Dieticians Class 44: Topics, lesson material, class reports

Thursday, June 30 was our cooking session. Well, not so much mine, as I didn’t have that much to do, but to sprinkle some bagels with sesame seeds and try everything. It was a wonderful meal and I was quite impressed by the cooking and baking skills of class 44. Though a little skeptical at first concerning all the baked stuff, in the end the bagels and donuts, apple and pumpkin pie just added wonderful colors to a great mix of various things and were delicious. (I hadn’t eaten a donut in decades :-). Everything was set up as a buffet consisting of salads, sandwiches, meat dishes and casseroles, and all not only tasted fantastic, but also looked good.

I would like to thank the group for a great food experience and wish you all the best for your future careers (as chefs? 😉 )

June 29, 2021

The class is as good as over. We will meet for one last cooking session. We haven’t met since February, but there were exams to prepare for, so English took a back seat and I refrained from providing extra tasks. And, to tell the truth, there is enough here to go back to if someone wishes to brush up or continue improving their language skills. You could also check out the stuff for class 45.

For our cooking session: two sporcles for kitchen utensilskitchen utensils2. And here is one more: kitchen utensils-odd but useful

For cooking procedures 25 cooking procedures everyone should know

We will meet again in February on the 10th and the 17th. Since this is a longer break and continuity is of utmost importance for any learning process, I will provide you with little tasks for the coming weeks.

For December you could go back to the questions listed to guide you through the TED Talk by Dr William Li on angiogenesis: “Can we eat to starve cancer?”

For January, I sent some additional follow up questions. One relates to the (false) dichotomy of natural versus processed food, the task being to provide a detailed description of what ‘processed‘ actually means. The second is to take a closer look at the saying ‘The dose makes the poison‘.

In February, we will also have to discuss your summer projects, the work on which will start in March at the latest. The basic idea is that you come together in three to four groups, depending on if you would rather form a group of four or work in pairs. Each group will work on a topic or question (still to be decided) that will then be presented to class 45 in July. So far I have a few ideas I will explain in more detail at a later point in time. This idea has been discarded. Partly, because of the Corona situation. We will have a longer cooking session in summer instead. We will meet before for a little preparation and have several hours on July the 8th for Cooking in English 🙂


One of the topics of importance is Health Literacy: the knowledge people have about health issues. Check out the page Health Literacy Out Loud and listen to the podcast further down on this page. You will also find a link to the transcript of the podcast. You can also check out Helen Osborne’s book. I downloaded a sample on my Kindle (we could look at that together)


December 16, last meeting for this year

Our last meeting for this year was also our first online. This was the biggest group I have met online so far. It was a little different and I believe I would have to come up with other ideas for doing things than what I have been so far.

MS Teams now has a group function which means you can divide participants up into smaller units. With a larger group this might make sense to let them work on separate tasks before they come back together in the whole group to – for instance – introduce whatever it was they worked on in the smaller group.

In any case, we had planned to watch and discuss Dr William Li’s Ted talk together on nutrition and cancer, which we did, sharing the video online. I had sent some questions beforehand to go through and try to answer while or after watching. The group also had the transcript of the talk available in paper, though I always recommend listening without transcript (or subtitles) first, then listen again with subtitles, then maybe read the transcript, check vocabulary, watch again. With this repeating procedure you get the most out of anything you listen to as a foreign language learner.

In our case, we didn’t have that much time during our meeting, and as content and answering the questions was in focus, I switched on English subtitles.

The questions:

William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?

  1. In terms of length, how many blood vessels does a human body have?
  2. What does Dr Li mean when he says that blood vessels can adapt to any environment they are growing in?
  3. When do most blood vessels grow?
  4. What happens after an injury?
  5. How does the body regulate the amount of blood vessels present in the body at any given time?
  6. What is this process called?
  7. Name some diseases that are the consequence of an imbalance in this process?
  8. What do cancers need to become dangerous?
  9. What is meant by ‘cancer without disease’?
  10. What leads to exponential growth of cancer?
  11. What is anti-angiogenic therapy?
  12. According to Dr Li, what is one of the main problems in the treatment of cancer?
  13. According to his research, what is the role of diet in environmentally caused cancers?
  14. How can what we eat to support anti-angiogenesis?  (minute 12:00)
  15. What is some evidence that certain foods can reduce angiogenesis in cancer?


As our next meeting is one day before Thanksgiving, we will postpone Dr Fung and take a look at various American Thanksgiving food traditions. We will do this with the help of a 2016 New York Times article. The link can be found under Useful Lesson Links on the home page of this blog.


Following is a list of questions to guide along the reading process of Chapter 7 of The Obesity Code – We went through these question on December 2. Check out Dr Fung’s series of videos. You find the link under resource page.

  1. In a few words, summarize what this chapter is about.
  2. According to the author, a correlation between insulin level and obesity has been clearly established. In chapter 7 of The Obesity Code he sets out to prove that the relationship is: a) random b) coincidental c) causal   (chose the right word)
  3. How are insulin levels different in obese people compared to lean people?
  4. What makes it difficult to measure insulin levels during the day?
  5. What does Dr Fung recommend doing instead?
  6. Name  three examples of studies and/or observations (e.g. effects of different drugs/medication) he gives to prove the role of insulin in obesity (or weight gain in general)
  7. What is the main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
  8. A 2007 study compared three different insulin protocols and their effect on patients’ weight. Explain the differences between the basal insulin group and the prandial insulin group and what happened to them respectively.
  9. What is sulfonylurea?
  10. What do alpha glucosidase inhibitors do?
  11. Which type 2 medication does not lead to excessive weight gain?
  12. What happens to undiagnosed type 1 diabetics?
  13. What is it that type 1 patients sometimes do?
  14. What are SGLT-2 inhibitors?
  15. In what ways are insulin and leptin opposites?
  16. Dr Jason Fung says:

A critical physiological variable such as body fatness is not left up to the vagaries of daily caloric intake and exercise. Instead, hormones precisely and tightly regulate body fat. We don’t consciously control our body weight any more than we control our heart rates, our basal metabolic rates, our body temperatures or our breathing. These are all automatically regulated, and so is our weight. Hormones tell us we are hungry (ghrelin). Hormones  tell us we are full (peptide YY, cholecystokinin). Hormones increase energy expenditure (adrenalin). Hormones shut down energy expenditure (thyroid hormone). Obesity is a hormonal dysregulation of fat accumulation. Calories are nothing more than the proximate cause of obesity. (page 86, Kindle edition)

What are possible consequences of this in respect to common treatments of obesity or excessive weight? 

Fung, Dr. Jason. The Obesity Code (S.81). Greystone Books. Kindle-Version.

September 30

Last week we started reviewing some food vocabulary. We will finish the food cubes quiz coming Wednesday. We watched the Freaky Eaters episode except for the last five minutes. We will discuss the measures the nutritionist and the psychologist proposed for the pizza addict next meeting.

As we will have a longer break and meet again end of November, I will hand out the chapter on insulin from Dr Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code.

We will have to practice how to describe the vitamin and mineral content of specific foods. Problems came up when we (or members of the group) tried to describe foods with a high vitamin B1 content. (I will have to create an exercise for this)

Vitamin Bs

September 22

Plan for tomorrow

Last week, we reviewed body vocabulary by naming the organs shown in an anatomical image of a human body. We came across some questions concerning the digestive system, especially the intestines and colon, and needed to clarify some terms. For this we found an animated video that we watched and discussed.

After that we read some paragraphs in Dr Berg’s text on insulin resistance and started discussing the discrepancy between knowledge and action i.e. the question how advice is turned into useful action by the patient we are consulting, or – in other words – how do we get someone to change their habits, especially those we consider damaging to their health. We will continue to pursue this issue.

Next time we will finish reading the points Eric Berg recommends, review some food vocabulary and watch and discuss Freaky Eaters, season 1, episode3 . This programm is interesting in the light of the questions above: what do the doctor and nutritionist do to get their clients off their ‘freaky’ eating habits?

We will soon have to talk about food and cooking as the idea for an ‘American cuisine’ session came up. This begs many questions, the first being “What is ‘American cuisine’?”

Plan for September 16

I intend to repeat a little body and food vocabulary. Then I would like to read a few passages from Dr Eric Berg’s text on Insulin Resistance. Here, I would like to discuss how you would pass the advice Dr Berg suggests on to ‘patients’. Dr Berg also offers a health evaluation quiz. It might be interesting to check out, especially for vocabulary.

If time allows. I would also like to take a look at the contrastive verb structure examples below.

This morning I watched the third episode of the first season of Freaky Eaters. For English learning purposes it is definitely recommendable as it is only around 20 minutes and the protoganists speak, at least as far as I believe, clearly and not too fast. If you could watch it until next week, we could talk about the questions the programme raises.

In the following weeks I want to take a look at the dietician questionaire, explore the webpage Nutritank and start with TED Talks.

Hand out Spotlight text on Dr Robert Lustig (this I might postpone until next week if we agree on the assignment to watch Freaky Eaters episode) and start with his May 2020 talk he held in Australia. It is 57minutes long, so we can’t watch all of it. I might want to focus or pick out some passages.

Last week (September 2), we continued a little with our verb structure review and completed it with examples from the “Medical Students Learn Nothing about Nutrition” text. We found that in the texts we are or have been or will be looking at, the most common verb structure is most likely to be the simple present.

We reviewed one of the main uses of the progressive (BE+verb+ing) for fixed future plans or arrangements, and we finally listened to Dr Eric Berg’s video on insulin resistance. We agreed that we found he or his editors had exaggerated the visuals (an earlier version showed him explaining only with the help of his whiteboard – much better. Sometimes, as the German saying goes, less is more).

Watching the video led to talking about various forms of sugar, what is meant, or what does Dr Berg mean, when he simplifyingly speaks of sugar? We discussed how different forms of sugar, mainly glucose and fructose, are metabolized by the body and what too much fructose can lead to (fatty liver disease). In this connection we mentioned the disappearance of the supermarket shelves in Germany for diabetics with their offers of sweet products containing fructose as an alternative to sucrose/glucose.

We listed the many different names for sugar on food labels.

We spoke about high fructose corn syrup and how it has entered more and more food products, though I believe it is more ubiquitous in the US than in Germany. We will continue with that topic in future meetings. In this respect, Dr Robert Lustig and his fight against HFCS is worth following. I will select some text or video; on my list of resources he is mentioned,

In connection with HFCS I gave the example of hot dogs. In a short video in the series How stuff is made or How it is made one episode shows the production of hotdogs.

August 19, 2020

We started with an overview of English verb structures using examples from the BBC text “We learn nothing about nutrition…” For this overview, I am using my concept of the verb structure circle. You find a full description of the four basic forms on the respective page “The Verb Structure Circle” above with many examples demonstrating the meanings and uses of the single forms. In our class meeting, I tried to put a strong emphasis on the first and second forms, commonly referred to as simple present and simple past. However, we did end up talking more about the continuous forms. We only scratched the perfect forms. We will continue on this quest.

The concept of ‘participle’ seemed to be new and I wrote a separate post on the various usages of the so-called present participle VERB + ing. The other concept that needs to be understood and is directly linked to the concept of participles is that of auxiliaries (AUX).

Example sentences for verb structure review – describe the differences in meaning of the following sentences due to the respective verb form:

We are studying at the school for dieticians of the MHH.

They studied from 2014 to 2017.

We started in 2017.

We have been studying now for three years.

So far we have learned about……..

We also cook a lot.

Our exams are next year.

Modal forms

We will have to learn a lot until then.

You should team up for practicing.


200 Most Common English Verbs



Plan for July 15:

  1. Warm up quiz; Body parts – organs and their functions (copies)
  2. Show blog and where to find resources
  3. 5 most important organs
  4. Little film from Diabetes UK
  5. Dr Berg’s presentation in comparison with transcript and if time allows;
  6. Food sporcles
  7. For home preparation (vocabulary): Guardian article on medical students and nutrition

On the basis of this text, I would like to assess the individual vocabulary level and do a little verb structure exploration. The text is well written with relatively short sentences, so perfect for sentence structure examination. I would also like each of you to underline all unknown words to help me assess your knowledge.

Meeting July 15

We spent more time than planned on number 3, as I stopped the video for unknown words and expressions. So Dr Eric Berg will have to wait until after our holiday as next week I plan to do a little grammar on the basis of the text distributed today.

Did food sporcles pictogram, green and brown foods.

Important note: most of the time I choose pages I believe are trustworthy and useful. However, it is important to stay critical: check who is behind a page and if there might be some financial interests behind it. And feel free to point out anything you don’t agree with!

Body Parts Quiz

  1. Which organ/s is/are responsible for detoxification? _________________________________
  2. Which organ is the biggest? _____________________________________________________
  3. What is wrong with the image of moving sceletons? _________________________________
  4. Which organs is/are involved when people have diabetes? ____________________________
  5. Where are hormones produced? _________________________________________________
  6. Which organ metabolizes fructose? ______________________________________________
  7. What are the two different blood vessels called? ____________________________________
  8. What do zombies not have (I think)? ______________________________________________
  9. What kind of body part do (most) animals not have? _________________________________
  10. Where are blood cells produced? ________________________________________________
  11. Which body systems is resonsible for everything related to blood? ____________________________________________________________________________
  12. Which body part do soccer players protect the best? _________________________________
  13. Where does food go once it leaves the mouth i.e. we swallow it? _____________________________________________________________________
  14. Which organ/s is/are essential for breathing? ______________________________________
  15. Which organ looks like a kind of food and gives that food part of its name _______________
  16. What is sometimes referred to as the motor of our bodies? ___________________________
  17. Which muscles commonly cramp after vigorous exercise involving lots of running? ____________________________________________________________________________
  18. What is a different word for vertebral column? _____________________________________

Material for study of human anatomy    (keywords: vertebral column elearnin; also check e.g. liver elearnin; anatomy elearnin under videos – elearnin is a youtube based educational website)

Meeting 22 July:

We started with text from BBC “We learn nothing about nutrition, claim medical students” and will continue using it for a review of verb structures. For those who would like to practice further and get a thorough overview, go to my page “Verb Structure Circle”.

Next meeting August 19. Comment: our beginning is a little sluggish, the time between meetings too long for continuency to come up. That might remain a problem this year as the Corona situation has been changing everything. I need to start making more regular contributions to this page. For myself and anyone in class who should develop a bigger interest. We have met three times so far, but stretched over quite some time.The first meeting was on July 1.The first meeting was to get to know each other, talk about the course. Gave the group the course descriptions and the questionaire on their personal background and interests concerning English.

Plan for August 19: Verb structure review and Dr Eric Berg on Insulin Resistance

The reason I have chosen this video is not because it is scientific, but because he tries to explain body functions to potential patients or interested lay persons. I also think he speaks fairly clearly. The automated subtitles are sometimes proof of this: when a speaker mumbles too much, the ‘tranlation machine’ doesn’t get it. Shall there be anything you don’t like or agree with, or you would explain differently, tell us.

Material and topics for later meetings (for myself):

For lesson sequence: Let’s talk about Food:

Images of Food – describe what you see and add your favorite recipe

Nutrition, Health and Disease – Most common food related diseases according to current research. In connection with this topic look at Ted talks including Dr Terry Wahl’s TEDx on nutrition and MS