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Taste and physiology of health


Coordinator: Angelic van der Aar
Email: aar.vd.a@hsleiden.nl

Do you ever wonder what the influence of food is on the functioning of the body? In this course, you will learn aspects from human physiology that are related to taste, digestion and nutrition. We daily hear claims or rules about which foods are good for you and which aren’t. In this part we will explore known effects of food on health, food-related modern diseases and the scientific basis of dietary health claims. Moreover, we will explore why there are such strong differences of opinion about what's delicious and what's disgusting food. Genetics, evolutionary factors, cultural influences and psychological factors also play a major role. In this part of the course we will explore the different factors affecting taste and you will investigate your tasting capacities.

Learning goals
Learning Objectives:

The students can:

  • can explain the necessity and benefits of a healthy microbiome

  • can design and conduct an scientific investigation on the relationship between food and the microbiome and explain the outcomes of the study.

  • describe the effects of food/nutrients on human health

  • critically analyze dietary health claims and translate (scientific) literature and expert opinions to the public in a short documentary

  • can explain the relation between physiology, genomics and taste and apply genomics in food-related research questions.

Final Qualifications:

The students:

  • can critically analyze dietary health claims and translate (scientific) literature and expert opinions to the public in a short documentary

  • can have scientific profound discussions with colleague’s

  • Being able to formulate and defend a (scientific based) opinion on dietary health claims

  • can translate scientific findings on food claims to the public in a short documentary

  • form an opinion about the social and clinical relevance of dietary health claims

  • form an opinion about commercial and political effects of the existence of dietary health claims

Period: September – January
Or: February - June

Mode of instruction
Lectures, practicals, tutorials.

Assessment method

  • Assignment: making a documentary on a food-based health claim (grade).

  • Practical assignment microbiome (sufficient/non-sufficient)

Blackboard will be used for communication and exchange of documents

Reading list
Course materials will be provided by the teachers.

This course is part of the programme Science of Cooking. A student is required to follow all courses included in this programme.