Dry Scooping Tiktok Challenge Risky for Kids, Doctors Warn Parents

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The Cincinnati Children's Hospital has issued a warning for parents to be aware of the risks of another rising TikTok challenge called dry scooping. Medical staff members of the hospital said that the adults should talk to their kids about the dangers of this trend, especially if they are taking supplements.

In a post on Facebook, the hospital's information center relayed that dry scooping is a choking risk and could also lead to a heart attack in some cases. This trend involves ingesting a protein powder or supplement for a pre-workout routine without any liquid mixture.

The hospital said that protein powder contains a rich amount of caffeine that needs to be diluted in water and never swallowed dry. Without water, the body will absorb the supplements a lot quicker, which could overwhelm vital organs like the heart, liver, or kidneys.

"When consumed in excess or too rapidly, caffeine can cause jitters, upset stomach, sleep problems and increased heart rate," the post indicated.

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Why Young People are Dry Scooping

According to Today, dry scooping became popular on TikTok, the social media of choice for teenagers and young adults, because of the promise of a "bigger energy boost" that works best when doing a physical fitness routine. Compared to drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, a dry scoop of protein powder could equal one to three cups of coffee.

However, this could lead to an elevated heart rate or blood pressure that may also disrupt a person's heart rhythm. Because the powder is not diluted, other people might have a harder time swallowing the protein shake, which is why makers of these supplements always recommend mixing the powder in water thoroughly before ingesting.

Britney Portillo, a 20-year-old TikTok user, revealed that she had to be rushed to the hospital after experiencing heart attack symptoms when she tried dry scooping. She said that she saw this trend on the social media app and decided to try it to help her burn more energy.

Soon, she felt tingly and itchy but still proceeded with her workout because she Googled that her symptoms were the "normal side effects" of dry scooping. Portillo said she felt some chest pains as she was doing her physical activities but chalked it up to a "bad panic attack."

She went to work that morning despite feeling light-headed and nauseous. When she started sweating profusely, she called 911 and was taken to the hospital, where the doctors said she suffered non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), a mild type of heart attack. She was advised to hold off on the caffeine for at least four days and monitor her heart rate on her smartwatch.

More Warning from Doctors

Another young woman on Tiktok shared her attempt at dry scooping and stopped breathing for few seconds. Her video has had over 2.1 million views.

Doctors also said pre-workout supplements and protein powders aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are sold in the market, which means that the ingredients on the packaging might not be accurate.

Instead of using supplements, parents of teens and young adults should advocate for tried and tested pre-workout routines, such as getting enough sleep before a workout to let the body recover well or eating healthy meals and snacks to build energy. If the kids still prefer to take supplements, they should seek the advice of the family doctor or healthcare provider to prevent experiencing side effects.

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