Dry Scooping: Health Risks, Benefits, Results Explained
TikTok is a platform where fitness fanatics can find inspiration, motivation and new tips and tricks for working out more efficiently. It’s also home to some of the most stupid and outrageous fake fitness advice and ideas. But hey, you win some, you lose some. Take the latest TikTok challenge Dry Scooping, where users take a scoop of dry powder and dump it directly into their mouth, you know, instead of mixing it with water like a normal person.
What is Dry Scooping?
Dry Scooping is a TikTok challenge where users put a scoop of protein or pre-workout power straight into their mouth without diluting it in water or milk. The powder is designed for slow absorption, as such, the TikTok challenge is very dangerous and raises serious health concerns. According to Australian personal trainer and Myprotein ambassador, Tom Bailey, there are some things to consider with regard to the new fitness trend.
“Dry scooping is taking a scoop of a sports supplement powder (usually pre-workout) and placing it directly into the mouth. Placing things directly under the tongue is called sublingual administration and is common practice with some medications to help them absorb faster,” the health and fitness expert.
In case you were wondering, the best way to take supplements is by mixing them with flavoured fluids. We prefer to use water, but you can also use milk or coconut water for a healthy fruit smoothie. In some cases, you can even use it as an ingredient when cooking. But, is it safe to Dry Scoop?
Is Dry Scooping Safe?
Very reminiscent of the cinnamon challenge that took over schoolyards in the 2010s, Dry Scooping is about as stupid and pointless as that was. And as it turns out, it can be far more dangerous. According to Bailey, the spruiked nutritional benefits of dry scooping are more likely anecdotal than medical fact.
“People claim doing this with pre-workout results in quicker absorption because it skips having to pass through the digestive tract to absorb,” the health expert says. “There are two main problems with this: firstly, the trend of dry scooping is taking a scoop of powder straight into the mouth and then swiftly chasing it with a mouthful of liquid and swallowing, defeating the purpose of having something absorb under your tongue.”
Further to that point, Bailey explains that caffeine takes approximately 45 minutes to metabolise and observe ergogenic effects. In reality, even if you did let the whole scoop dissolve under your tongue, you might get a 15-minute head-start on absorption, but the benefit doesn’t outweigh the risks.
The personal trainer’s thoughts have been echoed across the industry, as TikTok trends that see dry scooping sweep the nation. In an interview with POPSUGAR, nutritionist Ayat Sleymann explained that pre-workout often contains large doses of caffeine, and when consumed too quickly, can be dangerous.
“A sudden dose of excessive caffeine can trigger fast and irregular heartbeats, which could lead to sudden cardiac arrest and even death,” said Sleymann.
The news won’t come as a surprise to anyone with their head screwed on. After all, the reason we dilute pre-workout with water or milk is for slow absorption. And it gets worse, dilution prevents the chances of “stroke, heart attacks, hepatitis and death that might occur from not following instructions,” said Sleymann.
According to Bailey, the impacts of dry scooping can be varied, depending on your overall health. Engaging in the practise can have several adverse effects on your body, in particular, with relation to hydration.
“Caffeine is also a diuretic, meaning it encourages your body to shed water. Take coffee for example, having something like a cappuccino has a net hydrating effect as you are having a decent amount of fluid. A double shot of espresso on the contrary has very little liquid and could cause you to shed more water that you ingest, which can lead to dehydration,” he said.
“A double shot of espresso is ~160mg of caffeine, and some pre-workouts are 300-400mg, so it’s important to hydrate when having a higher dose of caffeine. Nothing will kill your training performance more than being dehydrated, irrespective of how high you’re flying on caffeine.”
It didn’t take long for our first test case. A 20-year-old TikToker has reported suffering a heart attack after attempting the Dry Scooping challenge. Briatney Portillo, known on TikTok and Instagram as @brivtny, recently shared some clips warning against others who might be considering giving the challenge a try. Also revealing Redcon1 Total War pre-workout as the supplement of choice for the challenge.
“Putting this out there so y’all don’t do what I did because I’m the type of person to try anything and everything I see here w/o questioning it,” said Portillo.
If you’re a little sceptical of the story so were we. That was until we read Portillo actually made a hospital visit which revealed her troponin levels were measured at a higher-than-normal rate. Doctors finally concluding that she’d experienced an NSTEMI (a type of heart attack that does less damage to the heart).
Simply put, Dry Scooping is not safe. As experts have concluded, you’re essentially injecting yourself with extreme levels of caffeine that can cause serious health issues.
While the methodology behind dry scooping suggests that it is more effective in pre-workout absorption, there are health concerns at play. Dry scooping can wreak havoc on your teeth, with some nutritionists advising against the practice.
Studies suggest that several ingredients in pre-workout formulas may cause digestive upset. These include sodium bicarbonate, magnesium, creatine, and caffeine. When consumed via eating and not mixed with water, pre-workout can wreak havoc on your digestive system.
The goal of dry scooping pre-workout is to get an even more concentrated hit of energy before they exercise, to help them work out longer and harder
Studies suggest that many of the active ingredients in your pre-workout drink take 30-60 minutes to reach peak levels in your blood.