Food Challenges That Broke The Internet This Past Decade

Everyone likes a challenge, well, most people anyway.

When dared to do something, many will take it up, eager to prove themselves worthy. When it comes to food challenges, the internet seems particularly excited to put themselves through a variety of tortures and tasks in a bid to go viral or jump in on a trend. 

While some of these food challenges are perfectly harmless and most likely highly hilarious, others have major consequences and can even kill you. 

The 2010s was a big decade for the internet. It truly exploded in a variety of ways, and with the rise of social media, and YouTube in particular, the world is more connected than it ever has been. This also includes the shareability and popularity of challenges, dares, and things that may make you go "Oh, I could do that!" Even when you maybe shouldn't.

But what were the major food challenges of the decade? There are a few big ones that truly swept up the world, and no, we're not talking about The Ice Bucket Challenge. If you're curious about which food challenges made our list, keep on reading. 

Just... don't do any of the super crazy ones, OK? We want to see you to make it to 2020.

The Cinnamon Challenge

Ah yes, the good old Cinnamon Challenge. While it started in 2006, it went viral in 2011, causing many an explosion of orange dust around every corner of the internet. 

Chances are that many of us have tried it — or at least thought about trying it. All you have to do is swallow a spoonful of cinnamon in 60 seconds without any water — and no vomiting. Easy peasy, right? After all, what's so dangerous about cinnamon? 

Why can't people seem to swallow a spoonful? There's just that little issue of cinnamon being, you know, hydrophobic and caustic.

With a rise in calls to Poison Control, a 400 percent increase from 2011 to 2012, the public quickly caught on to the fact that maybe downing a tablespoon of cinnamon wasn't a great idea. 

Cinnamon is made from tree bark and is rather fibrous, meaning it'll cause irritation and choking as you try and swallow it. It can even scar your lungs if you accidentally inhale it in the frantic flapping about post-eating, never mind causing asphyxiation and potentially killing you. Breathing problems can also occur, which was another reason why calls to 911 and hospital visits for everything from shortness of breath to collapsed lungs after attempting the challenge also rose. 

Nothing like trying a YouTube video and end up thinking you're dying because of a key Pumpkin Spice ingredient.

The Cheese Challenge

One of the more funny, less harmful (depending who you ask) food challenges of the 2010s involved flinging a piece of cheese at a baby and laughing uproariously as it stuck to a bewildered recipient. Yes, it's the Cheese Challenge. 

Babies are inherently funny and cheese is great, so combining the two was already a recipe for internet glory. The father who started it all, Charles Amara, hails from Michigan and wasn't even the one who made the trend go viral. That was Twitter user @unclehxlmes, who posted a screenshot of the video for the masses. Eventually he took it down, fearing it too invasive for the family, but not before it had been seen more than 10 million times. 

From there, everyone who had a baby and some American cheese was making their own video and sharing it on the wide open web via #cheesechallenge.

While the majority of the internet thought this trend was hilarious and harmless, that didn't stop some people from crying child abuse or accusing the participating parents of traumatizing their children. Then there were those who were simply confused

Hysterical or trauma inducing, the cheese challenge was a highlight of 2019.

The Sprite and Banana Challenge

There are a number of food challenges in the 2010s that involve making yourself sick, or rather, trying to avoid vomiting but inevitably failing while your friends look on laughing — or perhaps joining you in your mistakes. All for the Vine (RIP), right? 

The Sprite and Banana Challenge is more or less conducting a science experiment on yourself. As well as masochism. The rules are relatively simple: eat two bananas and then immediately drink a can (or bottle, if you're really feeling brave) of Sprite and try not to vomit. In fact, the last person to vomit is actually the winner. That's because you will vomit. It's just science

The combination of carbon dioxide caused from the cold soda, mixed with the protein in the banana causes a foaming reaction. Since one's stomach is only so large, the foam and gas needs somewhere else to escape. 

Ever wonder how banana feels coming out of your nose? Try this challenge and you'll find out. As the thousands of people who attempted and filmed the challenge quickly learned. Video after video is filled with "FAILED" in the title, as well as vomit warnings. 

Watch and attempt at your own peril.

The Gallon Challenge

Again with the try-to-do-this-but-don't-get-sick challenges. The 2010s sure were a masochistic decade for food challenges, and this one is no exception. 

The Gallon Challenge, typically attempted with milk, is just about what you assume it is. Drink a gallon of milk as fast as you can without getting sick for an hour. Spoiler: you'll probably get sick. 

The challenge started in 2010 and has popped up time and time again throughout the decade. First made popular from the show Jackass, the idea of challenging yourself to drinking a full gallon of milk is one that should be left in the past decade, but will probably continue on because people don't like to be told it's physically impossible for them to do something.

What makes the margin of success in this challenge so small is that drinking that much of anything in so short amount of time will overload your body, causing an adverse reaction. Even drinking a gallon of water in a short period is incredibly dangerous

What happens, and why many people vomit, is that such a large amount of milk has a large amount of calcium in it, and thus reacts to the acid in your stomach. Guess what happens when the acid in your stomach gets really upset... yup, you vomit. 

Also, there's the fact that the average human stomach can only hold a quart to a half of a gallon worth of liquid at any given time. Yes, stomachs can expand, but again with the too much at one time thing. 

The Mentos & Diet Coke Challenge

It's an old favorite, pour mint Mentos into a bottle of cola and watch it explode. 

It's a fun science experiments for kids or if you really want to prank someone. However, that wasn't enough for some people. Those people wondered, "Hey, what if I try and drink the blast of soda that comes out? Wouldn't that be rad?" 

We... guess? This challenge was a mid-decade marvel and mostly just involved a lot of people covered in soda and burping.

YouTuber FuriousPete went the way of keeping the Mentos in his mouth and then pouring in the soda, effectively creating a scientific reaction in his mouth. While it is an impressive geyser and FuriousPete is objectively drenched in Diet Coke, he's otherwise no worse for wear. 

The reason cola foams with Mentos is because of the rough outer shell of the candy. That shell dissolves with moisture, and that includes saliva. So the moment the candy goes in his mouth, it starts to dissolve and rapidly does so once the corrosive cola is thrown in. The reaction happens fast, and this is why if you eat Mentos and then drink cola, nothing will happen. The coating is already quickly dissolving. Congratulations, you won't explode.

The Hot Pepper Challenge

Sometimes called The Ghost Pepper Challenge, this food dare, which peaked in 2012, is one that definitely separates those who can do spice and who can't. Typically it would involve someone eating a ghost pepper, also known as the Bhut Jolokia, named the third hottest pepper in the world in 2013. 

It all kicked off thanks to a three man team at Rooster Teeth, all of which ate a ghost pepper and suffered the agony of capsaicin. From there it spread throughout the internet, everyone trying to see if they too could conquer the spice. 

There are thousands of videos on YouTube depicting the challenge, but perhaps the most notable is GloZell, a noted food challenge YouTuber. Her attempt at the Hot Pepper Challenge has garnered over 36 million views.

Some hot pepper challengers amped it up a notch and ate a full Carolina Reaper pepper, once named the spiciest pepper in the world.

Other than wishing they could drown in a gallon of milk or cut off their tongue, not many have reported being seriously hurt as a result of these hot pepper challenges. However, especially when it comes to the Carolina Reaper, asthma attacks are common enough in various videos. Oh, and there was one guy who tore a hole in his esophagus

So yes, this challenge definitely broke the internet, and those seriously hot peppers broke a lot of people out in a sweat.

The Saltine Challenge

This one won't be making you sick. Rather, it's going to make your mouth feel like a saw mill. 

The Saltine Cracker Challenge, circa 2015, dares its participants to eat six saltine crackers in one minute without drinking anything. Oh, and no crumbs left, of course. 

This one, we must admit, seems deceptively easy. However, plot twist, it's not. This is because the saltines dry out your mouth incredibly quickly thanks to their salt content. 

Ever put cotton balls in your mouth? Think of multiple saltines just like that, though a touch tastier. 

With your mouth dried out so much, swallowing the crackers becomes difficult — much like the Cinnamon Challenge, but with less asphyxiation. 

The trick to beating this challenge appears to be building up saliva in your mouth beforehand, though that may be cheating, or to just stuff as many crackers in your mouth all at once as you can. However, to beat it in true fashion requires no tricks, just sheer determination and a penchant for saw dust.

The Salt & Ice Challenge

Never mind the internet, this late 2010s food challenge broke a few bank accounts thanks to the medical bills associated with it. 

The Salt and Ice Challenge is accomplished by pouring salt and water on your body, typically the forearm, and then placing ice on top. It may seem odd, but the reaction causes an intense burning sensation that is said to be similar to frostbite

The goal of the challenge is to withstand the pain the longest. The big problem, other than the obvious pain involved, is that the reaction of the salt and ice creates a reaction that can get as cold as -18°F or −28°C thanks to the challenger's body heat being added into the equation. It's a unique reaction and can result in second or even third degree burns

Can you count yourself the winner of a challenge if all you get is a serious burn out of it? More than one participant was left scarred or was sent to the hospital as a result. 

Fair warning, photos of those who did this challenge are graphic and gruesome.

The Soy Sauce Challenge

In today's day and age, anyone can post something on the internet claiming that it can do such and such and people will believe it. Apparently that also pertains to drinking soy sauce to cleanse your colon. Do not do this. The Soy Sauce challenge is half dare, half fake science. It involves drinking a quart to a liter of soy sauce in one go and is, in short, a terrible idea.

The Soy Sauce Challenge and the scary results from it became so prevalent that medical journals even weighed in. Side effects of the soy sauce challenge vary from vomiting to near fatal incidents. 

A Virginian teen fell into a coma fell into a coma after multiple seizures after drinking a quart of soy sauce, for instance. This is because of a salt overdose, and while that may seem ridiculous, it's no laughing matter. 

Believing that the hoax was legitimate, a 39-year-old woman was left brain dead after drinking an entire liter of soy sauce in two hours

Soy sauce is extremely salty and the amount of sodium that had entered this woman's bloodstream after she refused to drink water after consuming the soy sauce threw her into acute hypernatremia and then into cardiac arrest. Acute hypernatremia occurs when there is a very high amount of sodium in the body, in this woman's case it was her stomach. The salt then began sucking in all the water from the surrounding muscles and organs. When the salt finally reached her brain, it shrunk it, causing irreparable brain damage. While the woman is now able to open her eyes, she cannot swallow, speak, or move on her own.

Never believe everything you read on the internet, and don't try potentially (and actually) dangerous food challenges, no matter the reason.

Vodka Eyeballing

No, vodka eyeballing isn't drinking vodka with an eyeball in it, though in hindsight those who did this challenge might have preferred that. 

No, it involves pouring vodka into your eye socket. Yes, you read that right. Pouring actual vodka into your actual peepers so it gets absorbed faster through the membrane around your freaking eyeball. It's just as insane and ridiculous as it sounds. 

The origin story of this particular challenge stems from a few waitresses at a resort in Las Vegas looking to make a few extra tips. Least to say, word got around about this "trick" and the internet ran with it, especially college students circa 2010-2011.

Least to say, ophthalmologists strongly suggest you do not pour vodka into your eyeball. As a matter of fact, it was proven that vodka eyeballing doesn't get you drunk faster, so really, anyone who does this is just kinda dumb and probably already too drunk to function in the first place. 

Side effects from vodka eyeballing include corneal abrasions and scarring, which can actually lead to vision loss. 

Hopefully this is a challenge that never resurfaces, but should you or someone you know have the urge to pour liquor into their eyeball, perhaps just suggest their mouth... like a normal person.

The Cookie Race Challenge

Finally, a challenge that is not only funny but is a good time for the whole family! 

The Cookie Face Race Challenge is one of those things you either do at the holidays with your cousins or when you're insanely drunk in college. Either way, it's a true test of muscle control on your face and desire to eat a cookie. 

The Cookie Face Race involves placing a cookie of your choosing on in the middle of your forehead. Then, you have to use your face, and only your face, to get the cookie down and into your mouth within one minute. No hands, no help. Just you and your facial muscles. The race aspect comes in because you're typically in a battle of time with others. Whoever eats their cookie the first is the winner. 

It's a win/win really. Everyone will get to eat their cookie eventually and you get a bit of a workout in the process. Helpful for when you're going for Round 10 because you refuse to be beaten by Aunt Martha.

The origin of the Cookie Face Race is unclear, though many attribute it to a Minute To Win It game game in the earlier part of the decade, where it was called Face the Cookie.