Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Nutrition & Food Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr Joelle Romanchik-Cerpovicz


Nonnutritive sweeteners, which include sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and stevia may positively impact health of individuals by helping to reduce Caloric and added sugar intake. Athletes may consider these factors when attempting to improve performance and, as such, may benefit from their use. However, no one has examined sources of nutrition knowledge and perceptions as well as use of nonnutritive sweeteners in college students based upon athletic status, gender, and whether students are studying a health or non-health related major. The objective of this study was to compare college students’ sources of nutrition knowledge to their perceptions and consumption of nonnutritive sweeteners. Excerpts of two validated surveys were completed by 930 students enrolled in HLTH 1520: Healthful Living at Georgia Southern University. While the majority of students noted their primary source of nutrition knowledge was the Internet, non-collegiate athletes, regardless of their gender, consulted the Internet significantly more than collegiate athletes. No significant differences between perceptions and use of nonnutritive sweeteners based on gender, athletic status, or academic major were noted. Many college students felt artificial sweeteners were harmful, had no health benefits, and they didn’t trust the regulators that license and control them. Since research and regulation confirm safety and potential health benefits of nonnutritive sweeteners, these results suggest overall lack of education about nonnutritive sweeteners among college students. Future work may include examination of the extent that nutrition courses are covering the topic of nonnutritive sweeteners.