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UNMC593 Advanced Culinary Nutrition Science in Practice - Theory


NUTR504 Foods for Special Diets in Practice

Unit rationale, description and aim

Special diets are not a new phenomenon yet in recent years the perceived and real need for foods for special diets has increased dramatically. Through a contemporary analysis of the place of special diets within our modern foodscape, this microcredential builds on UNMC593 Advanced Culinary Nutrition Science in Practice - Theory and UNMC594 Advanced Culinary Nutrition Science in Practice – Practical and facilitates students’ critical examination of popular and evidence-based diets for the maintenance of health and treatment of disease. Students will be expected to develop advanced food/ingredient and menu knowledge, critical understanding of special diet food regulations and food service standards.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Evaluate and synthesise the scientific evidence related to foods and diets, including expert food and ingredient knowledge, and critical understanding of food and diet-related regulatory considerations designed for specific purposes (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Present scientific evidence in highly meaningful engaging formats for a range of audiences (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

Nutrition and diets throughout the ages

Conditions requiring prescriptive diets

Food standards, including recipe guidelines and nutrient criteria, for special diets in food service

Theoretical bases for modified texture, energy and protein diets and foods

Theoretical bases for modified macronutrient diets and foods, limited examples provided below



Modified lactose

Modified fibre

           Low, no-carbohydrate

           Low, no sugar

Modified sweetener

           Modified fat

           Low FODMAPs

           Vegetarian and veganism

           Carbohydrate counting

           Portion control

           Ketogenic diet

Paleo diet

Theoretical bases for modified micronutrient/other bioactive components of diets and foods, limited examples below



Theoretical bases for modified other

           Specific food inclusions or exclusions

           Allergens and intolerances

           Elimination Diets

           Menu planning principles for pregnancy and aged care

Nutrient composition and laboratory analysis of foods for special diets

Theory and practice of food and nutrition writing for multimedia

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The microcredential content will be available throughout the determined teaching period but will be designed to be able to be completed over a minimum of 2 weeks, with submission of the assessment task following.

The microcredential begins with approaches designed to support acquisition of specialist knowledge of foods and ingredients in special diets, evidence and regulations for these diets, and then moves on to communication of special diets across multiple media. The approaches used to facilitate students’ learning include asynchronous online interactive learning modules. Interaction will be driven by engagement with forums using formats with high visual impact e.g. Padlet.

The approaches used in this microcredential have a constructively aligned developmental sequence designed to progressively, and logically, support students learning in ways that maximise the perceived (and actual) relevance and value of each activity. It is expected to engender high levels of engagement, efficiency, and effectiveness in students’ study behaviours, and to maximise their learning achievements. This strategy and approaches will allow students to meet the aim and learning outcomes of the microcredential. Learning and teaching approaches will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in learning activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In this microcredential, a single assessment tasks will involve a written assessment task submitted anytime within the teaching period. This task provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to critically evaluate and communicate complex evidence related to foods for special diets.

This assessment task will allow microcredential coordinators to assess students’ demonstration of the learning outcomes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written assessment task:

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to source and use scientific evidence to critically evaluate a current food/diet trend and create suitable media to communicate findings


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Agency for Clinical Innovation. (2011). Therapeutic Diet Specifications: For Adult Inpatients. Retrieved from Note: this document is under constant revision and updates must be retrieved from

Chendard, C.A., Rubenstein, L.M. Snetselaar, L.G. & Wahls, T. L. (2019). Nutrient Composition Comparison between a Modified Paleolithic Diet for Multiple Sclerosis and the Recommended Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern. Nutrients, 11(3), 537,

Coeliac Australia. (2019). Food Service. Retrieved from

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). (2019). Food Standards Code. Retrieved from  

Healthy Eating Advisory Service. Healthy Choices Guidelines:

History of Nutritional Science – in 4 parts:

Carpenter, K. J. (2003). A Short History of Nutritional Science: Part I (1785-1885). The Journal of Nutrition, 133(3), 638-45,;

Carpenter, K. J. (2003). A Short History of Nutritional Science: Part 2 (1885-1912). The Journal of Nutrition, 133(4), 975-84,;

Carpenter, K. J. (2003). A Short History of Nutritional Science: Part 3 (1912-1944). The Journal of Nutrition, 133(10), 3023-32,;

Carpenter, K. J. (2003). A Short History of Nutritional Science: Part 4 (1945-1985). The Journal of Nutrition, 133(11), 3331-42,

Menu Planning Guidelines for Long Day care

Mozaffarian, D., Rosenberg, I. & Uauy, R. (2018). History of modern nutrition science—implications for current research, dietary guidelines, and food policy. BMJ, 361:k2392, doi:


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