Dry-scooping energy drinks can expose users to heart health risks, according to researchers. Photo by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay
Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Teens may be at risk for serious health problems due to a new workout fad trending on social media: eating powdered energy supplements without diluting them in water, researchers said Friday.
This means they are not using the products as recommended by manufacturers, which typically involves making them into a drink, according to the researchers, who presented their findings during the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
The researchers analyzed 100 videos posted on the social media platform TikTok with the hashtag "preworkout" and found that 30 of them featured "dry scooping," or eating the powdered mixes without diluting them in water.
The 30 videos, which in some cases showed users taking a few sips of water after ingesting the powders, collectively garnered more than 8 million "likes," the data showed.
Eight of the videos showed the powders being used in the correct way, as drink mixes, the researchers, from Northwell Cohen Children's Medical Center, in New York said.
"Physicians should be aware of the pervasiveness of pre-workout, dangerous methods of consumption, and the potential for accidental over-consumption, inhalation and injury," they wrote.
These energy drink mixes typically contain lots of amino acids, vitamins and other ingredients, such as caffeine, according to the researchers.
Manufacturers suggest that the drinks are designed to boost energy and stamina during workouts, though scientific evidence supporting their use is lacking, the researchers said.
Although the drinks themselves are generally safe, consuming the powder without diluting it can cause health problems for users of all ages.
However, teens may be particularly susceptible, given that they are most likely to be influenced by social media posts, the researchers said.
For example, a scoop of undiluted powder might contain as much caffeine as five cups of coffee, according to the researchers.
Consuming this much undiluted caffeine could cause "an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, potentially leading to disturbances in heart rhythm," the researchers wrote in their presentation.
Recent studies have linked these drinks with heart health issues and high blood pressure.
In addition, accidentally inhaling the powder into the lungs could cause choking or pneumonia, they said.