The Milk Challenge in All Its Barfing Glory



There’s really no better way to prove to your friends how awesome you are then to survive the trending challenges of the moment. Gone are the days where word of mouth was the only way to really replay what happened, and enter the era of videos going viral to last out all of eternity. The “Milk Challenge” in particular, is one often attempted and which is usually failed, but that only makes it all the more wonderful to watch again and again.

Basically the milk challenge involves chugging a gallon of milk as quickly as possible. Generally an hour is allotted to get all that calcium packed white stuff into the body, and the key is to not vomit throughout the process or following it. Challenging? Yes. Especially because one glass of milk is enough to turn a lot of people’s stomachs.


Origins of the Milk Challenge

The origins of the milk challenge date back to 1997, most likely where it began in the back of a middle school classroom on a boring substitute day. Why milk exactly? We’ll never know. Someone (a male for sure) probably read that it wasn’t possible to do and accepted that big fat challenge.

The milk challenge gained some media traction when it featured on the show Jackass in the year 2000. Everyone survived, but no one could keep the milk down and actually win the damn thing. Even Jimmy Fallon has hosted a milk challenge on his show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, because why not. He wore a sensible poncho to keep his chocolate milk from soaking him during the competition, which is probably the most logical decision that has ever been made in conjunction with the challenge at all.

Just don’t try it with this phenomenon that is Peeps milk that Jimmy Kimmel tried on air, because you would greatly be lessoning your odds to win.

While the milk challenge is particularly popular amongst middle school and high school aged people of the world, celebrities and even state senators have also attempted it! Awesome. 

In 2010 members of the North Carolina General Assembly hosted a milk challenge to raise awareness of the dairy industry. (Who knew the dairy industry even fell off the map?)

Here is one youngster gallantly trying it out. He makes it, but in the description he vows never again to perform a dairy-based consumption challenge due to this one making him feel “like total shit.” Do you think his mother is proud?



These two on the other hand make no such promises, although the torrents of vomit they suffer through over the course of the video hopefully made them reluctant to try such a thing again any time soon. Watch it below, I guess?



Here are the Generally Accepted Rules:

(Yes there are rules to the milk challenge, we’re not complete animals are we?)

  1. Get in one gallonof milk in one hour, through your mouth. Swallow it all. Whether the milk is whole, skim, chocolate, or whatever is up to whoever is running the challenge. Some fanatics argue that skim milk is much easier to keep down than whole milk and therefore is not allowed in the challenge. Take that up with your local milk challenge leader.
  2. As far as not barfing, there are two rule options. One says keep the milk down during the drinking and you’re cool, the other suggests a set period of time after the milk has been drunk that you can’t vomit. This is generally an hour which could quite possibly be the worst hour of your life.
  3. If you don’t barf after drinking the whole gallon, you win. If you do barf, you totally lose. Good times!

If you’re wondering, a gallon of milk has about 1,400-2,500 calories in it. So if you keep it down you’re going to have to hit it hard at the gym when you recover from that stomachache. If you thought maybe a larger human than a middle school boy might be able to handle the challenge better well you would be wrong about that. Just check out this guy who seemed pretty confident about his chances.



Here’s What Science Says About Why You Probably Won’t Win

That’s right, the odds are definitely against you. Well for starters, the stomach can only hold about half a gallon of any kind of stuff at one time so already you’re asking for trouble. When that sensible limit is hit the body sends out all these signals to throw up it all up, probably so you don’t explode or pass out or something. 

Secondly, milk is much harder to keep down then something like water for example, because it of course contains fat and protein that your body is trying to utilize and so it takes longer to let the liquid move from the stomach into the small intestine. That whole digesting thing really slows thing up in there! The amount of calcium that one would consume in drinking an entire gallon of milk is equivalent to eating 25 Tums at once, so you can imagine the stomach isn’t exactly thrilled about that mass of junk either.

It is unclear if lactose intolerance should be considered a factor or not since most of the intolerance symptoms occur in the large intestine, not the stomach. Still, it’s hard to imagine that if a body is almost allergic to milk that it would allow it get that far in the first place.  Some say that when your body is trying to digest that much milk at once that it will basically become lactose intolerant because you will use up all of the available lactase in the body.

So Why Don’t People Stop Doing the Milk Challenge?

That is a really great question! People do dumb stuff. Science would say that humans are hardwired to compete for survival when necesary, and also that sometimes we function better in stressful situations. Have you ever procrastinated on something and then whipped it out like a pro last minute? Of course you have. Maybe the pressure of the milk challenge thrills us a little. Or maybe everyone just wants to be the one person that successful manages to finish the challenge and can be crowned the king or queen of the milk challenge,

Here are some soldiers giving it a go. They can’t do it either, even though in general soldiers are pretty strong folks. Support the troops and check out their humiliating failure below:



Ways to Up the Milk Challenge Stakes Even More

Not having enough fun yet? Milk challenge seem a little dull? How about introducing some rainbow colors into the equation? One of the guys above already did this, but I think the Rainbow Milk Challenge deserves its own spot of glory. Enjoy:



How About Seeing Some Girls Do the Milk Challenge For Once

Yes it’s true, on occasion a woman or girl will also attempt the milk challenge. But girls being girls, they usually put some adorable food coloring into their milk so that when they barf it’s like a My Little Pony party instead of yucky mess. Here are some cuties from the Gold Coast giving it a try, which is not too surprising. They even throw a little “that’s what she said” joke in there, because class all the way. Beautiful, isn’t it?

In fact, pretty much most of the girls who attempt the milk challenge do it raindbow style. Any with so many adorable accents along the way. This one makes a period mention just FYI. Overall the girls just talk about a lot more things during the milk challenge, it would seem.

And here are some other guys doing the Rainbow Milk Challenge as well. So adorable.



Here’s Olivia Wilde Doing the Milk Challenge

Just kidding! Sort of. When Olivia Wilde did her part in joinging the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, she used her own breast milk instead of water to dump all over her glorious head. It’s still worth looking at even though she isn’t actually drinking it. What are we talking about, this is way way better!

So Has Anyone Has Actually Won the Milk Challenge?

Supposedly yes, a couple of people have done it. But there is a bit of grey area around the rules and it’s not entirely clear whether these so called “winners” actually got through the day without throwing up in private. And then there are some “winning” videos where the end just strangely gets cut off. We don’t really want you to try it for yourself, but let us know if you have a winning video to prove science wrong about the barfing thing.