Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo



A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 8
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Laura Chiarantini Monday to Friday on appointment
Teaching in foreign languages
Course partially taught in a foreign language English
This course is taught partially in Italian and partially in a foreign language. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Sanitary Nutritional and Environmental Biology (LM-6)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The course aims to provide the student with basic biochemical and nutritional elements for understanding the role of food nutrients commonly used in human nutrition.

It also aims to provide the basis for understanding major nutritional metabolic dysfunctions.


  • Nutrition and food. Use and meaning of terms. Nutritional principles. Nutritional standards and food guidelines. LARN, safety intervals and food intake adequacy, and food pyramid. Food classes. Macronutrients and micronutrients.
  • Carbohydrates. Biochemical and nutritional classification of carbohydrates; main carbohydrates introduced with the diet and their energy value; digestion and absorption. Metabolism of carbohydrates. Glycemic index and glycemic load and their biochemical significance. Sweeteners. Role of carbohydrates available. Dietary fiber. Solubility, viscosity and fermentability of dietary fibers. Beneficial and negative effects of fibers. Recommended intake levels. Food sources. Dietary fibers and health.
  • Lipids. Classification and chemical composition. Main lipids introduced with diet and energy value. Fatty acids of nutritional interest: saturates and unsaturates, essential fatty acids, trans fatty acids. Lipidic requirements. Mobilization of the reserves of triacylglycerols. Dietary cholesterol and endogenous cholesterol: balance of cholesterol in the body. Digestion and absorption of lipids. Transport of cholesterol and other lipids by plasma lipoproteins. Non-pharmacological control of cholesterolemia. Regulation of gene expression of lipogenic enzymes induced by a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  • Protids. Nutritional meaning and energy value. Amino acids: functional, nutritional and metabolic classification. Metabolic destines of amino acids: glucogenic, ketogenic and mixed amino acids. Protein turnover. Nutritional value of proteins and regulation of nitrogen balance. Supplementation of food proteins. Protein requirements. Phenylketonuria. The celiac disease.

  • Water. Exogenous water and endogenous water. Water requirements. Total water content of the body. Water losses of the body. Alterations of the water balance. Water as food.

  • Ethanol. Alcoholic beverages. Absorption and distribution of ethanol. Ethanol metabolism: alcohol dehydrogenase, aldehyde dehydrogenase, microsomial system. Metabolic alterations induced by ethanol on glucidic and lipid metabolisms. Alcohol and pregnancy. Methanol toxicity.

  • Metabolic regulation. Distribution of energetic reserves. Metabolic adaptations to calorie restriction and fasting.

  • Dietary-genomic interactions. Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics.

  • Food toxicity. Xenobiotics and their methobolism. Compounds with negative effects on nutrition. Anti-nutrient molecules and toxic molecules in foods.

  • The intestinal microbiome

  • Bridging Courses

    The student is advised to have already pass:

    organic chemistry, biochemistry, physiology

    Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)


    At the end of the course and in order to pass the exam, the student must demonstrate that he has acquired knowledge of:

    • composition, nutritional value and biochemical significance of food;
    • relationship between nutrition and health, based on an understanding of the specific metabolic role of different classes of nutrients and bioactive compounds in food.


    The student must demonstrate understanding of the concepts and theories of the course.

    The student must be able to:

    • transfer theoretical information acquired in the field of nutritional biochemistry to scientific contexts in order to obtain useful goods and services;
    • to enhance the value of foods containing bioactive compounds designed to prevent widespread diseases with a high social impact typical of industrialised countries;


    In order to carry out, as future  biologist, correct nutritional information, the student must demonstrate:

    • to be able to display acquired knowledge with linguistic properties and to support interdisciplinary arguments;
    • discuss critically and communicate the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic metabolic factors on food quality and safety and their impact on health


    The student must be able to:

    • consult and understand scientific texts, bibliographical updates, regulatory prescriptions, so as to use them in usual contexts for the profession and for research.

    Teaching Material

    The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

    Supporting Activities

    The teaching material prepared by the teacher (such as slides, lectures, exercises, communications) can be found, together with other support activities, within the platform moodle blended.uniurb.it

    Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


    The course is taught by lectures


    Attendance is not compulsory, but is strongly recommended.

    « back Last update: 13/07/2021


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