Nutrition Course External References

Roasted brussel sprout salad with a portabella panini.
Roasted brussel sprout salad with a portabella panini.

… speaking of great Coursera offerings, I just finished Katie Ferraro’s excellent Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention course.  Its focus on evidence-based medicine was refreshing and helped clear up a lot of confusion I’ve had from contradictory sources over the years.  Since Coursera content is prone to being archived, I wanted to preserve the extensive set of external references provided so I can consult them later.  The hard work of identifying and assembling this into a logical grouping all of this was Katie’s.  I’ve tried to clean up the list, expand abbreviations, and add my own commentary.  Thus, if there are mistakes, they’re mine.


Week 1: Introduction to Nutrition Science

Why Study Nutrition?

CarbohydratesMedlinePlus, Center for Disease Control (CDC) Nutrition for Everyone: Carbohydrates, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Carbohydrates in human nutrition, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Patient Education, Carbohydrates

Lipids (aka “fats.”): MedlinePlus, CDC Nutrition for Everyoen: Dietary Fat, FAO Fats and oils in human nutrition, UCSF Patient Education, FatFats Domino (I was just seeing if anyone was paying attention.)

ProteinMedlinePlusCDC Nutrition for Everyone: Protein, FAO Energy and Protein Requirements, UCSF Patient Education Healthy Ways to Increase Calories & Protein

VitaminsMedline Plus, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) VitaminsFAO Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements, WHO Vitamin A Deficiency

MineralsMedline Plus, Harvard Health Vitamins & Minerals: Understanding Their Role, FAO Human Vitamin & Mineral Requirements, US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) Calcium

Meal Planning Guides 

The new diagram gives a more understandable representation of proportions recommended than the Food Pyramid did.


Dietary Supplements

Week 2: Heart Disease

Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) [This advocates diet, physical activity and weight management as a first step.]

Dietary Fat and Heart Disease

Essential Fatty Acids [Fatty acids you need but your body cannot synthesize on its own.  There is an older study on PubMed asserting that the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is out of whack.  I’ve seen some viral youtube videos suggesting the ratio can lead to “inflammation” of the arteries, suggesting eventual problems.  I see more reputable sources saying “there is no evidence” than I see evidence.]

Dietary Fiber and Heart Disease

The Mediterranean Diet and Heart Health [Its focus is reducing cardiovascular risk factors through a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterols.  It is not low-fat, but considers type of fat.  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests there is credibility.]

The DASH Diet [Its focus is reducing hypertension through decreased fat, salt and cholesterol intake while trying to increase potassium.  Not surprisingly, most of the salt comes from my favorite foods: breads, pizza, cheese, pasta, potato chips, pretzels, and bacon.]

Dietary Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: American Heart AssociationMedlinePlus

Plant Stanols and Sterols [These are used to reduce cholesterol; They’re pretty expensive and only effective with a decent diet.  In other words, you’re still going to have to cut back on the bacon and egg lardshakes.] — Cleveland ClinicUniversity of Southern California, Keck Medical Center

The Cholesterol Nuclear Option.  Source:

Week 3: Diabetes

Defining and Diagnosing Diabetes

Physical Activity and Weight in Diabetes

Meal Planning for Diabetes

Carbohydrate Counting and Exchange Lists For Meal Planning

Dietary Fiber and Blood Sugar Control

Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Gestational Diabetes: PubMed HealthAmerican Diabetes Association, UCSF Patient Education – Diabetes in Pregnancy

Week 4: Cancer

Cancer Prevention

Diet and Cancer

Debunking Cancer and Diet Myths [Executive summary: eat sensibly.  There’s no silver bullet, but there’s a big pile of bullshit out there.]

Nutrition Needs in Cancer


Week 5: Obesity and Weight Management

Defining Obesity: World Health OrganizationHSPH Measuring Obesity

Energy Balance: NIH/NHLBINational Cancer Institute

Metabolic Syndrome [These are risk factors that, when occur together, imply a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular problems.]: Medline PlusPubMed Health

Pediatric Obesity [Children who are obese are more likely to be obese adults.]

Guest Lecturers [These were the two folks I remember as they offered different viewpoints.]

  • Robert Lustig: Sugar – The Bitter Truth [This was interesting; I now understand the concerns about high-fructose corn syrup in diets.]


Week 6: Disorders of the GI Tract 

Nutrient Digestion and Absorption: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse – Your Digestive System and How it Works

FODMAPS [fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols — groups of foods containing short-chained carbohydrates that cause problems] Approach to IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome] Management: Today’s Dietition – Successful Low-FODMAP LivingShepherd Works – Low FODMAPs Diet

Celiac Disease [Your immune system gets drunk on gluten, goes medieval on your small intestine.]

Diets for Diverticular Disease [This sounds awful.]: UCSF Patient Education – Diverticular Disease DietNDDIC – Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis


  • World Health Organization, Diarrhea
  • MedlinePlus – Diet, Constipation
  • NDDIC Intestinal Gas
  • MedlinePlus – GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease – food leaks back up.  Among other problems, this can cause your teeth to weaken.)
  • Nobel Prize, H. pylori [The cause of peptic ulcers is bacteria]

Food Allergies [Key learn: allergy == can kill you; sensitivity == makes you feel bad, but doesn’t kill you]  The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Food Allergy


Probiotics and Prebiotics



2 thoughts on “Nutrition Course External References”

  1. > Since Coursera content is prone to being archived,

    Ah, you mean “archived” in the sense of “moved to offline storage”, rather than “made permanently available for ever more”.

    Of course now *you* have to keep the list of external references updated 🙂

  2. If a course is reoffered, or sometimes Just Because, they’ll take the old course offline.

    I betcha at least 20% of these links won’t work by the end of the year.

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