module specification

DT5051 - Macro and micronutrients (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Macro and micronutrients
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Practical report (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 60%   Unseen written exam (1 hour)
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module focuses on the concept of nutritional balance and turnover, focussing on energy and nitrogen balance in humans and deals with their role in health and disease. It also develops a critical understanding of the metabolic function of micronutrients and to demonstrate the consequences of insufficient and excessive nutrient intakes in human nutrition.

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Specifically it aims to develop a critical understanding of energy and nitrogen balance and their contribution to human nutritional status. To apply this understanding to practical situations where there are implications for human health, for example, obesity, starvation and cachexia.

To develop a critical understanding of the physiology and biochemistry of micronutrients. To demonstrate the metabolic consequences of insufficient and excessive nutrient intakes in human nutrition. This module will also provide learners with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility and decision making.

Prior learning requirements

Human Nutrition for Dietitians (DT4005), Cell Biology for Dietitians (DT4053), Biochemistry for Dietitians (DT4052)


The specified learning outcomes will be developed around a framework based on the following subject matter:
1. The concepts of essentiality and requirements, including water and oxygen. Macronutrients and energy (including alcohol); nutritional balance and turnover: principles of techniques used for the measurement of metabolic balance and turnover rates; digestion and transport; significance of body pools of energy and nutrients. Integration of metabolism.
2. Energy balance: principles and methods for measurement of gross, digestible, metabolisable and net energy values of diets; measurement of energy expenditure rates; BMR, physical activity and thermogenesis; factors influencing energy intake and expenditure; the regulation of energy balance; dietary, thermoregulatory, pharmacological and exercise-induced thermogenesis. Storage forms of energy.
3. Nitrogen balance:  dynamics of protein turnover; essentiality and requirements for amino acids; principles and methods for biological and chemical assessment of dietary protein quality; dietary and physiological factors influencing dietary nitrogen utilisation; colonic nitrogen salvage; determination of protein requirements. Disturbances in energy balance including obesity, starvation, cachexia and sarcopenia.
4. Micronutrients: physiological and biochemical aspects of vitamin, mineral and trace element metabolism, to include: dietary sources, chemistry, metabolic functions, turnover, storage, catabolism and excretion; physiological, biochemical and clinical consequences of insufficient, imbalanced and excessive intakes of micronutrients; physiological basis for assessment of requirement; parameters for assessment their nutritional status.
5. Metabolic roles of the essential fatty acids. Cellular generation of reactive oxygen species. Endogenous and dietary anti-oxidants.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lecturer-led lectures and tutorial workshops; web based learning and through the guided use of learner-centred learning resources. Practical classes and small group work will be used to consolidate the learner with guidance for directed activities. Self managed time and private study should be spread out over the whole year and not left until the final weeks.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module learners will be able to:
1. Explain the concepts of nutritional balance and turnover and the theory and practise of their measurements with particular reference to energy and protein and demonstrate an appreciation of the factors implicated in energy balance regulation in humans.
2. Explain the concept of protein quality and its measurement in humans and select appropriate analytical techniques for the experimental study of aspects of energy and nitrogen balance.
3. Explain how minerals and vitamins are metabolised in the body and have developed an awareness of the limitations of current knowledge and methodologies relevant to the physiology and biochemistry of human nutrition
4. Have developed an ability to apply nutritional theory to practical situations.

Assessment strategy

This module will be formatively and summatively assessed by:
1. Practical report (2000 words); learners will undertake experimental studies measuring their own energy balance and will statistically analyse class energy balance data. The findings will be submitted as a written report.
2. Unseen exam (1 hour).

Learners must obtain at least 40% to pass this module. In addition learners must normally obtain at least 35% in each component of assessment within this module. A mark of between 35% and 39% may be compensated by other components. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.


Bender DA (2014) An Introduction to Nutrition & Metabolism. 5th Ed. London: CRC Press.
Frayn KN (2010). Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective (3rd edition). London: Wiley-Blackwell
Geissler C and Powers H (2017) Human Nutrition, 13th Edition. Oxford: OUP
Gropper S & Smith J (2017). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (7th editition). Boston: Wadsworth Publishing
Langley-Evans S (2015). Nutrition, Health and Disease: a Lifespan Approach (2nd edition). London; Wiley-Blackwell.
Lanham-New SA, MacDonald IA & Roche HM (2010). Nutrition and Metabolism (The Nutrition Society Textbook) (2nd edition). London: Wiley-Blackwell
McArdle WD, Katch FI, Katch, VL. (2014). Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy, n and Human Performance (international edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.