Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Nutrition & Food Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Joelle Romanchik-Cerpovicz


The Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in complex carbohydrates and plant-based foods, may be beneficial to athletic performance. To date, no one has examined adherence of collegiate athletes to a Mediterranean Diet. This study compared how closely collegiate, recreational/intramural, and non-athletes in college followed a Mediterranean Diet. Surveys and validated Mediterranean Diet score questionnaires were completed by 933 undergraduates in HLTH 1520: Healthful Living at Georgia Southern University. Participants self-reported following various diets including decreased or increased carbohydrate, increased protein, and increased water intake. No one specifically reported following a Mediterranean Diet and total calculated Mediterranean Diet scores were low and did not differ among groups. However, scores for individual Mediterranean Diet components varied. Male athletes, regardless of athletic classification, consumed more complex carbohydrates such as potatoes and more lean protein such as poultry and fish than female athletes. However, in contrast to a Mediterranean-type Diet, male athletes consumed larger amounts of red meat. Athletes also generally consumed significantly more complex carbohydrates than non-athletes and specifically, female athletes consumed significantly more vegetables than non-athlete females. These data suggest that while athletes consume more complex carbohydrates than non-athletes, males and females obtain these carbohydrates from different sources. It is possible that consumption of these components of the Mediterranean Diet may be determined in part by what specific sports males and females are participating in. Future studies may examine this possibility. These results are relevant to nutrition professionals as they develop appropriate educational programs on the Mediterranean Diet for athletes in college.