Nutritional Physiology


About this course

This course is focused on the physiological utilisation of dietary macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) and discusses their flow from oral intake to their utilisation and/or excretion under various physiological conditions as maintenance, production, physical activity, stress, etc. Metabolism is discussed as an interface between 'Nutritional Input' and 'Physiological Output' of the body.
This course discusses the main biochemical processes involved in digestion, absorption and cellular metabolism of macro-nutrients.
Special attention will be paid to potential constraints for proper physiological functioning of the body.
The intensity of energy metabolism might have adverse effects on the ability to maintain the body temperature depending on the environmental conditions (thermo-neutral zone, comfort zone). Within protein metabolism there may be a friction between the efficiency of protein utilization for maintenance, protein deposition and the ability to cope with stress conditions as far as mediated by protein turnover.
With regard to (semi)-quantitative aspects relevant for nutritional physiology, specific assignments will be discussed. During practicals, students will study aspects of digestion, absorption and metabolism in both "in vivo and in vitro" experiments.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • describe and explain general digestive functions and main cellular metabolic pathways;
  • predict settings of metabolism based on nutritional input and physiological output;
  • estimate changes in energetic efficiencies in relation to changing conditions;
  • judge physiological conditions in terms of constraints for homeostatic control;
  • apply practical skills in the lab related to topics of the course.

Required prior knowledge

Mandatory Knowledge:
ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety
Assumed Knowledge:
EZO10306 Human and Animal Biology I and HAP20306 Human and Animal Biology, part 2, or HAP10306 Principles of Human Physiology and HAP21303 Integrated Human Physiology.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 October 2024

    • Ends
      20 December 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 29 Sept 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University