements, quiz scheduling, quiz content, or other course content. I will not respond to emails inquiring about content that we address in class. Successful completion of the course requires a strong academic performance and your active participation in the learning activities. Throughout the course, appropriate conduct is expected of all students. Research has shown that you are more likely to be successful if you conduct yourself in the following manner:

  • Read the class notes and textbook ahead of time
  • Arrive to class on time and prepared for active participation
  • Ask questions about any material you don't understand
  • Contribute similar or different ideas on the topic of discussion
  • Be respectful of diverse opinions
  • Use considerate language in class and online
  • Employ good time management skills
  • Turn off electronic devices that you are not using for academic purposes

Course Assignments

Term Assignment (choose 1)

  1. In the dietary term assignment, you will keep a record of 3 consecutive days of your food and beverage intake and influences on your food choices over 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day (Saturday or Sunday). For one of the two weekdays, you will keep a 24-hour (1440 minutes) record of all your activities (from midnight to midnight) including, for example, sleeping, eating, studying, walking, and other physical activities. This will allow you to estimate how much energy you expend during the day. If you choose, you may record your activities over all 3 days of your food record. You will then analyze your food and beverage intakes, compare your results to current recommendations, and make realistic plans for dietary changes that will benefit your health. You will also analyze and discuss the implications of your energy intake compared to your energy expenditure.
  2. On the CBEL term assignment, you will plan and implement a food-related project in collaboration with a community group, such as students in a school or community service organization. You will present your experiences to the class and submit a group report as well as a personal reflections on your project.

Controversy Group Work

In a small group format, you will explore a nutrition-related controversy in depth. This group work involves a report or class presentation of your topic and self and peer evaluations. Detailed instructions are posted on the home page of the FNH 250 Connect website.

Student Support

The UBC Learning Commons is an online portal available for all students to help you achieve academic success. You can access peer tutoring and academic coaching, interactive workshops, study groups, tech tools, student-directed seminars, and many other academic resources at the website.

The UBC Writing Centre (accessed through the UBC Learning Commons website) offers free academic writing tutor services for UBC students from September to April. You can make an appointment or drop into the Chapman Learning Commons in the Ike Barber Learning Centre for assistance with your writing. If you are looking to improve your writing skills, this is a valuable free resource to you as a UBC student. See the website for more details.


Activity Details Percentage of Grade
Midterm #1 multiple choice, fill in the blanks, short answer 15%
Midterm #2 multiple choice, fill in the blanks, short answer 20%
Controversy Group Work details posted on FNH website 15%
Term Assignment details posted on FNH website 25%
Final Exam 2 hours: multiple choice, fill in the blanks, essay questions 25%
TOTAL: 100%

Exams are designed to cover specific information as well as general concepts that apply to the different nutrients, including physical features, key functional roles, interrelationships, rich food sources, and recommendations. Sample previous exam questions will be posted on the course website well in advance of each exam. The midterms will be reviewed with you a week following the exam. Your term assignments will be returned to you before or at the scheduled final exam. Feedback and marks on your group work for your nutrient/food-based controversy will be emailed to you. Grades are determined based on UBC policies and regulations for Grading Practices, available at:,42,0,0.

Scheduled Exams and Late Assignments

Every student will be expected to write the exams as scheduled on the dates and times found in the Course Schedule. Exceptions will only be granted for medical reasons accompanied by a valid medical certificate from your treating health care professional indicating your dates of illness and expected date of return to school work. The term assignment is due at the date and time indicated on the Course Schedule. For each day your assignment is late, 10% will be deducted from your assignment grade. Late assignments must be submitted to the main FNH office (room 230) and date stamped by office staff. Note the daily time deadline (1100h) for submission of late assignments.

Final Words

Your successful completion of FNH 250 will prepare you for upper level nutrition courses. As you develop personal learning strategies, you will be able to apply these skills to other courses in your degree program and ultimately to your employment in the workforce. FNH 250 provides you with opportunities to try different approaches to learning, allowing you to be more aware of learning skills that best fit with your goals. Active participation in the course activities allows you to take advantage of these opportunities and expand your understanding and application of personal learning strategies. Enjoy your learning experiences in FNH 250!