DURHAM, N.H. – In an effort to further its mission to be the healthiest campus community in the country by 2020 and keep its students safe, the University of New Hampshire will no longer sell energy drinks in its retail and vending locations beginning in January 2012.
This is not the first step UNH Dining, which oversees seven retail and three dining hall locations, has taken in its commitment to health, and it won’t be the last. In addition to incorporating more local products into its menus and providing healthier food options in vending machines around campus, dining has eliminated trans fats from its offerings, removed salt shakers from tables, and reduced the sodium in many of its recipes. Officials are currently studying how to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup that is served.
“We felt it was important to support Healthy UNH and the president’s commitment to make our campus the healthiest in the country,” said David May, assistant vice president for business affairs. “These products, while legal and safe when consumed as intended, have been proven unsafe when overused or mixed with alcohol. Just recently there was an incident on campus involving energy drinks that helped send a student to the hospital. At UNH their sale accounts for just one half of one percent of our retail sales, and keeping our students safe and healthy is certainly worth much more than that.”
The New Hampshire Higher Education Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Survey, conducted last spring, found that 20 percent of UNH students who participated in the survey reported that they had mixed alcohol and energy drinks during the last 30 days.
Energy drinks, like Full Throttle, Red Bull and NOS, contain higher percentages of caffeine than soft drinks, as well as large amounts of sugar and additional ingredients that claim to boost mental and physical energy.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a standard serving of a mixed alcohol energy drink contains up to four times the amount of caffeine as a standard serving of a mixed alcohol and soda drink. Research found that energy drinks can contain up to 300 times the amount of caffeine that the FDA allows for soft drinks, which is especially dangerous because caffeine increases the risk of alcohol poisoning by making people feel “less drunk.” In addition, students who mixed alcohol and energy drinks reported double the incidence rates of injuring themselves, requiring medical attention, and being taken advantage of sexually than those who drank only alcohol, according to a recent report by College Student Educators International.
UNH Dining has won more than 30 national awards for dining excellence serving college and university campuses.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.