TORONTO — With the TikTok “dry scooping” challenge taking off on the social media platform, health and nutrition experts say the trend is dangerous and can lead to serious health and safety concerns.
The newest dry scooping trend challenges people to consume a scoop of pre-workout powder without diluting it with water first.
Anisha Gupta, registered dietitian and nutrition coach at Hello Nutrition, said that people may be turning to this trend with the mindset that they can get results faster, but participating in the challenge can actually be “very dangerous.”
“This trend is very dangerous because we are not following directions on how this product should be taken,” Gupta said. “We trust companies who are creating these powders to do so safely, so adding a protein powder to a liquid is there for a reason.”
Gupta also said that the pre-workout powders are already intended for quick digestion, and by not diluting it with a liquid, it could make the body absorb the powder even faster.
“These pre-workout powders are meant to digest quickly so they are already simple in terms of absorption. By taking it without liquid, I believe that would make it absorb faster, which means that it is probably a lot for the body to handle all at once.”
Sarah Burnett, a registered dietitian who works in public health, said that the large quantity of pre-workout powder that people are consuming can affect their blood pressure.
“I think the biggest safety concern is with the fact that caffeine and nitric oxide are in pre-workout, which both can affect your blood pressure,” Burnett told CTVNews.ca.
“One of the biggest things though is the phrase ‘the dose makes the poison’. Since with dry scooping it seems that many people would be taking a larger quantity of the product than is recommended, it could become dangerous if too much is taken at once.”
After doing the ‘#dryscoopingchallenge’, some TikTok users reported going to the hospital due to heart attack-like symptoms.
Burnett says that although she isn’t familiar with a particular case, it’s common that consuming too much caffeine at once can result in symptoms that may feel like a heart attack.
“The recommendation for the public is not to consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day, which could be easily exceeded with a non-food or beverage product,” she said. “It is fairly common with too much caffeine at once, especially on an empty stomach, [that it] can result in heart palpitations and anxiety which is both very uncomfortable and may feel like a heart attack.”
Burnett added that toxicity from caffeine occurs between 15 to 30 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which is approximately 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams for someone who weighs 150 pounds.
Alternatives for maximizing your workout
Maria-Christina Conte, a nutrition consultant based in Toronto, Ont., said that although pre-workout powders can help fuel your body when taken in moderation, there are other ways to maximize your workout routine.
One way is through the food that you consume.
Conte said that every body reacts to food in a different way, and it’s about finding a diet that increases your energy.
“It’s about seeing when you feel your best and what foods make you feel your best. Food should be our main fuel,” she said. “It’s creating a body that is able to withstand things all the time, not just temporarily before your workout. Caffeine and things like nitric oxide, which is another ingredient in pre-workout, are temporary fixes.”
She also added that staying hydrated is key, because with dehydration, symptoms such as dizziness can follow.
Lastly, Conte said that increasing your protein intake can give you the energy you need.
“Whether it’s in the form of protein powder or in food, think of how your energy is allocated and used up efficiently during the day,” she said. “In order to maintain a real healthy exercise and diet plan, you’ve got to think long term and think of the body as a whole.”