I've always been intrigued by this bet, but for several reasons not undertaken it or wagered against it. The thing that really puts the security on the gallon of milk in an hour bet is the fact that it is, in fact milk, and not as much that there is a gallon of it.

Milk is a horribly hard substance to digest. The fact that it is a gallon of it helps because there is an association with Americans with milk in a gallon. (If you'd ask people what they thought when you said gallon, they'd probably say gas or milk). Other items in place of this bet:
  • A gallon of soda(or pop, whatever you call it) - A gallon of soda is fairly indigestible as well. You'd have to drink it fairly slowly, or flatten it first.
  • A gallon of water - This one a person would have to be trained to drink lots of water, and even then, they'd probably throw up (as the body can have tough time with plain water). There is only so much water one's body can take (and you can be pretty sure it's under a gallon). This however, would be closer than milk.
  • A gallon of chocolate milk - This is a safer bet, since chocolate milk is heavier (although tastier) than regular milk. It's still milk, however, and would still be tough to do.
  • A gallon of skim milk - Watch out. The closest I've ever seen anyone come is with a gallon of skim milk. You want them to drink the heaviest milk they will agree to, if you are the one proposing the bet.
  • A gallon of beer - If you can find someone that will buy me good beer, I'll take it. Hell, I'd love to fail on this one.
  • A gallon of Gatorade - This one is the true nail biter. If you want to process the entire liquid in an hour, a mildly sugary substance (or something specially formulated to be so, like Gatorade), is something that they might be actually able to win. The body metabolizes those sorts of things fast, compared to other substances.

As a testament to the evils of milk drinking, a friend of mine did not drink in social situations because of a general objection to it. However, at parties, when people were doing drinking games, she would take shots of milk (at games like Asshole, or whatever people call it), instead of a required shot or liquor or beer. The next morning, she'd be more wasted (headache, feeling horrible, throwing up) than anyone drinking the alcohol. At least you can build up a tolerance to beer...
Other things that might help:

1) Cook down the milk first. Drinking condensed milk ought to be about as hard on the digestive system, but easier on stomach capacity

2) Train I eat two or three cups of yogurt and cottage cheese daily. That means my intestine is probably home to a thriving lactobacillus culture. I have no doubt that this gives me more milk-digesting capability than those who drink uncultured milk products.

3) Make sure you're not genetically from Asia, Africa, or the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas. Most people without some genes that originated in Europe are lactose intolerant, and taking this bet this may well be the worst thing that ever happened to you.

4) Pre-load: Lactose intolerant people can take enzyme pills that enable them to digest milk (e.g., lactaid™). You can too.

5) Vomit. I absolutely do not recommend this. Vomiting is bad for you. However, if you're going to do this stupid thing anyway, and you're up to make a few hundred dollars, it may be worth it. Milk is alkaline, which should help buffer the acidic gastric juices that you're going to be bringing up. Since vomiting depletes electrolytes, as does drinking large quantities of fluids, you will want to replenish them straightaway. Rutabaga is a good source of potassium; anything salty will provide sodium.

I almost completed this bet last night.

A group of friends and I were at a party. We decided to have a contest of sorts -- whoever could consume a gallon of milk in an hour would be the winner.

That's right, I was stupid enough to take it, even after reading this node. I was even stupid enough to keep going after everyone else involved quit. I had already won by default and yet I kept on chugging.

But, I had thought it out. I followed howlingfrog42's strategy of chugging the first half gallon (which I accomplished in the first 10 minutes), waiting, and then downing the remainder. I had requested skim milk, which helped a lot. I was also popping generic lactaids like crazy. N.B.: I'm not lactose intolerant, but I figured for a whole frigging gallon, I'd need some more lactase in my stomach. Now, a single dose of the stuff is 3 pills. I took six with my first gulp, and I had taken about twelve by the time I had consumed the half gallon.

After finishing the half-gallon, I began to have second thoughts. But I waited, and urinated once or twice, and my stomach felt fine -- and so I continued. With 10 minutes left on the clock, I popped a few more magical lactase pills and started drinking again. At this point, my stomach began complaining. I weighed the possible outcomes: the joy of winning a stupid bet versus the high probability of vomiting, and eventually decided to stop.

I had consumed 7/8ths of the milk. And besides some minor stomach pains for about half an hour afterwards, I felt fine. Didn't even throw up.

Next time, I won't eat anything for the whole day, just to prove that drinking a gallon of milk in an hour can be done.

I hate to admit it, but I will say that I have successfully won this wager. It wasn't pleasant, but I did it. Here is what I did.

Part One: Be European

Alright, alright, I know that you can't really train for this one, but it is handy.

Part Two: Drink, Often

Seriously, before making this wager I downed a gallon of water in one sitting every day for about a month. That's right, 128 fluid ounces of the stuff. Sometimes twice. It will expand the volume of your stomach like it does for those competitive eating types. This will alleviate the problem that you usually have with not being able to fit that much liquid into your body.

Part Three: Eat Right

Now, this advice is horrible for most people, but I have alreay proven that I abuse my body by doing things like drinking a gallon of milk in an hour. I also go weightlifting frequently, so it's how I eat anyway. But anyway, the meat of the diet is, well, meat (well, and dairy). If you eat lots of red meat your body can adjust to having heavy, fatty, protein-filled substances jammed into your stomach at random intervals. Dairy is also a must. It lets you develop the internal bacterial cultures necessary to digest the lactose sugar. I would also recommend that you eat in large quantities, again, to expand your stomach. NOTE: This is a bad idea if you really want to stay healthy, and I don't do it any more.

Part Four: Fast

Do not eat anything on the day that you are going to drink the milk or the night before, if possible. If you have very little in your digestive tract you have more places to put milk.

Part Five: Chug

Chug the milk. If you're quick you can get most of the gallon into your body before your gut starts sending mayday signals.

Part Six: Drink Standing

If you sit down your digestive tract will fold up and hold less material. The milk also goes down faster when you are standing because the esophagus is straighened and stretched.

Part Seven: Do not move for at least thirty minutes

Seriously, if you try to move you will either throw up or wish that you did.

I hope that helps somebody.

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