Thanks for answering, Jeff.
I briefly looked at the Kaplan site. I guess my interest would be the dietetics. I'm very interested in how nutrition affects every aspect of how we function and all the body's interactions. It's for my own interest now, but it could lead to helping others in the future.
I'm 49 yrs old, so I don't know if I could look forward to a career in the field. It would probably take me 8-10 yrs to complete a degree going part time. That degree is offered here at the University of New Mexico. I took a couple A&S classes 20 yrs ago. This year, I readmitted and tried taking a French class, but ended up dropping it.
You see, I'll be an empty nester soon, and I thought about what I'd like to try for this next phase of my life, since I now have the time. --it would be a lot of money, though, especially since my youngest son will be entering UNM for Mechanical Engineering.
I like the idea of just knowing more about how the body works. I'm with you that taking a more scientific, professional approach would be a better way to really understand the truth of nutrition.
Do you have any suggestions for me on how to proceed? Do you think I'm too old to start pursuing this?
First, I agree with everyone. It is never to late to begin something new. In fact, learning something new is the best way to keep your mind active and young. I went back to school at 35 and had similar thoughts, so the thoughts are normal, but where would you be in 5-10 years if you didnt do what you wanted? I know a women who went back and got here nursing degree when she was in her mid 70s.
It sounds to me what you are really interested in is what we call biochemistry and/or physiology, which is what the core of what nutrition really is, how foods breaks, down, is metabolized, interacts and functions with in the human body. I see nutrition in 2 ways, the first is the nutrition about the foods we eat "before" we consume them, which would be the analysis of foods, nutrient sources, meal planning, recipes, etc. The second is the nutrition about foods "after" we eat them, which is the biochemistry and physiology part of it.
Some suggestions, which you can look into and see what interests you.
1) I can send you some links for some free online reports by the NAS, and WHO all about food and nutrients. They go into all the differences in sources, types, absorption rates, nutrient balance, metabolism, etc etc. For instance, the one on calcium talks all about the different source, the effect of animal protein, salt, exercise, vit d, vit k, and how each one effects calcium and why are recommendations are elevated compared to World Health.
2) You can sign up for a college class at a local university or college, even just to audit it on nutrition and/or biochemistry (or they may have you take regular chemistry first).
3) try one of the online courses in nutrition, biochemistry or physiology, so you can work at your own pace
4) I can recommend a textbook in basic nutrition, which you can get and read at your own pace.
Also, if you would like, there is a board at vegsource, on the topic of nutrition education which is moderated by Mark Rifkin, RD, where he discusses similar questions.
Let me know if i can be of anymore help
Jeff Novick, MS, RD