Spring Quarter 2011

Instructor:  Dr. Geraldine Moreno
Office:  Condon Hall, Room 302C
Telephone: Office: 346-5113
Office hours: W:1:00 – 2:00;  M & W 4:00 – 5:00; and  by appointment

Course Information
Class room: 260 Condon & McKenzie 442 (SSIL Lab)
CRN: 20306
Class Time: MW 2:00 – 4:00
Credits: 04
Course web site: (


This class, Nutritional Anthropology, was developed to provide a forum for examining the relationships among human dietary patterns, human biology and human evolution. Food is the “stuff” of life.  We eat food for social and cultural reasons.  And, we eat food because food contains nutrients, which allow us to function — grow, think, reproduce, work, resist disease and live. Too much, too little or an improper mix of nutrients can lead to health and biological problems. Therefore, the quest for food has been a major force in evolution and continues to have a profound effect on ecological systems, societies, human biology and human behavior. In this class we will focus our discussions on three main issues: 1) how the human diet has evolved and changed over time; 2) how food and dietary patterns are related to contemporary health issues and 3) how hunger and food security/insecurity is defined and affects human populations.  These three issues are interrelated and build on each other; consequently we will return to and reexamine the material throughout the quarter.


Learning is an active process. Formal lectures can convey information, but real understanding occurs when we become involved with a subject. This class centers on a modified Problem Based Learning format. The concept of “Problem Based Learning” is defined differently by each individual, however the general idea is that class participants use inquiry and self-discovery, based on real data, to form hypothesis as opposed to learning via lecture-fact memorization In this class we will use brainstorming, discussion, hands-on exercises, group reports, and other in-class activities to foster understanding among all learners. Each of us will play an important part in the teaching/learning process this quarter.

This class will require work using the class website and computers. Throughout the quarter you will be encouraged to think about the material, integrate information and work on activities. The class is designed to allow you to explore topics of particular interest to you, while at the same time encouraging you to learn with the help of others. A class website has been developed for the course. The web site will be used extensively throughout the quarter and you should consider it as a multimedia companion to the readings. By accessing the class site ( and the Blackboard site you will be able to access the syllabus, assignments, basic lecture notes and e-mail me. You will also find links to useful online resources about diet and nutrition related to our course work. In addition to the work on the web site we will also introduce and use several programs to analyze data. For example you will use a simple nutritional analysis software package called Food Processor to learn about your own diet. The website is password protected.  You will be given the password on the first day of class when we will review the site and how it will be used.



  1. To practice working productively in a collaborative setting with other students who represent a variety of backgrounds and learning styles.
  2. To produce a meaningful argument/presentation as a collaborative group that may include students with varying positions and perspectives.
  3. To learn more about how to write, speak, and defend your ideas using articulate language and logical arguments grounded in a nutritional anthropology and human biology perspective.

Operating primarily as a problem-based class we will seek to obtain a better understanding of food, nutrition and biology by seeking answers to the following questions:


  1. What is our primate heritage and how has it shaped human dietary patterns and requirements? What is the “natural” human diet? Is the Hunter/Gatherer diet appropriate as a model of evolving humans?


  1. What dietary practices are found in other societies?
  2. What have been the historical shifts in diets and how have they affected us?
  3. What are the human diseases associated with diet? Are there cultural differences?
    Evolutionary relationships?


  1. What is malnutrition?  How is it defined as a biological concept? What is hunger? How do we define Hunger?

Required Readings
Reading assignments: Available on the Blackboard site and some will be either at Knight Library Reserve Room or on e-reserve. Additionally the readings will be available at the copy shop.


Grading: Your grade will be based on class activities, quizzes and essay/issue paper assignments.
I will use the following scale for determining grades, although + and – grades may also be assigned:
A = 90 – 100%; B =  80 – 89%; C =  70 – 79%; D =  60 – 69%; F =  < 60%

(1) Class activities.
The in class activities provide “hands-on” learning experiences – for example you will have the opportunity to:
(1) work in a small group setting to evaluate material and develop presentations, (2) critique or review “real-life” situations or information and, (3) develop hypotheses, analyze data and write up short project reports.

(2) Quizzes.
A number of quizzes on the readings and lecture material will happen during the quarter. The short-answer quizzes are designed to encourage you keep up with the readings. They will occur at regular intervals and will be announced in class. If all of the quizzes are taken I will drop the lowest grade.

(3) Essays/Issue papers/Presentations
Exposure to the depth and breadth of nutritional anthropology is provided through essays.  You are required to complete several essay exercises. Essays will respond to questions of the specific problem or exercise in some of the modules. The essays are included in the activity page. In some cases the essay/issue paper will be the equivalent of a short project in which you will need to do outside research or analyze data that is provided in class.

Your essays MUST be submitted on the due date posted for the specific question on the module activity page.  For the essays I will encourage you to work in groups and consult with each other, but I also expect you to turn in your own, original written work for your own grade. If you plagiarize or cheat, you will fail the course. The essays/issue papers must be typed.

Make-up Policy: Due to the nature of the class and the emphasis on problem based activities and group work there it will be very difficult to make-up quizzes or module activities.  All group activities and the quizzes must be turned in on the appropriate due date except in the case of a severe illness, injury, or family emergency, in which case, you are required to notify me by telephone, or in person prior to the scheduled time.  An acceptable excuse is a signed statement from a physician or some evidence of a personal or family crisis. In these cases all make up material will be determined with the instructor. For the essay/issue papers: written work turned in late will lose points every day it is late.

Office Hours: I will have three hours of open office time per week. If these regular hours are not compatible with your schedule, please make an appointment. I encourage students to meet with me.  I feel that professor-student contact and communication are very important. Please come see me to talk about any questions you might have about reading or lecture material, to discuss plans/questions you might have about becoming an anthropology major/graduate student, or to evaluate ideas you might have about research in nutritional anthropology.

* If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodation in this course please contact me soon.  Please also contact Ms. Hilary Gerdes, Counselor For Students with Disabilities (6-3211) for assistance and request a letter be sent verifying your disability.


Module #1  Introduction: What is nutritional anthropology?

  1. Pelto, G.H. A. Goodman and D. Dufour. 2000 The Biocultural Perspective in Nutritional Anthropology. In: Nutritional Anthropology, A. Goodman et al (Eds), Pp. 1 -9. Mayfield Publ.Co
  2. Lee, B. 2000  Eating Christmas in the Kalahari. In: Nutritional Anthropology, A. Goodman et al (Eds), Pp. 12-15. Mayfield Publ.Co.
  3. Grossman, J. 2000 How many calories are there in a 230-calorie dinner? In: Nutritional Anthropology, A. Goodman et al (Eds), Pp. 16-19. Mayfield Publ.Co
  4. Berg, J, M. Nestle and A. Bentley 2003 Food Studies. In: Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.  S. Katz, Ed. Thompson: New York p. 16 -18.
  5. Mintz, S. 2002 Food and Eating: Some Persisting Questions. In Food Nations, W. Belasco &  P. Scranton (eds),  Pp. 24 – 33. Routledge: N.Y.

Other Resources:

  1. Messer, E. 2007 Cultural Factors in Food Habits: Reflections in Memory of Christine S. Wilson. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 46 (3): 185-204.
  2. MacClancy J. and H. Macbeth 2004 Introduction. How to Do Anthropologies of Food. In: Researching Food Habits, H. Macbeth and J. MacClancy (eds), Pp.1 – 8. rghahaBooks: New York.

Module 2: Crash course in human nutrition.

  1. Carbohydrates in Human Nutrition. (FAO Food and Nutrition Paper – 66)
    Read or Skim: Chapters 1 & 2.
  2. Optional: Knight Library Reserve
    Nutrition concepts and controversies. Sizer, F.S. & E. N. Whitney:
    a. Chapter 3:The Remarkable Body.
    b. Chapter 4: The Carbohydrates: Sugar, Starch, Glycogen, and Fiber.
    c. Chapter 5: The Lipids: Fats, Oils, Phospholipids, and Sterols.
    d. Chapter 6:The Proteins and Amino Acids.
    e. Chapter 7: The Vitamins.
  3. Review Websites and Video Information


Module 3: The digestive system & Taste

  1. Smith, D. and Margolskee, Robert F 2001. Making Sense of Taste. Scientific American 284 (3): 26 – 33.
  2. Eisenstein, M. 2010 More Than Meets The Mouth. Nature 468: S18-S19

Week 3 & 4
Module 4: Dietary Guidelines

  1. Nestle, Marion 2002 Politics versus science. In Food Politics, Pp. 51 – 66. University of California Press: Berkeley.
  2. Dwyer, J. 2010 Dietary Guidelines 2010 Some Things Old, Some Things New, Some Things Borrowed, and Much That Is True. Nutrition Today 45 ( 4): 144 – 146
  3. Nestle, M. 2010 Translating the Dietary Guidelines. The Atlantic Monthly.
  4. Willett, W. 2010 The Long Road to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  5. Harvard School of Public. Health Food Pyramids: What Should You Really Eat?
  6. Keller, I. and T. Lang 2007 Food-based dietary guidelines and implementation: lessons from four countries – Chile, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa. Public Health Nutrition: 11(8), 867–874.
  7. Hercberg, S. et al. 2008 The French National Nutrition and Health Program: 2001– 2006–2010. Int J Public Health 53: 68–77.

Other Resources:

  1. Liebman, B. and D. Schardt: The Changing American Diet: A Report Card. Nutrition Action Health Letter, December 2006.
  2. U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  3. Willet, W. and M. J. Stampfer. 2003 Rebuilding the Food Pyramid
  4. Harvard School of Public Health. 2006 Food Pyramids: What You Should Really Eat
  5. International Food and Nutrition Council. 2002 Dietary Reference Intakes: An Update.

Weeks 4 & 5
Module #8 Diet in Cross Cultural Perspective

  1. Ulijaszek, S. Dietary Intake Methods in the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. In Researching Food Habits. Methods and Problems, H. Macbeth and J. MacClancy (eds), 119- 135. Berghahn Books: New York.

Case Study Resources:

  1. Berti, P. et al. 2010 Assessment and Characterization of the Diet of an Isolated Population in the Bolivian Andes. American Journal of Human Biology 22:741–749 (2
  2. Pérez-Cueto, F.and P. Kolsteren 2004 Changes in the nutritional status of Bolivian women 1994-1998: demographic and social predictors. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 58, Number 4, Pages 660-666
  3. Moreno-Black, G. 1983. Dietary Status and Dietary Diversity in Native Highland Bolivian Boys. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 13:149-156
  4. Macdonald B, Johns T, Gray-Donald K, Receveur O. 2004. Ecuadorian Andean women’s nutrition varies with age and socioeconomic status. Food Nutr Bull 25:239–247


  1. Somnasang, P. and G. Moreno-Black. 2000 Knowing, Gathering and Eating: Knowledge and Attitudes Concerning Wild Food in An Isan Village. Ethnobiology 20 (2):197 -216
  2. Moreno-Black, G. and P. Somnasang. 2000 In Times of Plenty and Times of Scarcity: Nondomesticated Food In Northeastern Thailand. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 38: 563-586.
  3. Johnson, N and L. Grivetti 2002 Environmental Change in Northern Thailand: Impact on Wild Edible Plant Availability. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 41:373-399.


  1. Guerrón-Montero, C. and G. Moreno-Black. 2001 Household Structure and Dietary Patterns in the Afro-Ecuadorian Highlands Food and Nutrition Bulletin 22:23 -30.
  2. Leonard, W. et al 1993 Ecological Correlates of Dietary Consumption and Nutritional Status in Highland and Coastal Ecuador. Ecology of food and nutrition. 31: 67-86.

Week 5 & 6
Module # 6: Evolution of The Human Diet: From the Paleolithic to South
Beach and Beyond.

  1. Armelagos, G 2010 The Omnivores Dilemma: The Evolution of The Brain and the Detrminants of Food Choice. J. Anth. Res. 66:161-186
  2. Konner, M. and SB Eaton 2010 Paleolithic Nutrition Twenty-Five Years Later. Nutrition in Clinical Practice 25 (6): 594-602.
  3. Eaton, S. B. and M. Konner 2000 Paleolithic Nutrition: A Consideration of Its Nature and Current Implications. In: Nutritional Anthropology, A. Goodman et al (Eds). Mayfield Publ.Co.: CA
  4. Nestle, M. 2000. Paleolithic Diets: A Skeptical View. Nutrition Bulletin 25: 43- 47.
  5. Cordain, L., S. Boyd Eaton, A. Sebastian, N. Mann, S. Lindeberg, B. Watkins, J. O’Keefe,and J. Brand-Miller 2005 Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 81:341–54.

Other Resources:

  1. Jönsson, T. et al. 2010 A Paleolithic Diet is More Satiating Per Calorie Than a Mediterranean-like Diet in Individuals With Ischemic Heart Disease. Nutrition & Metabolism 7:85- 94.
  2. Leonard, B. 2000 Food For Thought: Dietary Change Was a Driving Force in Human Evolution. Scientific American.
  3. Hockett, B and J. Haws 2003 Nutritional Ecology and Diachronic Trends in Paleolithic Diet and Health. Evolutionary Anthropology 12:211–216
  4. Bilsborough, S. and N. Mann 2006 A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans. Intl J Sport Nutr. 16: 129 – 152.
  5. O’Keefe, J. and L. Cordain J. 2004 Cardiovascular Disease Resulting From a Diet and Lifestyle at Odds With Our Paleolithic Genome: How to Become a 21st-Century Hunter-Gatherer. Mayo Clin Proc.79:101-108.

Week 7: Statistics Review – no reading assignments

Week 7 & 8
Modules #10 & 12 Diet Related Disease and the Nutrition Transition
General Readings

  1. Pelto, Gretel and Pertti Pelto Diet and delocalization: Dietary changes since 1750.
  2. Sapolsky, Robert M. Junk food monkeys
  3. Popkin, B. 2003 The Nutrition Transition in the Developing World. Development Policy Review, 2003, 21 (5-6): 581-597
  4. Satia, J. 2010 Dietary Acculturation and the Nutrition Transition: An Overview. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. 35: 219-223.

Diet Related Diseases
See Blackboard
Nutrition Transition
See Blackboard

Week 9
Module 12: Obesity

See Blackboard

Week 10:
Module 11: Hunger & Food Insecurity

  1. Barrett, C. 2010 Measuring Food Insecurity. Science 327: 825-828.
  2. Renzaho, A. and D. Mellor 2009 Food security measurement in cultural pluralism: Missing the point or conceptual misunderstanding? Nutrition 26:1-9.
  3. Weaver, L.J. and C. Hadley 2009 Moving Beyond Hunger and Nutrition: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Linking Food Insecurity and Mental Health in Developing Countries. Ecology of food and Nutrition 48 (4): 263-484
  4. Webb, P.,J. Coates, E. Frongillo, B. Rogers, A. Swindale, and P. Bilinsky 2006 Measuring Household Food Insecurity: Why It’s So Important and Yet So Difficult to Do. J. Nutr. 2006 136: 1404S-1408S
  5. Allen, P. 2007 The Disappearance of Hunger in America. Gastronomica 7(3):19-23

Links and other resources:

  1. FAO 2009 More people than ever are victims of hunger.
  2. Hart, T. 2009 Exploring definitions of food insecurity and vulnerability: time to refocus assessments. Agrekon 48(4): 362 – 383
  3. Moreno-Black, G. and C. Guerrón-Montero. 2005 Speaking of Hunger and Coping With Food Insecurity: Experiences in the Afro-Ecuadorian Highlands. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 44: 1-28.
  4. Piaseu , N. S. Komindrb, and B. Belzac 2010 Understanding Food Insecurity Among Thai Older Women in an Urban Community. Health Care for Women International, 31:1110–1127
  5. Rodrigues, I.P.B.F. 2008 From Silence to Silence: The Hidden Story of a Beef Stew in Cape Verde. Anthropological Quarterly, 81(2):343-376
  6. Shoae,N., N. Omidvar, M. Ghazi-Tabatabaie,A. Rad, H. Fallah and Y. Mehrabi 2007 Is the adapted Radimer/Cornell questionnaire valid to measure food insecurity of urban households in Tehran, Iran? Public Health Nutrition: 10(8), 855–861.
  7. Vargas, S. and M.E. Penny 2010 Measuring Food Insecurity and Hunger in Peru: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of an Adapted Version of the USDA’s Food
  8. Insecurity and Hunger Module. Public Health Nutrition 13 (10): 1488-1497
  9. Hamelin, A-M et al. 2002 Characterization of household food insecurity in Quebec: food and feelings. Social Science and Medicine 54: 119 – 132
  10. Larson, N. and M. Story 2011 Food Insecurity and Weight Status Among U.S. Children and Families. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 40 (2): 166-173.
  11. Graham, M. 2003 Adaptation of the weighed food record method to households in the Peruvian Andes and ethnographic insights on hunger. Field methods: 15 (2 ):143 -160