A registered dietician says certain products may even contain a banned substance often compared to methamphetamine. But earlier this summer, Inside Edition found it on the shelves of a New Jersey Nutrition Zone.
It’s billed as something to help you get the most out of your workouts, but some are consuming energy powder without mixing it in water, which can have dangerous consequences.
“The dry scoop challenge” is an alarming new trend, and our investigation found that some teenagers and other gym enthusiasts across America are gulping the stuff down like crazy.
The workout supplement is meant to be taken with water. But experts warn, when taken dry, it can give you a more potent and dangerous energy boost.
And it's not just guys looking to build muscle mass. At just 20 years old, professional dancer Briatney Portillo says she suffered a heart attack after dry scooping.
“I felt like I could have died, like at that moment, I was panicking,” Portillo told Inside Edition. “In the locker room I started feeling the chest pain, and that's when I freaked out. I was like, this is not normal.”
Portillo says her doctor told her the heart attack was triggered by a massive caffeine overdose.
Registered dietician Amy Goodson says there’s “a risk not knowing what’s in a product.” She says in addition to high levels of caffeine, one workout supplement called “Dark Energy” contains potentially dangerous chemical stimulants.
In videos posted online, one employee at a Nutrition Zone store in Rockaway, New Jersey, was selling the product, even though it was recently banned by the FDA, because it contains an illegal stimulant often compared to methamphetamine.
“If you like Dark Energy, you better f****** get it now, because I'm telling you, when this video goes up now, I bet you the whole box will be sold by midnight tonight,” the employee said.
Over the summer, we went undercover to see if it was still on the shelves.
“That's meant for special occasions, meaning don't use it every day,” the employee said.
He cautioned us about Dark Energy, pointing out the warning label.
“Research product, not for human consumption. They did that on purpose to get away with legality issues, but the government didn't seem to like that,” the employee said.
But he was still happy to sell it. And he even pushed another product, called “Crack,” containing the same dangerous stimulant.
“This is next level for the person that's dead and you want to bring their corpse back to life, this is what you give them,” the employee said.
Inside Edition investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero spoke to the employee, Eddie Ujueta, outside the Nutrition Zone.
“Aren't you worried about the safety of your customers, Eddie?” Guerrero asked.
“Absolutely, yeah I am. But it even says it on there, it’s not meant for human consumption. So I warn them,” Ujueta said.
“But you know that it's dangerous,” Guerrero said.
“What do you want me to do? I don't make the decisions for people, they do. If something does say something on the jar, ‘not for human consumption,’ don’t take it. Very simple, that’s all,” Ujueta said.
Goodson says, “If something says ‘not for human consumption,’ you should run the other direction. If there's no research on the ingredients in that product, you should run the other direction.”
Ujueta admits he knew Dark Energy was banned, but says he never had any complaints of side effects. He says they are no longer selling the product.