Dieticians: Topics, lesson material, class reports, and further tips and exercises

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.

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)

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, episode 3. 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.

Pass 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 chose 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