‘Dry Scooping’ is emerging as a new social media trend amongst the young.
But what is this TikTok craze and is it safe?
Here at SmartPlay we know that many of our readers use protein powders and sports supplements, either occasionally or regularly.
There are many good reasons to take dietary supplements: whether you are looking to increase muscle mass, struggling to find the time to prepare nutritious meals, consuming meal replacement shakes, or simply wanting to ensure that you get all the essential nutrients required for healthy living.
Whatever your motivation for taking supplements, we have yet to see a brand of protein powder which advocates ‘dry scooping‘, and for good reason.
What is Dry Scooping?
Dry scooping is eating protein powder and other pre-workout supplements raw – straight from the tub – rather than mixing the supplements with water.
At its most extreme, this means tipping a scoop of supplements straight into your mouth, adding just a couple of sips of water, and attempting to swallow it.
The practise seems to be gaining popularity thanks to social media platforms, such as TikTok, where clips of people dry scooping are beginning to score millions of views and likes.
It’s probably unsurprising to learn that most followers of the craze appear to be young people, who often refer to it as ‘the protein powder challenge’.
Amongst medical professionals there is universal concern; there are fears that it is becoming another health (or potentially life) threatening trend.
Why is Dry Scooping a Bad Idea?
Manufacturers of protein powders advise mixing their products with water or another liquid for good reason. Adding a scoop of a powdered supplement to a large protein shaker of water dilutes it to a concentration that the average body can safely metabolise.
Even if you’re super thirsty after a strenuous workout, you’re unlikely to neck an entire protein shake in one hit. And if you do, it’ll be ok because of the liquid content.
Likewise, if you follow recipes which suggest adding supplements to particular dishes to lift the protein content or to enhance their nutritional content, the other ingredients in the meal dilute the supplement at the time of consumption.
Possible Health Problems
The potential health problems arising from dry scooping will depend on the ingredients of the individual supplement powder.
Caffeine is of particular concern. Pre-workout powders are designed to give you a nutrient and energy boost before exercise and often this means they contain a dose of caffeine, along with vitamins and amino acids.
Caffeine can have a major detrimental effect on the heart. Research from the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York points out that a single scoop of supplement may contain the equivalent amount of caffeine as 5 cups of coffee.
Swallowed neat, this isn’t great news for anyone’s heart – least of all the hearts of children and young people.
Are you taking Glutamine, but unsure whether you should be? Take a look at our article Is Glutamine Right for You?
It’s a potential health issue that has been highlighted by Briatney Portillo, a 20-year-old American TikToker, who claims that taking part in the dry scooping craze led to her having a heart attack.
Then there’s the issue of whether or not you can actually trust what is in all powders.
If you purchase a reliable brand, it should contain exactly what it says on the nutritional panel, so you can check the contents for caffeine levels, etc.
However, many supplements that you can buy online are not so ethical when it comes to their labelling and you may be ingesting all kinds of nasties without knowing it.
Finally, there’s the very simple risk of choking or accidentally getting powder in your lungs if you happen to inhale the dry powder unintentionally.
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Buy Only Reputable Brands and Follow Guidelines
The bottom line is that you if you wish to take nutritional supplements you should always buy from a respected brand and one that has plenty of positive feedback.
And then you should take that powder in the form that they prescribe. This will almost certainly mean mixing it with water and drinking it rather than trying to gulp down a heap of it directly from the container scoop.
Hopefully, dry scooping will disappear before the TikTok craze gets much bigger. We all need to be sensible about what we put in our bodies and how we do it.
Train smart. Eat smart.
For additional information on this topic, see here.