Cinnamon challenge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ground cinnamon
An excerpt from a cinnamon challenge video.

The cinnamon challenge is a viral internet food challenge. The objective of the challenge is to film oneself swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything,[1] then upload the video to the Internet.[2][3][4] The challenge is difficult and carries substantial health risks because the cinnamon coats and dries the mouth and throat, resulting in coughing, gagging, vomiting and inhaling of cinnamon, leading to throat irritation, breathing difficulties, and risk of pneumonia[1] or a collapsed lung.[5]

The challenge has been described online since 2001, and increased in popularity in 2007.[6][non-primary source needed] By 2010, many people had posted videos of themselves attempting this challenge on YouTube and other social networking websites.[3] The cinnamon challenge continues to be active,[7] with Twitter mentions peaking at nearly 70,000 per day in January 2012.[8] It is similar to the saltine cracker challenge, which involves ingesting at least six saltine crackers (also known as soda crackers) within 60 seconds without drinking anything,[2][4] the Gallon challenge, and the Banana Sprite challenge.

Safety hazards[edit]

The stunt can be dangerous. There is a risk of gagging on the cinnamon, especially if it forms a clump and clogs one's airways. Accidental inhalation of cinnamon can seriously damage the lungs[3] by causing inflammation and leading to infection.[9] Furthermore, due to the moderately toxic chemical compound coumarin present in common Cassia cinnamon, European health agencies have warned against consuming it in large amounts.[10] The usual result of this stunt is "a coughing, gagging fit involving clouds of cinnamon" which "leaves some people gasping for air".[9] Sometimes those performing the stunt may gag and accidentally exhale the cinnamon through their noses. This often results in considerable irritation, discomfort, burning, or itching of the affected nasal tissue and nostrils. On YouTube, those afflicted with discomfort from nasal exhaling of cinnamon have been observed irrigating their noses or wiping their nostrils vigorously in an effort to relieve the irritation.[11][12] Vomiting is also a possibility. However, the risks can be worse: a high-school student in Michigan spent four days in a hospital after attempting the cinnamon challenge.[13] Pneumonia[14] and collapsed lungs can also result from the challenge.[5]

In the first three months of 2012, American poison control centers had received over a hundred phone calls as a result of the cinnamon challenge.[1] While potentially hazardous, no deaths have been specifically linked to participation in the activity.[15]

In popular culture[edit]

The cinnamon challenge was aired on the twelfth series of the reality television show Big Brother UK, in which show participants were to ingest ground cinnamon without the aid of water.[16][17] Radio programmes have also aired segments of people performing this stunt,[18][19][20] and others in the public limelight have been reported as airing the stunt for public display, including NBA players Nick Young and JaVale McGee.[7][21]

Many people upload their cinnamon challenge to YouTube. Comedian Colleen Ballinger told The Wall Street Journal that she took the challenge in character as Miranda Sings, in February 2012, to increase her YouTube traffic after hundreds of her fans had asked her to take the challenge. Her video received 70,000 views after one week and later accumulated more than 1.9 million views.[8][22] Another comedian, GloZell Green, has attracted more than 42 million views with her cinnamon challenge video, in which she uses a soup ladle full of cinnamon instead of the usual teaspoon.[23][24]

A large group attempt at the cinnamon challenge was held in 2012 at RMIT University in Australia and involved 64 participants in quick succession.[25] In a 2012 episode of the Discovery Channel series MythBusters, each member of the Build Team attempted the challenge. Kari Byron and Grant Imahara failed, while Tory Belleci completed it by tucking his spoonful into his cheek and letting saliva accumulate in his mouth until he could swallow. However, it took him more than 60 seconds to do so.[26]

In the 2013 episode of Chicago Fire titled "Defcon 1", a cinnamon challenge is held to determine who will get to live in Severide's new apartment. The challenge is abandoned, and the team is reprimanded by the chief. In 2015, Freddie Flintoff took the challenge on A League of Their Own (S9 ep1), and Criminal Minds actor Matthew Gray Gubler was recorded taking the challenge unsuccessfully. [27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Healy, Melissa (2012-03-28). "Teens' 'cinnamon challenge': Dangerous, not innocent". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  2. ^ a b Shipman, Dustin (April 29, 2008). "‘Dr. Food Science’ mixes bananas and Sprite, conducts other questionable food experiments". The Joplin Globe. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c Huget, Jennifer LaRue (April 5, 2010). "Swallowing cinnamon by the spoonful". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ a b Waxman, Matthew (August 25, 2005). "Milking the situation: To support Florida batboy, I try other food challenges". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 8, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ a b ""Cinnamon challenge" dangerous to lungs, new report warns". CBS. April 22, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  6. ^ Google Insights for Search - Web Search Interest: "cinnamon challenge" - Worldwide, 2004-2007, Google Insights for Search, accessed March 21, 2012
  7. ^ a b Kogod, Sarah (November 17, 2011). "Nick & JaVale's Cinnamon Challenge". NBC Washington 4. Retrieved January 9, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. ^ a b Keates, Nancy. "Just a Spoonful of Cinnamon Makes the Internet Rounds", The Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2012
  9. ^ a b Painter, Kim. "Cinnamon challenge:". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  10. ^ Harris, Emily. "German Christmas Cookies Pose Health Danger". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-05-01. 
  11. ^ Avery cinnamon challenge ...... fail!!
  12. ^ cinnamon shot out the nose
  13. ^ "Michigan teen hospitalized after attempting 'cinnamon challenge'". Fox News. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times: Teens' 'cinnamon challenge': Dangerous, not innocent. March 28, 2012.
  15. ^ Ewing, Samara. "Cinnamon Challenge Game Has Serious Health Consequences". WUSA9. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Ledgerton, Selena (October 27, 2011). "Big Brother: Rave On". MSN TV (UK). Retrieved January 9, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ Fletcher, Alex (October 27, 2011). "Big Brother: Housemates set Cinnamon Challenge to win '90s rave". Digital Spy. Retrieved January 7, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ "Gulp A Tablespoon Of Cinnamon. "The Cinnamon Challenge"". KROQ Radio (CBS Radio). June 8, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  19. ^ "Dancing With the Stunts: The Cinnamon Challenge (Photos)". Mix Radio 104.1 (CBS Radio). Retrieved January 9, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  20. ^ "DO NOT Do The Cinnamon Challenge!". (CBS Radio). January 14, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ Steinberg, Dan (November 16, 2011). "Nick Young and JaVale McGee eat spoonfuls of cinnamon". The Washington Post. DC Sports Bog (blog). Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ Ballinger, Colleen. Cinnamon Challenge (Miranda Sings)", YouTube, February 2012, accessed October 1, 2015
  23. ^ Green, Glozell. "The Cinnamon Challenge ... by GloZell and her Big Behind Earrings", YouTube, January 30, 2012, accessed June 28, 2012
  24. ^ "YouTube Viewers Flock to Watch Quinn Take 'Cinnamon Challenge'". CBS Chicago. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  25. ^ "RMIT Cinnamon Challenge". YouTube. 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Mythbusters Cinnamon Challenge", YouTube
  27. ^ "matthew gray gubler calmly eats a spoonful of cinnamon", YouTube