78799 - Nutritional Physiology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Enzo Spisni
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: BIO/09
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Blended Learning
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Health Biology (cod. 5729)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows the physiological basis of the science of nutrition and is able to draw up diets, carry out training and control activities in the public and private sectors related to food. In particular, the student is able to work on his own as a nutritionist, in private and public laboratories, in hospital companies, in Healthcare facilities or within industries in the agro-food sector.

Course contents

Below are the topics covered during lessons and the insights on specific issues.

Main topics

Digestive system functions

Motility of the digestive system

Gastrointestinal secretions

Digestion and absorption of macro and micronutrients

The adipose organ

Hunger, appetite, satiety.

The Enteric Nervous System

The taste

The role of insulinemia

Energy metabolism

Energy balance and regulation of nutrient intake

Evolution of nutrition in humans

Evolution of food consumption

Food and nutrients

Food consumption and diets

Environmental sustainability of diets

In depth:

Reflux esophagitis

Pharmacological control of gastric hyperacidity

Helicobacter pylori

Gallbladder lithiasis

Dyslipidemias, and atherosclerosis

Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes

Antimicrobial peptides

The role of the Microbiota

Probiotics and prebiotics

Overweight and obesity

Product labeling


The glycemic index of food and meals

Dietary fiber

Excess protein and Gout

Water and water balance

Bioflavonoids, terpenes, phytosterols

Food additives


Personalized food diaries and nutrition plans

The role of the nutritionist

Vegetarian and vegan diets

Food sustainability of diets

Ultra-processed foods (NOVA4)

Eating disorders.

Practical part:

Anthropoplicometric evaluation in practice (Plicometer and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis- BIA)

Analysis of food diaries and identification of the main errors

Correct food plan formulation through the use of nutritional software.




Teaching methods

Interactive lectures on PowerPoint presentations and seminars.

Working groups for the construction of personalized nutritional plans.


Assessment methods

Report in progress with use of nutritional software. One optional  written exam (June). Oral exams on a monthly basis.


Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations, selection of recent scientific papers.

Office hours

See the website of Enzo Spisni


Good health and well-being Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.