About the subject
An apple a day keeps the doctor away - is that true? What is the best diet? The media routinely gives many mixed messages. To understand the science of nutrition, you need knowledge from a range of subjects is needed, from molecules and cells and how the body functions to how the connection between diet and health has an effect on public health.
We all have to eat, and what we eat is of great importance to our health and well-being. The science in this area is constantly growing and there is an increasing interest in new findings. If you want to understand nutrition more in depth and work in the area of diet and health based on scientific evidence, knowledge at university level is needed.
Nutrition is an interdisciplinary science that extends across a variety of subjects, from natural sciences such as chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and food science, to medical subjects such as physiology, pathology, toxicology, epidemiology and public health science. It is a science of how diet affects the body, human energy metabolism and what nutrients the body needs, what functions they have in the body, where they are found in the food and in what quantities they are needed.
Nutrition science is relevant in all areas that deal with diet and health. The food we eat has an impact on the development of many diseases and is also relevant in treatment of diseases. For example, our common public health diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cancer are influenced by our diet and lifestyle. Today, these diseases are a global problem.
Sports nutrition, functional foods and the importance of gut bacteria for health are further areas that belong to nutrition. More recently, molecular biology has become an important part of modern nutrition research, where scientists begin to understand the mechanisms behind the diet's influence on the organism, all the way to the level of gene regulation.
An important task for those who want to work with diet and health is to be able to interpret and understand scientific studies and have skills in communicating that knowledge to others. Therefore, to search, review and discuss scientific material and gain an understanding of the scientific process are an important part in the nutritionist education.
Since nutrition is a broad and interdisciplinary field, studies in nutrition are useful in many work areas. Many nutritionists are active in research and teaching. They also work with food and health information, both in private or public sector. Government agencies, such as the National Food Administration, as well as municipalities and county councils, are also workplaces for nutritionists. Other areas are product development of food and nutritional supplements, or laboratory work. An increasing number of nutritionists are opening their own consulting business, with education and information in the nutrition area in particular.
Courses and programmes
For further studies in nutrition at advanced level, the one-year Master's programme in Nutrition Science is given by Karolinska Institutet. This programme also qualifies you for postgraduate studies.
Course at bachelor's level
Course at master's level
PhD studiesFor further studies in nutrition at advanced level, the one-year Master's program in Nutrition Science is given by Karolinska Institutet. This program also qualifies you for postgraduate studies.
To obtain a bachelor's degree in nutrition, read the programme listed under Education.
Nutrition is a large area and research is ongoing in connection with many different scientific disciplines, such as molecular research, clinical studies and studies at the population level.
An important area of research is to understand the reasons why overweight and obesity occur in children and how this can be prevented. Overweight and obesity in children are considered one of the most serious health problems around the world today, and preventing this can also prevent development of diseases in adulthood. Eating habits and physical activity play a major role in this development. To develop more accurate methods for measuring this is also part of the research. Research examining how apps and mobile phones can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle, both for children and adults, is also conducted.
Another research area investigates factors that affect human eating behaviour, especially in children and adolescents. Using modern digital methods (sensors, mobile apps) in international projects, very large amounts of data are collected, so-called "Big data", on eating habits and physical activity, which requires special procedures and processing. By this, new important information on how food, physical activity and health interact is gained.