Why Is It So Difficult To Chug A Gallon Of Milk?

By Brian Lemay 25 comments

(classical baroque music) – Have you heard of this “gallon
of milk” challenge before? Here’s the idea, so you
or, you know, whoever, tries to drink a gallon of milk and hold it down for
an hour without puking. It sounds, well, unnecessary
is a word, right? I mean, it’s called a “challenge”, but I don’t think you win anything. Still, thousands of people have tried, and failed at this endeavour. If you’ve already heard of
this, then you’ve probably also heard that it’s impossible. Spoiler alert: It’s not,
it’s just really hard and kind of gross. So what makes drinking milk so difficult? Let’s begin at the basics.
Drinking a gallon of anything in an hour can be hazardous,
even a gallon of water can be fatal if you drink it too quickly. That’s because too much water overloads the circulatory system and the kidneys. It dilutes blood
electrolytes and it can cause cells to swell, potentially
causing brain damage or death. So it’s not surprising
that a gallon of milk is also bad business, stomach-wise. Most people who attempt it vomit, and I mean the overwhelming majority. There are a few proposed
causes for this condition. You’ll often hear people
blame lactose for the, uh, “puketitude”, let’s call it,
the “puketitude” of milk. Lactose is essentially milk sugar and your body can only
process so much of it at a given time. You need an enzyme called “lactase” to deal with the lactose. The idea here is that people
who are lactose intolerant can’t process any lactose, and they may throw up from just one glass of milk, but nutritionists like Dr. Sarah Ash at North Carolina State
University point out that lactose intolerance is a problem of the large intestine, not the stomach. Since lactose is digested and absorbed in the small intestine, the
trouble doesn’t really hit until it passes to the large intestine, where it is consumed by bacteria, producing diarrhea and gas, both of those are unpleasant in their own ways, but it’s nothing that would stop you from holding the milk down. Then; however, there’s calcium. Milk contains a lot of it, about 300mg per eight ounce glass. For comparison, one “Tums” chewable tablet contains about 200mg of available calcium,
so drinking a gallon of milk is like downing 25 “Tums” tablets at once. This messes up the acid
balance in your stomach, and it gives your stomach another reason to consider puking. The most likely culprit; however, is surprisingly simple. It’s just stomach size. The average stomach can
hold about a half gallon of whatever. More than
that and you run the risk of triggering the stretch
receptors in your stomach, and these can induce vomiting. There are a few people with the ability to complete this challenge, like professional competitive eaters, but for most of us, this is a pipe dream that can quickly turn messy. So, while chugging a gallon
of milk may be more difficult than chugging water, it turns out that drinking a gallon
of just about anything this quickly is a horrible idea. Unless you’re Takeru Kobayashi, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, or one of the other gustatory greats. And that’s it. Have you
tried this challenge before? How did it work out? What other weird food
challenges have you heard of? In the meantime, learn
more by visiting us at howstuffworks.com



Jun 6, 2017, 7:53 am Reply

All these people grossed out by milk when I'm over here drinking 1 glass of whole milk a day!


Jul 7, 2017, 10:51 am Reply

Sorry I don't do these stupid challenges.. most of them just pointless.

AmyAsheworth – Unofficial

Aug 8, 2017, 4:59 am Reply

I did this challenge like 2 years ago. There was 3 ounces of milk left by the end of it. I was literally incapable of lifting my arm to finish. That being said the following 6 hours were utter hell. Also, though I did not vomit I felt like I would at any moment.

The Sporting Farang

Sep 9, 2017, 7:06 am Reply

I drink 4 litres (1 Gallon) of milk everyday, usually 2 litres at one sitting. I drink 2 litres in about 2 minutes.

Assassin Man

Sep 9, 2017, 4:08 am Reply

Drank a gall of milk my toilet is full and my ass is on fire


Oct 10, 2017, 8:42 pm Reply

Great video!


Apr 4, 2018, 10:43 pm Reply

I’d puke just by drinking that much water

BigMac Mick

May 5, 2018, 8:41 pm Reply

its even harder to chug a gallon of milk here in the UK,  cause our gallons are bigger 😉


Jul 7, 2018, 5:31 am Reply

Anyone who fails is stupid you have an hour you don’t have to down it fast all you have to do is pace yourself when you drink

jason groomes

Aug 8, 2018, 5:44 am Reply

I did a gallon of chocolate milk about 20 years ago, while driving. Downed the entire jug in about six minutes. Wasn't even trying, just thirsty.


Dec 12, 2018, 3:36 am Reply

i can barely move when i have milk in my coffee so….


Feb 2, 2019, 10:45 pm Reply

I have been drinking 1/2 gallon of milk every day for the last 20 years. (Sometimes closer to a gallon a day) I don't eat meat or very many other foods, except for baked goods. I wonder how long i will live?


Feb 2, 2019, 4:14 am Reply

If I even drink a cup of milk I throw up 😂

Caleb Knight

Feb 2, 2019, 5:06 am Reply

Nolan, from Donut Media tried this.


Mar 3, 2019, 5:45 am Reply

Entire transcript in description, christ


Mar 3, 2019, 9:27 pm Reply

While not milk I had a BAD run in with too much water. When I returned from mid tour leave I had to catch up on a few things like anthrax shots and a welcome back give us some pee. NP. Got my shot, drank a bit of water and nothing. WTF. Hum. More water. Nope. Ok this is new. More water. ETC. Ok lets skip the cup and just stream. Nope. Hum. Can't leave until I hit the line. More water. More water. Feel a bit odd. Thought I was tired. FINALLY. Feeling really "tired" I hit the line. Ever seen a water jet cut through metal? Almost cut a hole in that cup. Stopped so I could get out of there as it's been hours at this point. Now I feel like crap. Spend 30 min cutting a hole through a MT Everest model. (If you've deployed that's gross but funny) Still feel like crap. Can't sleep. Partly because I feel weird and can't stop streaming. Decide there is something wrong and head in to get looked at. I had a very low sodium content. For which I got an IV. ahhhh doc. Please. No more water……. That shot and a lot of water just through my system out of wack. Too much of anything can mess you up. On topic. I love milk but if you burp it becomes pretty clear why a ton of it is a bad idea.

Jason Langevin

Mar 3, 2019, 3:41 pm Reply

Cause it’s a gallon

Jason Langevin

Mar 3, 2019, 3:42 pm Reply

Andre the giant probably could’ve done 2 gallons easy


Apr 4, 2019, 8:14 am Reply

Here was my attempt oh so many years ago


Shyam Aztec

Apr 4, 2019, 2:16 am Reply

Matt stonie:Hold ma beer

Random Reuben

May 5, 2019, 7:19 pm Reply

Omg every sip of milk I drink makes me burp

GamerPlayer Rndome

May 5, 2019, 6:19 am Reply

No 0:09

Vijay Iyer VJ

Jun 6, 2019, 10:47 am Reply

Two words- Badlands Chugs.


Jun 6, 2019, 5:24 pm Reply

Huh..I never will drink a gallon of milk because milk is disgusting to me but I drink a gallon of Pepsi and Coke and nothing happened all I felt was refreshed

yo Momma’s Drawls

Sep 9, 2019, 12:32 am Reply

The Kardashians and jenners can All swallow a gallon of "Chocolate milk" on Ease 😉

Sandra Nenadic

Sep 9, 2019, 2:13 am Reply

I don't know what he is talking about I just drank 3 to 4 glasses of milk back to back and im alright I didn't throw up and I took a hot shower I feel fine… maybe i'll have problems in a hour but not right now so far so good.

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