A social media trend has got doctors around the world worried after research revealed that millions of young people may have seen videos of the new craze on TikTok and other social media channels.
Known as “dry scooping”, the challenge involves eating spoonfuls of undiluted pre-workout supplements. This can cause serious respiratory or cardiovascular complications – possibly even leading to death.
The pre-workout powder is intended to be mixed into water or another liquid and sipped like a drink. Their purpose is to give people an extra boost of energy before taking on physical exercise. With the challenge, social media users are swallowing scoops of powder without liquid.
Dr. Saumil Oza is the chief of cardiology at St. Vincent’s hospital. He’s among the growing number of healthcare professionals concerned about people doing this.
“As a person, I think that’s pretty disgusting,” Dr. Oza said. “These pre-workout drinks are supposed to mix with water and there’s a reason they recommend that. So, when you go against their guidelines, you’re putting yourself at risk.”
Doctors say powders like these can contain high doses of caffeine. Without water, it hits your body that much faster. One 20-year-old social media influencer says she suffered a heart attack after taking the challenge. Dr. Oza says underlying health conditions can play a big part.
“Many of these workout, pre-workout drinks have a lot of caffeine in them, which can have issues with patients with arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats,” Dr. Oza said. “They can exacerbate those conditions.”
Dr. Joy Gelbman, a cardiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, also said:
“That big jolt of caffeine can ramp up the heart rate and the blood pressure, essentially putting a strain on the heart that can lead to the release of this cardiac enzyme called troponin” which is associated with heart attacks, Gelbman told Women’s Health magazine. “If you take a big shot of caffeine like that, in addition to any other caffeine you’re drinking in your normal daily habits, it can spike the blood pressure or the heart rate or lead to heart rhythm disturbances, which can be pretty dangerous to an otherwise young, healthy person.”
Given the popularity of TikTok among kids, the researchers warn that the prevalence of dry scooping videos “may mislead millions of impressionable minors into improper use of pre-workout, which could lead to respiratory or cardiovascular distress and/or death.”
Earlier this year, 20-year-old social media influencer Briatney Portillo posted a video on TikTok in which she appeared in a hospital gown with a clown filter over her face. The brief video goes on to explain that she had suffered a heart attack after dry scooping before a workout, having previously come across the challenge trending on TikTok.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Portillo revealed that her entire body soon “started to feel tingly and itchy.” She later experienced chest pains and numbness in her left arm, at which point she called for an ambulance. Though she was fortunate to recover with no lasting damage, the episode provides a stark warning as to the dangers of dry scooping.
Watch the video report below for more details: