What Is a Food Science and Nutrition Degree?
The topic of food and nutrition remains a hotly-debated subject around the world; what some constitute healthy eating, others do not. Should we eat animals or shouldn’t we? Do we need dairy after a certain age or don’t we? What about gluten and preservatives and additives? How about special diets to treat illness? We know we need to food to survive, but the types of food and how much is still up for argument. A food science and nutrition degree takes the topic of food and breaks it down to the scientific levels, making these questions, and many others, a bit easier to answer.
We don’t know what to eat or how much to eat until we know exactly how what we eat metabolises within our bodies. Each food source is a fuel source of one type or another, and understanding how this fuel source burns within and feeds our bodies is crucial to understanding which fuel sources are good and which fuel sources are bad. Sure, we all love sugar, but we sustain greater energy from protein and healthy carbohydrates. Food science tackles what happens within our bodies once we chew and swallow.
Part of food science understands nutrition, and why some people have different nutritional needs than others. From infancy on, our nutritional needs are constantly changing; our gender and overall health also pose different nutritional needs. Optimising nutrition means understanding individual nutrition requirements; understanding food science includes learning proper daily nutrition.
Food science goes beyond just what we put into our bodies; it also studies and finds ways to ensure that what we eat is safe. Food-borne illness can be deadly, and safety in the growing and production of our food sources is critical to healthy nations and the people living within their boundaries.
Food science also looks for ways to combat hunger, including addressing the needs of food-starved nations, as well as the supply and demand issues of over-populated or over-consumptive nations. These are all hot-bed topics that food science and nutrition students must find ways to answer upon graduating with their degrees.
Food Science and Nutrition Job Opportunities
Food science and nutrition graduates interested in helping people make the right food choices might consider putting their degree to work as a dietician. Dieticians assess, design and then teach their patients/clients exactly what the best diet is for their individual nutritional needs. Dieticians might work independently, in hospital or school settings, or within the sports industry. Starting dieticians earn salaries ranging from £21,176 to £27,625. Once on the job for awhile, a dietician will earn specialist status and make anywhere from £25,528 to £34,189; advanced-level dieticians earn £30,460 to £40,157.
Graduating students more interested in the safety and production of food might desire a food technologist position. Food technologists are tasked with making certain the food that is produced for sale and consumption is manufactured in compliance with legal and safety standards, and that the final food product is also of the quality standards its manufacturer claims. Food technologists might work with retailers, production facilities or even with brewers and prepared foods. Starting food technologists earn £18,000 to £26,000; experienced technologists earn £30,000 to £45,000; senior management technologists earn up to £65,000.
Food Science and Nutrition Curriculum
Food science and nutrition curriculum includes the study of numerous sciences, including biochemistry, chemistry, human nutrition and microbiology. Students must learn to apply scientific and technical skills to address food production and consumption. Other studies include how the human body digests food, and why that is so important in determining the best ways to produce the foods we eat and which foods provide the best nutrition.
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