Deadly “dry scooping” pre-workout powder is becoming popular on the internet, research shows

Children's Health

A potentially deadly new challenge called “dry scooping” is prevalent on the internet, and new research shows video demonstrations on one social media platform popular among teens amassed more than 8 million views. Dry scooping refers to the improper use of pre-workout supplements, a powder typically added to liquid and containing ingredients that are unsuitable for children.

The study abstract, “Dry Scooping and Other Dangerous Pre-Workout Consumption Methods: A Quantitative Analysis,” will be presented during the American Academy of Pediatrics 2021 National Conference and Exhibition. The research reviews the improper use of pre-workout supplements, which pose risks to children of respiratory or cardiovascular distress or death.

“It can be difficult for physicians to identify novel trends that may pose health hazards among youth. Take for instance the current pervasiveness of pre-workout and the dangerous methods of its consumption. Sometimes investigating unorthodox platforms like TikTok can yield valuable results.”

Nelson Chow, Study Author, Princeton University student and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Research Intern, Cohen Children’s Medical Center

Videos featuring dry scooping, a method of consumption in which an individual puts a scoop of undiluted powder into their mouth followed by a few sips of water or liquid amassed over 8 million “likes.” Users were at extremely high risk of overconsumption or accidental inhalation of pre-workout powder. The videos also feature the mixing of pre-workout with substances such as energy drinks and alcohol, according to the research.

The author collected 100 TikTok videos under the hashtag “#preworkout” and analyzed the following data: likes, method of ingestion, number of servings, and combination with other substances. About 64% of the videos featured males, 30% females, and 6% both or ambiguous. Only 8% of videos depicted use according to instruction. The most popular substances consumed alongside pre-workout were energy drinks, creatine/protein powder, and alcohol.

The author suggests that physicians should be aware of the pervasiveness of pre-workout, dangerous methods of consumption, and the potential for accidental overconsumption, inhalation, and injury.

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