Our Nutritionist Investigates Pilk: The Pepsi + Milk Drink That’s Crazy Popular

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Depending how plugged in you are to pop culture and social media trends, you may or may not have heard of “pilk,” or Pepsi-milk.

This hybrid drink was popularized by celebrity Lindsay Lohan and has since become a favorite way to drink Pepsi for a surprising number of people.

So, what exactly is the pilk drink, and is it good for you? Is mixing milk and Pepsi a bad idea?

And what are the nutrition facts and calories in a milk and Pepsi drink? Why does Lindsay Lohan drink Pepsi and milk together?

In this article, we will look at the nutrition facts for pilk, whether a Pepsi and milk drink is as bad for you as it sounds, and alternatives to the Lindsay Lohan pilk drink that are healthier.

We will look at the following: 

  • What Is Pilk?
  • Did Lindsay Lohan Invent Pilk?
  • What Does Pilk Taste Like?
  • What Are the Nutrition Facts for Pilk?
  • Is Pilk Healthy?

Let’s get started!

A frothy drink with a straw.

What Is Pilk?

Pilk is a portmanteau for Pepsi-milk, a drink concoction made by combining milk and Pepsi that was popularized by A-list celebrity Lindsay Lohan.

In fact, even Pepsi‘s holiday commercial last year on Instagram featured Lindsay Lohan making pilk for Santa by mixing his traditional milk with Pepsi.

Thus, instead of cookies and milk, Santa enjoyed pilk and cookies, a sweet, bubbly mix of Pepsi and milk.

The Instagram ad spot certainly sparked controversy as well as intrigue by people all over the world, causing curiosity to try Pepsi-milk themselves.

As a result, Pilk started trending on most social media platforms, including TikTok, where influencers and everyday people took on the unofficial “pilk challenge“ and tried Pepsi and milk themselves, posting their own personal reactions to drinking it.

A concoction of milk and Pepsi is certainly bizarre sounding enough that it either raises immediate thoughts of disgust or an “I-have-to-try-that” type of response, which is ultimately what usually makes things go viral.

But, no matter which camp you fall into (grossed out by Pepsi-milk or eager to try it yourself), you may wonder, what does pilk taste like, why do people like it, and most importantly, is pilk good or bad for you?

Let’s look into each of these questions more thoroughly.

Pouring pepsi.

Did Lindsay Lohan Invent Pilk?

Although Lindsay Lohan’s Pespi milk drink may seem like a novel approach to a beverage, mixing soda and a dairy beverage is actually far from new.

For example, an ice cream float, which is often made with soda pop and vanilla ice cream, among other soda and dairy combinations, was first invented in Philadelphia in 1876, nearly 150 years ago.

Similarly, the Black Cow drink, which is basically a classic root beer float, appeared in historic cookbooks as early as 1917, which was over 100 years ago.

Even Lindsay Lohan‘s Pepsi-milk is not the first time people have mixed Pepsi and milk or Coke and milk, though she certainly sparked a resurgence and created the term for the drink, pilk.

For example, people used to mix Coke and milk or Pepsi and milk and call it “dirty soda” or just “Pepsi milk.”

Those who remember the old-timey show Laverne and Shirley, which aired from 1976 to 1983, may recall that the character Laverne Di Fazio, played by actress Penny Marshall, loved drinking Pepsi milk.

The rumor is that the actress herself loved drinking Pepsi milk so much that she wanted to find a way to incorporate the drink into the show so that she could enjoy it on set.

There are also international versions of dairy and soda concoctions, much like Pepsi milk, all of which again pointed to the fact that though Lindsay Lohan’s drink may seem like something new, it is ultimately just a resurgence or “rebranding“ of a dairy soda beverage with much more of a legacy.

A rootbeer float.

What Does Pilk Taste Like?

At first blush, the idea of mixing Pepsi and milk together may sound disgusting to many people. However, since Pilk is made by adding equal parts of Pepsi and whole milk, it has a sweet, creamy taste and texture much like an ice cream float. 

People tend to enjoy the smooth, rich consistency, the frothiness afforded by the milk fat mixing with the carbonation, and the balance of creamy and sweet that a pilk drink provides.

What Are the Nutrition Facts for Pilk? 

The regular pilk recipe involves mixing equal parts of whole milk and Pepsi, so it is a relatively high-calorie beverage that provides quite a bit of sugar from the Pepsi along with some fat and protein from the whole milk.

Therefore, if you were to make 12 ounces of pilk, you would use about 3/4 of a cup of whole milk and 3/4 of a cup of Pepsi. 

This would equate to 187 calories, 6 grams of total fat, 3.4 grams of saturated fat, 6 grams of protein, and nearly 30 grams of sugar (20.7 grams of added sugar from the Pepsi and the rest from natural lactose sugar in the milk), about 207 mg of calcium, and 0.2 µg of vitamin D.

A frothy drink, pilk.

The pilk nutrition facts are slightly more favorable than drinking straight-up 12 ounces of Pepsi cola. A 12-ounce can of Pepsi has about 156 calories, 37 grams of sugar (all of which are added sugar), and no micronutrients.

Therefore, although the pilk drink contains a lot of sugar and mostly empty calories, it is more nutritious than drinking regular Pepsi.

When you make this recipe with whole milk, however, you are getting a decent amount of saturated fat. Evidence is mixed on the health ramifications of saturated fat.

You can make a low-calorie pilk drink recipe using skim milk and Diet Pepsi.

This low-calorie Pepsi milk beverage alternative would have only about 60 calories per 12-ounce serving, 6 grams of protein, 0 g of fat, and about 9 grams of sugar from the milk. 

However, diet soda is packed with artificial sweeteners, and some research suggests that these chemical sweeteners are just as unhealthy as regular sugar and may also contribute to weight gain, gut microbiome dysbiosis, increased cravings, etc. 

Plus, you will not get the same creaminess or richness from skim milk pilk as you would from a whole milk pilk drink.

Two root beer floats.

Is Pilk Healthy?

So, is pilk good for you?

The short answer is no, pilk is not good for you and certainly can’t be considered healthy or nutritious.

Sweetened beverages, like Pepsi, are the primary source of added sugars in the typical American diet.

Studies suggest that regularly drinking soda or sugar-sweetened drinks can increase the risk of dental cavities and periodontal disease, fatty liver disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, and gut dysfunction.

Aside from being packed with added sugars from Pepsi, it is devoid of any real nutritional value.

There is some protein and calcium, but it’s easier—and healthier—to get these nutrients from real food sources.

Even just drinking low-fat milk will provide more protein and calcium without all the high fructose corn syrup in the soda.

A frothy drink.

Other good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes, soy, cheese, yogurt, and some nuts and seeds.

Dairy products like cheese, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese will also provide calcium.

Calcium can also be obtained in sardines with the bones, sesame seeds, and in small amounts of dark, leafy greens like spinach, beet greens, and collard greens.

Alternative sources of calcium include calcium-fortified foods like orange juice, soy milk or other plant-based milks, tofu, and fortified breakfast cereals.

When following a pilk recipe that uses whole milk, you will also be getting almost four grams of saturated fat.

Traditionally, health experts believed consuming too much saturated fat would increase the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Research has found an association between diets higher in saturated fat and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

A can of Pepsi.

However, some newer research and schools of thought seem to debunk some of this concern.

Depending on your other heart disease risk factors, it’s advisable to speak with your healthcare provider about whether you need to limit your saturated fat intake.

Making a pilk drink with fat-free milk, low-fat milk, or most plant-based milks will decrease the saturated fat in the Pepsi milk drink.

Finally, independent of the empty calories and added sugar in Pepsi, there are other chemicals and artificial ingredients that can be deleterious to your health.

To learn more about the nutritional value of trendy drinks, check out our article about the Prime drink here.

Bottles of sports drinks.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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