TikTok gym-goers are eating a whole scoop of protein powder before a workout, a practice medics say does more harm than good.
The new fitness craze is known as dry scooping, which involves devouring a scoop of dry protein powder and washing it down with water before a workout session.
The method is said to stimulate stamina and boost performance. Traditionally, dry protein powder is consumed after being mixed into a drinkable liquid, and most of the time, blended with other ingredients such as fruits into smoothies.
While the science behind it is sketchy, influencers have started to pick it up, and this trend has gathered millions of likes on TikTok.
According to the BBC, experts are more than worried about the danger gym-goers are exposing themselves to, especially teenagers.
They believe eating pre-workout powders does not only cause heart-related issues but also damages the lungs.
Pointing to the caffeine equivalent of five cups of coffee condensed in a single scoop of the powders, researchers say it could result in increased blood pressure and elevated heart rate and eventually may disturb their heart rhythm.
“The levels of caffeine in these products vary from the equivalent of about one to over three cups of filter coffee, if made up according to the manufacturer’s instructions,” said nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam from the British Nutrition Foundation.
“So, there is a risk of over-consuming caffeine, especially if using more than once a day, or just consuming the powder, where you may consume more than the recommended amount,” Benelam added.
Nelson Chow, a pediatrics student at Princeton University in the United States, was not comfortable with dry scooping becoming a trend.
“The highly concentrated powder can lead to choking, accidental inhalation, overconsumption injury and death,” Chow said, according to Mirror.
Already back in June, an influencer said she suffered from a heart attack because of dry scooping.
“After I took the pre-workout, I started to feel tingly and itchy all over my body, which wasn’t a good feeling, but I googled it and it said that was a normal side effect. So I began to do my workout,” 20-year-old Briatney Portillo told Buzzfeed.
Even as Portillo started to feel some slight pain in her chest, she ignored the symptom and proceeded with her workout. However, she eventually needed an emergency rush to the hospital.
“I realized I needed to call 911 when the chest pain got more intense and my left side felt kinda dead. I also was sweating profusely,” Portillo said.
Sharing her daunting experience, Portillo urged others to be careful with what people do on social media.
“I just want people to be careful with what they’re consuming,” she said. “Just because you see it online, even if it’s ‘fitness influencers’ doing it, doesn’t mean it’s safe.”