What is the dry scooping challenge, aka putting yourself in danger for nothing?

·3-min read
Pre-workout powder for athletes is involved in a new viral challenge on TikTok and it's one that could put the practitioner at risk.

Unscrew the cap of a bottle with one kick, get dressed using nothing more than a pillow and a belt, pour a bucket of ice water on your head ... did you think that social networks had already exhausted all possibilities for ridiculous challenges? Well, if that was the case you seriously misjudged TikTokers' endless imaginations; they have now come up with a challenge that involves ingesting powder favored by athletes. It goes by the name of Dry Scooping challenge. The challenge counts more than eight million views but it can come with some serious health-related consequences.

Warning: if your teenager suddenly wants to go to a sports store to buy protein powder for athletes, beware. Chances are, they have discovered the latest challenge trending on TikTok. The routine sees the TikToker swallow spoonfuls of this preparation that fitness enthusiasts use to give them pep before a workout. But unlike exercise buffs, some TikTokers have decided to swallow the substance in pure, undiluted form, when in fact, it is recommended to ingest it mixed with water beforehand. The problem is that many of those taking up the challenge are swallowing one mouthful after another unaware of the potential danger to their health... Worse still, some are consuming this powder before having a sip of a Red Bull-type energy drink or alcohol.

So what's in this pre-workout powder?

Although formulas tend to differ, they commonly contain carbohydrates, amino acids, green tea extract, creatine monohydrate and B vitamins. The cocktail is designed to help the followers of cardio fitness sessions to maintain their energy during very intense training. One of the main ingredients of these formulas is caffeine, sometimes the equivalent of a coffee cup or more. And this is where problems can arise. Consumption of this stimulant in excess can cause serious problems, such as dizziness and respiratory problems or even heart attacks.

American doctors are taking the subject very seriously, to the point of having conducted a study which consisted in analyzing a hundred videos labeled with the hashtag "preworkout." They were thus able to draw a portrait of the young social network users taking part in the challenge. According to this report presented during the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in 64% of the cases, participants are male. Another main finding is that the scientists confirmed that only 8% of the participants consumed this sports powder diluted with water -- which leaves a considerable margin for estimating just how many young people are at risk by trying the "dry scooping challenge".

However, the researchers aren't the first to sound the alarm about the danger of this challenge. Last June, a participant, Briatney Portillo, reported having suffered a heart attack after swallowing this substance intended for athletes. The 20-year-old had published a video on TikTok warning other web users that their young age wasn't enough to protect them from ending up in the emergency room like her. You've been warned.

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