A deadly new craze called 'dry scooping' is sweeping social media, parents have been warned.
The bizarre trend involves swallowing protein workout powder dry — then washing it down afterward with water, energy drinks, or even alcohol.
Dry scooping has already amassed more than eight million 'likes' on video-sharing social network TikTok.
But health professionals have warned that it can lead to lung and heart seizures, and is potentially deadly for kids.
Study lead author Nelson Chow, a paediatrics student at Princeton University in the US, said: "Dry scooping, a particularly risky method of consumption, entails putting undiluted powder into one's mouth followed by sips of liquid."
"The highly concentrated powder can lead to choking, accidental inhalation, overconsumption injury, and death."
The US-based researchers collected 100 TikTok videos under the hashtag "#preworkout".
They analysed likes, method of ingestion, number of servings, and combination with other substances.
Almost two-thirds of videos featured males, three in ten females, and six percent both. Only one in twelve depicted use according to instruction.
Pre-workout supplements, which are designed to be mixed with water before drinking, have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
They often contain high concentrations of caffeine mixed with substances such as Beta-alanine, L-Citrulline, and BCAAs.
In June Briatney Portillo, a 20-year-old social media influencer revealed she suffered a heart attack after trying the TikTok challenge.
She told BuzzFeed: "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.
"I started to feel a heavy feeling in my chest and slight pain, but it wasn’t too bad. I thought it was maybe anxiety or a bad panic attack, so I decided to just ignore it and push through my workout."
After arriving at work she called an ambulance where she was rushed to hospital.
She said: "I realised I needed to call 911 when the chest pain got more intense and my left side felt kinda dead. I also was sweating profusely."
Doctors told her to avoid caffeine and to be cautious when taking supplements.
She opened up about her experience to let others know how dangerous these social media trends could be.
Briatney added: "I just want people to be careful with what they're consuming. Just because you see it online, even if it's 'fitness influencers' doing it, doesn't mean it's safe.”
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