Vermont-based Middlebury College recently announced that energy drinks would be no longer available for sale on campus as the beverages may make students more prone to engage in risky behaviors and have bad academic results. The institution will cease to sell the drinks starting March 7.
The idea belongs, however, to a college student and intern at the university’s Dining Services, Myles Kamisher-Koch. The student recently said at a gathering of students, faculty staffers and administrators that energy drinks on campuses encourage a “culture of stress” and bad behaviors among students.
Dan Detora, head of the college’s Dining Services, said in a recent interview that the beverages pose potentially serious health risks. Detora noted that energy drinks have often been tied to substance abuse and “high-risk sexual activity” on campus. Additionally, two students confirmed Mr. Detora concerns.
On the other hand, critics of the decision said that the college may be confusing a common association with a cause-and-effect relationship. They argue that students who are more prone to engage in risky behaviors on and off campuses are more likely to consume energy drinks. Not necessarily the other way around.
Kathleen Miller, an expert in addictions who conducted a study on energy drinks and teenage behavior eight years ago, explained that her team also found an association between kids consuming energy drinks and a high propensity for taking risks. But causation has yet to be proven.
Some college students disagree with the decision. Arnav Adhikari, one of senior students, believes that there are more pressing issues to solve than banning energy drinks from campus. Adhikari was not able to explain the link between the drinks and sexual activity either.
The student who works at the cafeteria deemed the recent decision ‘hypocritical’ because the school serves students lots of fried foods on a daily basis.
On the other hand, students won’t be barred from consuming energy drinks on campus. They will only be forced to get them from someplace else.
While past studies failed to find a cause and effect relationship between energy drinks and risky behavior, previous research did find a cohort of health risk directly tied to the beverages.
For instance, people with underlying cardiovascular conditions went into cardiac arrest after consuming the caffeinated drinks. This is why a study recommends teens to drink no more than 250 ml, and to refrain from drinking energy drinks before or during workout.
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