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WATCH: A viral trend on FitTok has ‘gym bros’ adding dog food to their meal plans

Users who use the app claim they are 'tempted' by the high-protein foods in hundreds of videos that have received millions of views and likes. Picture: Victor Freitas/Pexels

Users who use the app claim they are 'tempted' by the high-protein foods in hundreds of videos that have received millions of views and likes. Picture: Victor Freitas/Pexels

Published Mar 20, 2023


Online “gym dudes” have posted videos of themselves eating dog food in an effort to increase their protein intake, leaving other social media users worried.

In one TikTok video that has garnered over 21 million views, user Henry Clarisey ( draws attention to the nutrition information for Pedigree dog food on MyFitnessPal, which claims that it contains 666 grams of protein.

“Which one of you guys are going to take one for the team?” Clarisey asks his followers before announcing he will do it if he can reach 15 000 likes.

In a subsequent video, the gym enthusiast consumes the dog chow, telling himself “it's for the gains”, before spitting it out and declaring, “It's not worth it.” The video has received almost 3 million views.

Health regulators claim that some substances in dog food can be dangerous to humans, despite its high protein content. In another video, Clarisey tried cat food after someone commented that it contained even more protein. There were 3.3 million views of that video.

The TikTok fitness influencer said he “needed to try it” after viewing the nutrition statistics in an interview with Buzzfeed News. However, he immediately responded that if pressed, he wouldn't do it again. He said in the video, which earned more than 300 000 likes, “I promise you guys, it's not worth it.”

He added: “The dog food had a very dry taste. After eating it, I was really thirsty,” Clarisey told the news source. “Tasted like tiny chunks of mud, and I don't believe it was worth the price. Even if it has a lot of protein, I'd rather have steak or protein powder,” he added.

The clip of Clarisey eating the dog food has elicited scores of comments, with some people expressing disgust, others interest and many seeing the funny side. #stitch with @kizaru.adm #fyp #fitness #bodybuilding #physique #creatine #gym #dogfood #viral ♬ original sound - Henryfit

“You’re braver than me,” said one user.

“Blend it with a single banana; it will cancel out any other flavour,” advised one person.

“Dog food ain’t that bad fr. I used to MUNCH as a kid, wrote another Tik Tok user.

“It’s def worth it, he just tryna gatekeepde. Trust fr fr,” someone else added.

Clarisey is undoubtedly not the only one who has had this idea. Other social media users have posted now-viral videos of themselves either tasting dog food or making jokes about trying it. In one TikTok video a man is shown loading dog food into his trolley while joking that he is buying it in preparation for when they get a dog. Later he is seen using a spoon to eat the dog food out of the can. Replying to @kenton916 ❗️trying the dog food❗️#fyp #fitness #bodybuilding #physique #creatine #gym #dogfood #viral ♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose

One TikTok user said the protein-to-weight ratio indicated on the label of a brand of dog food was “bonkers”. He also promised to consume the food if he earned 5 000 likes.

The funniest video in this trend comes from a TikTok user who appeared in front of text that read “300 grams of protein in 100 grams of dog food” before cutting to a person writing “me AF” while wearing a dog costume.

If you’re thinking of giving it a try, think again. Health officials on TikTok have warned that although it makes your pet’s tail wag, it may not be good for you.

Dog food, while safe for animals, sometimes deviates from the standards that human food must meet, according to Melissa Majumdar, a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told Buzzfeed.

Although most elements in dog food are similar to those in the human diet, Majumdar explained that dogs have different nutritional needs to people and that dog food is designed to satisfy their needs. Dog food also include ingredients that we shouldn't consume a lot of, including animal fat and chicken by-products.

@christianpwrlfts Can’t let dogs get all the gains 😈 #gymtok #fittok #gymrat #gymcomedy #gymhumor #skit #pov #protein ♬ original sound - Christian Chabert

While some dog food products do claim to be “human grade”, a veterinarian argued that the term has little meaning.

Officials from Pedigree refuted any claims that their product would be dangerous to humans. In a statement sent to Buzzfeed, the company said that although their products were meant for dogs and cats, they were not harmful to humans. “The manufacturing procedures and research that go into our products are comparable to, and in some cases even superior to, those used by producers of human food,” the company said.

Health professionals, however, maintain that dog food generally does not satisfy the nutritional needs of humans, and veterinarians say that most human meals do not satisfy the nutritional needs of dogs.

A dog’s digestive system differs from that of a human in their capacity to deal with bacteria, viruses, parasites and pathogens.

“We shouldn't eat the same things because we are not the same,” a representative of Twin Oaks Veterinary Clinic, in Cape Town, remarked. “Although the dietary requirements for protein, carbs and fats between humans and dogs may not be all that different, this should not be the deciding factor when a person chooses to eat dog food.”

According to the clinic, a dog’s digestive tract can digest protein more quickly.

The propagation of false information about dog food's nutritional worth is another concern.

The idea, which Clarisey brought up, came from MyFitnessPal and showed a Pedigree dog food item that advertised having 200 grams of protein in every 700 grams of dog food. However, Pedigree said in a statement to Buzzfeed that the highest protein content in any of their dog food products was 28.7%.

Officials from MyFitnessPal told the “Daily Mail” that they had noted that more men in the 18–24 age group had been documenting dog food on the platform

There are less expensive and less risky ways to add more protein to your diet. Majumdar advised BuzzFeed News readers to choose lean proteins such as skinless chicken or turkey, lean cuts of red meat, fish, low-fat dairy, eggs, beans, tofu, edamame, or whey or soy protein powder.

Beans and canned meats and tuna are less expensive options. Eggs are also cheaper than meat. “Plant-based proteins, such as beans and lentils, are nutrient-dense and economical since they are rich in fibre, protein, and B vitamins. Be clever and use beans to cut costs and fat,” Majumdar.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.