Diet, the Gut, Food Allergy and Intolerance

Key information

Start date:
To be confirmed
Attendance dates:
To be confirmed
Leggett Building, Manor Park campus, University of Surrey, Daphne Jackson Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7WG
Contact details:

Module overview

This module will give a detailed examination of the interaction between the gastrointestinal tract and food, in both health and pathological states.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the functioning of the healthy gut and the key role played by the intestinal microflora in health and disease
  • Describe the relationship between the gut, the immune system, allergy and food intolerance
  • Review the aetiology of colorectal cancer and discuss nutritional factors which may influence its development and progression
  • Analyse the extent to which dietary manipulation can improve maldigestion, malabsorption and excessive gut permeability
  • Evaluate the methods of assessment and treatment of food allergy and intolerance
  • Relate the physiological influences of fibre to gut health
  • Assess the evidence for the influence of nutritional factors on various pathological conditions of the intestine
  • Critically appraise current treatments of food intolerance
  • Apply theory critically to analyse own professional experience.

Course content

Indicative content includes, some or all of the following topics:

  • The healthy gut and digestion and absorption of macronutrients
  • Areas of the gut involved in the absorption of specific micronutrients
  • Adaptation of intestinal transporters
  • Role of the colon in human nutrition; non-starch polysaccharides; definition and content in foods; starch and resistant starch; fermentation
  • Physiological influences of fibre; plasma cholesterol lowering; modification of the glycaemic response; large bowel function; nutrient availability
  • Bacterial diversity in the GI tract; metabolic interactions; gas metabolism; proteolysis e.g. amine production; flora modulation by diet e.g. prebiotics and probiotics
  • Acute and chronic gut infection; irritable bowel disease; colitis
  • Nutritional management of coeliac disease; Crohn's disease; irritable bowel syndrome; ulcerative colitis
  • Impaired digestion and its consequences; achlorhydria; hypochlorhydria
  • Malabsorption syndromes; pathogenesis and management
  • Approaches to treatment of food intolerance e.g. exclusion diets; use in rheumatoid arthritis etc.; liabilities of exclusion diets
  • Increased intestinal permeability
  • The gut and the immune system
  • Food intolerance and allergy: definitions; diagnosis; symptoms, syndromes and disease in children and adults; lactose intolerance
  • Allergy testing
  • Colorectal cancer and diet.

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Journal club
  • Class discussions.


Assessment for the module is optional for those taking it as a short course. Assessment is compulsory if it is being taken as part of an award programme. Please contact the course leader, Denise Robertson, or the Programme Administrator, Angeliki Panagiotara, for further details.

Summative assessment

The summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Coursework: a range of subject areas will be assessed, demonstrating learning outcomes across the range for the module.
  • You will be required to submit the coursework electronically on a set deadline two months following the module.

In order to complete the assessments you will, as a starting point, be required to demonstrate knowledge obtained from the course material and reading. The essays will also require you to discuss and reflect on the material. Coursework essays are expected to be well researched and referenced.

Formative assessment

You will receive feedback electronically and module organisers will be available for further discussion if necessary.

Course leader

Denise Robertson profile image

Dr Denise Robertson

Reader in Nutritional Physiology

Reading list

You will be required to do some reading prior to the module starting, take a look at the reading list.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree in either a medical degree (MBBS, MBChB), Biology, Biological Sciences, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Nutrition, Nutritional Science, Human Nutrition, Dietetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Medical Microbiology, Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Natural Sciences, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Sport and Exercise Science, Psychology, or a recognised equivalent international qualification.

Applications that do not meet these criteria will also be considered based on relevant experience.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each component.

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

Fees and funding


How to apply

Please download and fill in an application form.

Send your form back to us at the address or email included on the form.

Please ensure that you have completed all sections and answered all questions, uncompleted forms may result in delays and ultimately missing out on available places. 

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Angeliki Panagiotara Programme Administrator

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH