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Old 02-16-2004, 10:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1
Why does milk make you throw up

ok i know somebody can answer this for me, the other day i was watching some guy try to drink a gallon of milk and not even 1/4 of the way through, he started to puke, i know there has to be somthing that is making him do that, so why do people throw up when they drink alot of milk??????
Old 02-16-2004, 10:16 PM
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I can't answer your question but I wouldn't generalize from a sample of one.

A couple of WAGs:

Maybe ingesting anything too rapidly makes you throw up.

Maybe everyone is lactose intolerant to some extent and too much all at once makes us nauseous
Old 02-16-2004, 10:56 PM
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I've heard that it's due to the fact that people (even those who are not lactose intolerant) can't usually process lactose fast enough to handle an entire gallon of milk at once. It's not the volume of fluid, because people who can drink a gallon of water or Kool-Aid or beer at once still might not be able to get down an equal quantity of milk.

I've drunk a gallon of milk in less than half an hour. (Got $20 out of it). But I'm as far from lactose intolerant as I imagine any human could be. I never even felt queasy...just incredibly full.
Old 02-16-2004, 11:01 PM
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Oh, and I must add... Less than a quarter the way through? That's pathetic. A quart of milk ought to be well below the threshold of most people. It's just not that much milk. I regularly sit down ad enjoy a nice $0.99 quart of chocolate milk I pick up at the grocery store as a treat. It goes down in seconds, and I'm left wanting more. In case you can't tell from my posts...I love milk.

He may have been clinically lactose intolerant for that relatively small amount to have bothered him.
Old 02-16-2004, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2001
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The carbohydrase enzyme lactase is required to break down lactose in the stomach. I imagine that a high volume of milk consumed in a short period of time would exhaust one's supply of lactase before the intestine can produce more, leading to a quantity of unhydrolysed lactose and an adverse reaction--vomiting and maybe diarrhea.
Old 02-17-2004, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 3,055
I saw a guy down a gallon of milk in two swigs. He held it down for at least an hour.

In the interest of full disclosure, he did happen to be a raging alcoholic who typically drank an entire case of beer between 6 and 8 pm each night. So he may have had a stomach of somewhat increased capacity.
Old 02-17-2004, 12:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: NJ, USA ♂
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This question is just a battle of anecdotes. I can easily down a gallon of milk (at least, skim milk) in a hour with a whole bag of oreos. Yes, I've done it. I regularly drink close to half a gallon in a sitting.

To be scientific, you'll need a random sampling of people trying it. And you'll need to have random groups attempt to drink a gallon of water, or apple juice, or pepsi and see if they vomit.

Oh, yes, a control group of people not drinking a gallon of anything and record how many of them vomit.

Old 02-17-2004, 01:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 83,702
Keep in mind that the term "lactose intolerant" is a bit misleading. The mutation that enables some popluations to be lactose tolerant is thought to be relatively recent (evolutionarily speaking). The "intolerant" phenotype is the norm, and the "tolerant" phenotype should be considered the exception-- our use of "lactose intolerance" is a good example of non-PC Euro-centrism. It should not be surprising, then, that the tolerance afforded by this recent mutation has its limits.
Old 02-17-2004, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 2,109
I believe there was a very long thread about this a couple years back, posed as a dare.
Old 02-17-2004, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 8,223
It could also be the fat content. Fat makes you feel full. Keeping on shoving stuff in when you already feel incredibly full tends to make you feel nauseated, so pouring down that much milkfat could quite possibly make you feel so full you get sick.
Old 02-17-2004, 08:42 AM
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Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 23,602
so, for all the hundreds of dollars I have made off this bet in past years, nobody actually knows the answer to the OP?

(Guesses about lactose and "I can too do it" don't count as answers.)

I guess I'll just keep making money...
Old 02-17-2004, 09:04 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,083
Lactose has absolutely nothing to do with the issue.

Lactose is not digested at all in the stomach. The lactase is made in the jejunum, which is the second part of the small intestine. Lactose intolerance does not make one vomit, even if one made no lactase at all.

The answer appears to be that milk is high in what are called milk solids - the proteins, fats, and sugars combined. These cannot be squirted through the pyloric sphincter - the valve that empties the stomach contents into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine - as rapidly as pure water, or any liquid with a low solids contents can.

I'll bet if you tried to drink a gallon of pea soup, you'd get the same vomiting, only greener.

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