Can You Dry Scoop Creatine (Here's Why You Shouldn't) - Lift Big Eat Big (2024)

Dry scooping creatine has become increasingly popular due to social media trends that started on TikTok. Creatine is one of the most effective sports nutrition supplements on the market, but what happens when you dry scoop creatine?

Although it is very popular, there are no benefits to dry scooping and numerous risks that should be considered.

Before you fall into the trendy trap of dry scooping, let’s look at what the science says about this practice.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Dry Scooping?
  • Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
  • Risks Of Dry Scooping Creatine
  • Can You Take Creatine Without Water?
  • What To Do Instead
  • Summary

What Is Dry Scooping?

A trend of “dry scooping” to enhance the effectiveness of pre-workout and creatine has been circulating on social media. On TikTok, videos showcasing dry scooping have accumulated over 8 million likes [1].

Dry scooping involves consuming pre-workout powders without any liquid, essentially taking the entire scoop in one shot without mixing it with water as intended [2].

A recent study exploring the popular fitness trend of dry scooping found that spending more time on social media was linked to an increased likelihood of engaging in dry scooping.

Additionally, there was a correlation between dry scooping and clinically significant muscle dysmorphia—a psychological condition where individuals obsess over their perceived lack of muscle, leading to extreme exercise, strict diets, and distorted body image.

These findings highlight the complex relationship between online habits, body image issues, and emerging fitness trends [2]. It is so easy to fall into the trap of “because everyone does it, I need to do it, too!”

Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?

Can You Dry Scoop Creatine (Here's Why You Shouldn't) - Lift Big Eat Big (1)

You technically “can” dry scoop creatine, but the real questions are, “Should you?” and “What are the risks?”

Many influencers claim that dry scooping can enhance the effectiveness of creatine. Still, research exists that can show that taking creatine without water can improve absorption or be superior in any way.

Dry scooping does not lead to better absorption than taking creatine with a fluid. Creatine monohydrate is nearly 100% bioavailable [3], guaranteeing complete absorption by the body, regardless of how it is taken.

Creatine will not “work faster” if you dry scoop your creatine. Creatine is a supplement that must be taken over time to work because you need to fill your muscle creatine stores with creatine – almost like filling a sponge with water.

If you load with 20 g per day (5 g, 4 times per day), this will take 7 days, and if you take a more conservative approach of taking 5 g per day, it will take 28 days (4 weeks) [4]. Dry scooping creatine will not make saturation (“filling”) of your creatine stores happen faster.

Risks Of Dry Scooping Creatine

Often, dry scooping creatine also goes hand in hand with pre-workout, which is a blend of ingredients like caffeine, branched-chain amino acids, nitrates, creatine, and more to improve exercise performance [5].

Dry scooping can be problematic for reasons such as accidental inhalation and potential cardiac effects from high caffeine concentrations[2].

In a recent case study, it was reported that dry scooping led to a sudden onset of psychosis symptoms, including paranoia, agitation, and disorganized behavior, in an 18-year-old male patient [6].

Citric acid is often used as a flavoring agent and pH regulator in various food and beverage products, including pre-workout supplements.

It provides a tart or citrusy taste and helps enhance the overall palatability of the product [7]. One of the reasons why pre-workout needs to be taken with fluids is to dilute the concentration of the acid in the product.

If the pre-workout is taken by dry scooping, the citric acid can damage the esophagus and/or the digestive tract [8].

So, now that we have looked at multi-ingredient products that contain creatine, what about creatine monohydrate?

Pure creatine monohydrate powder typically does not contain citric acid as a primary ingredient. Creatine monohydrate is a simple compound composed of creatine and a water molecule.

Some commercially available creatine supplements may include additional ingredients for flavoring, mixability, or other purposes.

Similar to pre-workout, risks of dry scooping creatine include:

  • Accidentally inhaling the powder and choking – even though many TikToks mock this, it can be dangerous and even fatal if you get creatine powder in your lungs!
  • You might accidentally take a smaller dose because some of the creatine gets spat out if you choke or gets stuck in your teeth and mouth.
  • Dry scooping creatine, quite frankly, is just not pleasant – no matter how trendy it looks! Mixing creatine with a fluid containing carbs and/or protein, for example, in a pre-workout carb-based drink or post-workout smoothie or shake, can enhance its effectiveness [9, 10, 11], so you might be missing out on these benefits by dry scooping.
  • Additionally, you are losing out on an opportunity for hydration if you dry scoop, which also plays a massive role in health and performance.

Can You Take Creatine Without Water?

Dry scooping creatine has no benefits and many drawbacks – but do you need to take it with water specifically? No!

You can take creatine with various fluids, like juice, carbohydrate-containing sports drinks, milk, smoothies, protein shakes, and coffee/caffeine-containing products.

The main thing to remember is that creatine should be taken with a fluid, as indicated on the tub – this has been widely researched and proven safe and effective.

What To Do Instead

Creatine should be taken with fluids every day – even on rest days.

The recommended amount of water to mix with creatine can vary based on personal preference and the fluid used. However, a common guideline is to mix your creatine with about 8 to 10 ounces (240 to 300 milliliters) of water per 5 grams of creatine.

Remember that creatine is often more soluble in warm water, so using lukewarm or room-temperature water can help the powder dissolve more easily. To improve the taste, you can also mix creatine with smoothies, juice, carb-based sports drinks, protein shakes, or other beverages.


While it is trendy to dry scoop creatine, and you technically and physically can do it, the risks definitely outweigh the non-existing benefits. It is way better to find a good-tasting liquid you enjoy and make taking creatine part of your hydration routine.


  1. Lin, A., et al. (2022). Dry Scooping and Other Dangerous Pre-workout Consumption Methods: A Quantitative Analysis. *Pediatrics, 149*(1 Meeting Abstracts February 2022), 204-204.
  2. Ganson, K.T., et al. (2023). Prevalence and correlates of dry scooping: Results from the Canadian Study of Adolescent Health Behaviors. *Eat Behav, 48*, 101705.
  3. Greenwood, M., et al. (2003). Differences in creatine retention among three nutritional formulations of oral creatine supplements. *Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 6*(2).
  4. Kreider, R.B., et al. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. *J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 14*, 18.
  5. Harty, P.S., et al. (2018). Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. *J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 15*(1), 41.
  6. Gallop, A., et al. (2022). Psychosis in an 18-year-old male patient. *Contemporary Pediatrics, 39*(10), 20-22.
  7. Nangare, S., et al. (2021). Pharmaceutical applications of citric acid. *Future Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 7*(1), 1-23.
  8. Bertram, T.A., et al. (2013). Digestive tract, in Haschek and Rousseaux’s Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology. *Elsevier, p. 2277-2359*.
  9. Steenge, G., E. Simpson, and P. Greenhaff. (2000). Protein-and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans. *Journal of Applied Physiology, 89*(3), 1165-1171.
  10. Kreider, R.B., et al. (2003). Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes. *Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 244*, 95-104.
  11. Green, A., et al. (1996). Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in humans. *American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 271*(5), E821-E826.

About the Author

Hanli is a Registered Dietitian with a special interest in sports nutrition. She has a Master's degree and is currently a PhD candidate focusing on adolescent athlete nutrition. She has published research in the Obesity Reviews journal and is a research coordinator at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa.

Can You Dry Scoop Creatine (Here's Why You Shouldn't) - Lift Big Eat Big (2024)
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