Good nutrition sounds simple: eat a variety of wholesome foods and drink some water. But in our modern environment, we are surrounded by food options very different from those on a traditional farm. Low-calorie sweeteners, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and a multitude of other additives vie for our attention, all claiming to be the key to improved health. Recently, diets of deprivation (e.g., ketogenic and intermittent fasting) have also gained popular interest, raising the question not simply of what we need to eat to be healthy, but also to what extent we might benefit from sometimes not eating at all. How can we figure out a “best” way to eat (or not eat), for each of us personally, and then survive a trip to the grocery store or our own kitchen? Science provides broad guidelines for meeting our body’s needs, but only when applied to each person’s individual situation does an effective, sustainable personalized approach emerge. Each homework assignment will challenge students to apply the concepts from class to their own personal life, schedule, and food preferences. In the end, each student’s diet will be highly individualized in spite of being based on the same sound principles. Nutrition for general health, weight loss, disease prevention, and exercise performance will be contrasted in this course.
Students should be comfortable hearing about scientific findings on the topics discussed in class, but no science background is required in this introductory course. Students should consult their physician or other healthcare professional before modifying their diets.
Clyde Wilson, Research Associate, Biochemistry, UC San Francisco
Clyde Wilson has taught kinesiology in Stanford Human Biology, nutrition and human movement in Stanford’s Department of Athletics, and food pharmacology in the Stanford and UCSF medical schools. He received a PhD in chemistry from Stanford and researches metabolic regulation at UCSF.