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This is a guest blog written by Ellie Townend.

Like many, I thought nutrition was the study of food. Oh, how I was wrong! So many assume nutrition is all about the vitamins, minerals, maybe even a diet or two… Well, I am goinImage of different coloured words relating to food and nutritiong to break it to you: this is not BSc Nutrition at Bournemouth University.

Here, BSc Nutrition is the study of ALL things food: How it makes you feel, why you pick what you pick, how it’s broken down in the body, how to assess dietary components and the importance of these things throughout the lifespan. Of course, vitamins, minerals and diets form part of nutrition, but with the incredible coverage of this course, that is just the beginning.

The world of nutrition has so many pathways, many of which I didn’t know existed! Testing the pH level of a cucumber, or learning how to distinguish what bacteria has caused your milk to go off are two things I certainly never expected to be doing. Microbiology, as well as biochemistry, is your chance to put on an oh-so-glamorous white coat and get a true insight into what happens to our food in the lab, how they work out the Best Before and Use-by dates, and the effects different packaging has on food. These are the skills of an environmental-health inspector who gives the ‘Food Hygiene Rating’ you see at restaurants, caterers and takeaways.

Being a course of innovation, we also learn how new products are formulated, having the amazing opportunity to create our own! For example, you might be asked to make a vegan, high protein product suitable for people on-the-go… Better get taste-testing! Going from researching, packing, designing, cooking in our kitchen labs, taste-testing, lab testing for micro-organisms and analysing nutritional content, all the way through to marketing and pitching your product to a panel of real-life specialists, including tasters of course! Our nutrition units really open your eyes (and minds) to the doors this course can open, while preparing you for an exciting, constantly-evolving sector that affects everyone.

Image of a bowl of food ingredients

Cooking up some delicious recipes!

If you’re a people-person, you’ll love our promoting health and well-being unit; based solely on helping people! Learning how to communicate the vast array of knowledge you have gained, to communities, obese families, or even cancer patients.

Once you have mastered the above, it’s time to go on placement (which is 20 days, or a year if you’re up for it!). This is where you can really come into your own and get a taste for what career you want to dive into, as you can pick your placement yourself. Some people have taught in schools, worked at AFC Bournemouth, Unilever and Bournemouth hospital, or given advice in gyms. The diversity doesn’t end there, with some students heading abroad, as far as Australia to work on projects and in reputable companies you’d recognise worldwide.

I was lucky enough to work as a freelance nutritionist in Bournemouth foodbank, creating diet cards, balanced recipes and analysing food parcels on a daily basis. I used my knowledge and the results of the food content assessment to change what the food bank were giving out to people; increasing levels of protein and essential fatty acids.

I also worked in a secondary school in Poole, where I even had my own classes! This included things like teaching children about the sugar content of drinks and the importance of fat in our diets (the good fat, that is!). I did this by creating the game ‘match, pick and mix’… where students had to match a bowl of sugar cubes to the correct soft drink such as Red Bull or Dr Pepper, which was harder than they thought! I loved every second of both experiences, learning just as much about myself as I did about each role.

Image of Eleanor at a supermarket with some food in her hands

This is me at a local supermarket

This is only a taster (excuse the pun) of what you will try, learn and experience while studying on Bournemouth University’s BSc Nutrition course, which, by the way, is accredited by The Association for Nutrition. This means, when you get to the almighty day of graduation, you will officially be a Registered Associate Nutritionist. In other words, you will have one up on the employability scale, and will be able to christen your professional title with ‘ANutr’!

While I can’t say this course is for everyone, if you’re interested in creating, testing or eating food, and using it to help people, then BSc Nutrition could just be for you.

 

Eleanor Townend
BSc (Hons) Nutrition student

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