Knowledge and Perceptions of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners Within the UK Adult Population
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Data Collection
2.2. Sample Size Calculation and Statistical Analysis
3.1. Source of NNS in Foods and Drinks
3.2. Reasons for Consuming NNS
3.3. Knowledge and Perceptions of Safety and Benefits of NNS
3.3.1. Influence of Age on Perceptions
3.3.2. Influence of Gender on Perceptions
3.3.3. Influence of Profession on Perceptions
3.3.4. Influence of Education Level on Perceptions
3.4. Sources of Consumers’ Knowledge of Benefits and Safety of NNS
3.5. Knowledge and Trust in Regulations Surrounding the Use of Artificial Sweeteners
3.6. Attitudes towards Different Types of Sweeteners
3.7. Knowledge Dissemination
- Educate consumers and health professionals that “natural” does not necessarily imply “healthy”. Additionally, as stevia derives from plant sources, we suggest avoiding grouping it under the umbrella of “artificial sweeteners”. We also recommend unifying the labelling of these substances to either NNS or LCS across all online resources of professional organisations and regulatory bodies.
- Government health agencies (notably the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK) are held in high esteem in this population, and they could therefore promote easy to access information relating to benefits and risks of NNS, particularly through media, social media and leaflets. The feasibility of these initiatives would evidently need to be further explored.
- The practicality of displaying more information on the benefits of NNS on food packages needs to be investigated.
- There remains a gap in knowledge in research relating to some health impacts of NNS (e.g., on gut microbiota) . Further studies are essential to provide further evidence of the safety and benefits of NNS for health professionals and the public.
Strengths and Limitations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Number of Respondents|
(N = 1589)
|Percentage of the Population|
|No formal qualifications||43||2.7%|
|A-Level or Equivalent||332||20.9%|
|Managers, directors and senior officials||198||12.5%|
|Professional occupations (other than health-related)||323||20.3%|
|Associate professionals or technical||57||3.6%|
|Administrative and secretarial||165||10.4%|
|Caring, leisure and other service||82||5.2%|
|Sales and customer service||94||5.9%|
|Country of residence|
|Type 1 Diabetes||18||1.1%|
|Type 2 Diabetes||92||5.8%|
|High blood pressure||208||13.1%|
|None of the above||1266||79.7%|
|I Consume Artificial Sweeteners Because They:||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neither Agree nor Disagree||Agree||Strongly Agree|
|Are tasty||94 (9.6%)||191 (19.5%)||441 (44.9%)||212 (21.6%)||44 (4.5%)|
|Are healthier than sugars||88 (9%)||180 (18.3%)||255 (26%)||360 (36.7%)||99 (10.1%)|
|Are low in calories||55 (5.6%)||33 (3.4%)||98 (10%)||393 (40%)||403 (41%)|
|Satisfy sweet cravings||78 (7.9%)||118 (12%)||236 (24%)||412 (42%)||138 (14.1%)|
|Are ingredients in foods and products that I consume||52 (5.3%)||36 (3.7%)||117 (11.9%)||447 (45.5%)||330 (33.6%)|
|Question||Strongly Disagree||Disagree||Neither Agree nor Disagree||Agree||Strongly Agree||I Don’t Know|
|I am aware of the regulation surrounding the use of artificial sweeteners||203 (12.8%)||632 (39.8%)||295 (18.6%)||303 (19.1%)||47 (3%)||109 (6.6%)|
|I am not aware of these regulations as I don’t know where to look for them||105 (6.6%)||384 (24.2%)||374 (23.5%)||504 (31.7%)||176 (11.1%)||46 (2.9%)|
|I am not aware of these regulations as I am not motivated enough to look for them||108 (6.8%)||319 (20.1%)||331 (20.8%)||609 (38.3%)||191 (12%)||31 (2%)|
|I trust the regulatory bodies as their aim is to protect consumers’ health||67 (4.2%)||172 (10.8%)||360 (22.7%)||765 (48.1%)||186 (11.7%)||39 (2.5%)|
|I trust the regulator’s position (such as EFSA and FSA) regarding the safety and benefits of artificial sweeteners||61 (3.8%)||155 (9.8%)||362 (22.8%)||784 (49.3%)||171 (10.8%)||56 (3.5%)|
|Regulations means only a safe amount of these sweeteners are available in foods and drinks||76 (4.8%)||227 (14.3%)||412 (25.9%)||577 (36.3%)||140 (8.8%)||157 (9.9%)|
|All artificial sweeteners have been vigorously tested before being allowed on the market||96 (6%)||193 (12.1%)||422 (26.6%)||506 (31.8%)||157 (9.9%)||215 (13.5%)|
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Farhat, G.; Dewison, F.; Stevenson, L. Knowledge and Perceptions of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners Within the UK Adult Population. Nutrients 2021, 13, 444. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020444
Farhat G, Dewison F, Stevenson L. Knowledge and Perceptions of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners Within the UK Adult Population. Nutrients. 2021; 13(2):444. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020444Chicago/Turabian Style
Farhat, Grace, Fleur Dewison, and Leo Stevenson. 2021. "Knowledge and Perceptions of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners Within the UK Adult Population" Nutrients 13, no. 2: 444. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020444