Research paper Topics for Nutrition Classes

Whether you choose to argue a point or present your understanding of a particular subject, selecting a topic for your nutrition course research paper should start with choosing something that genuinely interests you. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Effects of breastfeeding or formula on infant health

Much debate exists on the subject of breastfeeding and formula on infants' wellbeing. You may choose to argue a particular point (either for or against breastfeeding or formula) in your thesis statement on this topic. You may discuss the relevant information for developed countries, where a mixture of breast and formula feeding is typical, versus undeveloped countries where breastfeeding is the norm. Is lack of breastfeeding associated with certain conditions (e.g., obesity or diabetes)? Also consider the health effects on the mother, such as lower risk of ovarian cancer) and the mother/infant relationship. You may want to address situations where formula provides advantages over breastfeeding, such as for medical conditions of the infant or mother.

Discuss low-carbohydrate intake as a means of weight reduction

Several types of low-carb diets have seen much public scrutiny in the last several decades, giving us plenty of data to research. What are the advantages and disadvantages of low-carb diets in terms of short- and long-term effects on weight and overall wellness? Discuss the pros and cons of ketosis (the metabolic state where the body burns fat for fuel), such as lower appetite and higher stress on certain organs. Investigate the effects on metabolism when the body switches to a high-protein diet and then again when carbohydrates are reintroduced. Be sure to reference specific studies as evidence.

Research possible health effects of mercury in certain seafood

Some studies show a link between foods that contain a high level of mercury and adverse health effects. What foods typically are at risk for containing high levels of mercury (e.g., seafood such as tuna, shark, shellfish, etc.)? Are there certain people, such as pregnant or breastfeeding mothers or children, who are at particular risk? You should consider the significance of such risks for certain cultures or geographic areas where people eat more seafood. What are the effects of mercury poisoning on the nervous system, and how long does it take for the body to metabolize mercury? Are there factors that affect how much mercury certain types of seafood will contain? Do the health advantages of seafood (such as high levels of omega-3 acids, vitamin D, and protein) outweigh the risks of mercury intake?

Conduct research on diet as it relates to a mental health condition, such as depression

Certain biochemical processes are involved when we eat the "wrong" types of food, resulting in negative effects on our mental health. For example, not getting the right kinds of nutrients can leave the body more susceptible to infections, which may lead to depression. Diets high in processed foods are thought to also have detrimental outcomes in terms of mental health. What research exists that shows a link between diet and mental health? There is also a link between physical, emotional, and mental health in direct relation to our diet. What effects on body chemistry does food have, and how can years of a particular kind of diet alter that chemistry?

Study the nutrition of a particular culture or country

You may approach this type of topic as a way to present the positive or negative effects of a particular culture's typical diet in comparison to that of another culture or country.Or you may analyze the way nutrition differs from one are of the world to another and discuss the cultural differences that exist as a result of that. Do certain countries have a higher incidence of positive or negative health-related issues that can be attributed to their nutritional intake? Consider nutritional biodiversity (eating many different types of a particular food) and the way certain cultures approve of or disapprove of eating certain things. What food taboos exist throughout the world, and how do these affect the way we view culture? What effects might poverty have on one's nutritional health?

Age as a factor in the body's changing nutritional needs

Be sure to narrow your topic sufficiently for this topic; for example, you may investigate the body's nutritional needs during infancy in comparison to age 6 to 12 months. You may want to study the effects of nutrition on pregnancy, or the transition of milk to soft foods, or soft foods to chopped foods, etc. How does increased activity during teenage years affect our nutritional requirements? Although people typically need the same kinds of food in terms of the food pyramid, how do those amounts change over time?

Research the rate of food allergies and food intolerance through the ages or for a particular group

There are plenty of theories as to why the number of people with intolerances or food allergies seems to be increasing over time: being overly hygienic can lead to undeveloped immunity towards certain foods; being introduced to certain foods late in life may play a part; eating particular forms (for example, baked versus raw) of a certain food may be a factor. The idea also exists that perhaps the rate is the same as always, but there is better reporting of it nowadays. What effects to culture and demographics have on food allergies? For example, is a malnourished individual more or less predisposed for food allergies? You may discuss options and/or treatments for people with food allergies.

Health benefits of raw vegetables versus cooked vegetables

For this type of research paper, you will want to present evidence on a nutritional level; that is how does cooking food affect its enzymes, vitamins, toxicity, etc.? It may be helpful to discuss such areas on a molecular level. Does heating also affect the digestibility of food? What about the byproducts of cooking, such as chemicals in pots and pans, cooking fuels, oils, etc.? How has evolution played a part in cooking foods, and have people changed physically as a result? Examine the health effects of people who eat 100 percent raw food versus those who eat some cooked food.

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