Stanford Introduction to Food and Health Course Overview
In Stanford Introduction to Food and Health online course by Coursera, learners will be given the information and practical skills they need to begin optimizing the way they eat.
This course will shift the focus away from reductionist discussions about nutrients and move, instead, towards practical discussions about real food and the environment in which we consume it.
Around the world, we find ourselves facing global epidemics of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and other predominantly diet-related diseases. To address these public health crises, we urgently need to explore innovative strategies for promoting healthful eating.
There is strong evidence that global increases in the consumption of heavily processed foods, coupled with cultural shifts away from the preparation of food in the home, have contributed to high rates of preventable, chronic disease.
By the end of this course, learners should have the tools they need to distinguish between foods that will support their health and those that threaten it. In addition, we will present a compelling rationale for a return to simple home cooking, an integral part of our efforts to live longer, healthier lives.
WEEK 1 – Background on Food & Nutrients
In this section we will examine the social and cultural shifts that have contributed to our modern epidemics of overweight and obesity. We will briefly review the nutrients found in foods, their different functions in the human body and how we can support our own health by choosing wisely from the foods within each category.
WEEK 2 – Contemporary Trends in Eating
In this section, we will explore the ways in which highly processed foods differ from real, whole food and the implications of food processing on our health. We’ll also look at how our consumption of sugar has changed in recent decades and explore sensible solutions for people who wish to start eating better. We will also meet Kevin, a middle-aged pre-diabetic man, and find out how a step-wise approach to behavior change helped him change for the better.
WEEK 3 – Future Directions in Health – Part I
This section focuses on sustainable solutions to the challenge of choosing healthier foods more frequently. Michael Pollan explains his mantra and how we can use it to make better food choices. We also begin to explore practical tips for preparing foods that will support our health and enjoyment.
WEEK 4 – Future Directions in Health – Part 2
In this section you will find more practical tips for grocery shopping, reading labels and assembling a balanced meal. We also learn more about the most important secret ingredient for success: moderation.
WEEK 5 – Cooking Workshop
A few years ago, a friend of mine started a healthy eating and fitness website called Grokker. She asked me to make some instructional cooking videos and generously agreed to share some of them with you. Thanks, Lorna!
Recommended Optional Resources
Here is a list of recommended books and videos that can help deepen your understanding of the course material. Feel free to explore the recommendations on this list to learn more about food, health, eating behaviors, and more.