Introduction to Nutrition and Dietetics

4 ECTS / Semester / Portuguese

Objectives and competences

Pedagogical objectives:

  • To present concepts related with nutrition and dietetics, including dietary patterns and determinants of food choice;
  • To promote knowledge on the composition and role of the different nutrients and different food groups on health promotion and well-being as well as disease risk prevention;
  • To present concepts, characteristics, development strategies and validation of each functional food category.

The student must be capable:

  • to explore food choice determinants and assess their implications on health and well-being of the individual and/or the population;
  • to identify the role of each nutrient on human health, with emphasis on bioavailability;
  • to recognise the role of nutrients in food enabling the corresponding grouping, to be able to predict possible interactions between foods and possible consequences for nutritional value;
  • to identify advantages and disadvantages of new foods in comparison to traditional counterparts.


Teaching Methodologies

In lectures, a space is created for the student to participate in a dynamic and interactive way to clarify issues or debate the issues at stake. In practical classes, specific case-studies/ complementary themes to theoretical concepts are given for discussion and/or critical analysis. Students are encouraged to do Internet searches in databases as support for the completion of the proposed work.



Theoretical sessions:

  1. Concepts of nutrition and dietetics:
    1. Definitions.
    2. History of Food.
    3. Factors of food choice.
    4. Food situation in Portugal.
  2. Food and Nutrients:
    1. Macro / micronutrients.
    2. b. Essential / non-essential nutrients.
    3. c. Role of non-nutrients. Properties and interactions.
    4. d. Practical considerations inherent to the recommended intakes.
  3. Food Wheel: Importance, structure and food portions;
  4. Food groups - nutritional composition:
    1. Food composition tables and their application.
    2. Physical, physico-chemical and nutritional properties of the different food groups; Chemical modification during processing.
  5. New foods:
    1. Functional Foods: definitions, objectives: effects on health; development and validation; several case studies.
    2. Enriched and standardized food;
    3. Genetically Modified Organisms;
    4. Organic Production

Practical sessions:

  1. Determinants of food choice
  2. Nutrients and their function: Vitamins
  3. Nutrients and their function: Minerals
  4. Nutritional requirements and their establishment
  5. Food Wheel: food education program
  6. Functional foods: case studies


Invited Assistant Professor
Inês Tomada holds a PhD in Metabolism, Clinical and Experimentation from the Faculty of Medicine of University of Porto (2013), a Master's degree in Clinical…
Senior Technician
Ana Pimenta holds a Nutrition Sciences degree from the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition of the University of Porto, two post-graduations - Food…