Competitive Eating World Records

atkins-bookshelf-triviaWhile competitive eating will never be an event that will be a part of the Olympic Games any time in the foreseeable future, it does have a loyal fan base that can stomach these gluttonous events, thousands of competitors hungry for a chance at the world title, a mouthful — I mean — a handful, of world champion eaters, and over a hundred annual competitions held throughout the world. One of the most famous annual events is the Nathan’s International Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition that has been televised by ESPN for many years. No sport, of course, can exist without an official regulating body: competitive eaters have the International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc. (IFOCE), based in New York, to regulate and supervise the competitions. Competitive eating, like any sport, carries a certain level of risk, including death (in other words, don’t try this at home without proper training and medical supervision). The IFOCE requires that competitive eaters must be oder than 18 years of age. For a period of time, the Guinness World Records considered eating records so dangerous, that they stopped publishing them, fearing that attempts to break those records could endanger lives. Beginning with the 2014 edition, the editors began listing them in a section titled “Gastronauts — the world’s fastest eaters.”

Like any athlete, the competitive eater must train regularly and be in good physical health to participate in these grueling events. A 2007 study found that the stomachs of competitive eaters can expand four times the size of the average person’s stomach, holding up to four liters of fluid and food. Many speed eaters also chew a lot of gum to strengthen their jaw muscles. The jaws of top competitive eaters can exert 280 pounds of force, equivalent to the strength of a German shepherd’s jaws. A competition places a tremendous burden on a speed eater’s digestive system. Consider that eating 68 hot dogs and buns (the current world record) in one sitting adds up to jaw-dropping 20,000 calories, 210 mg of cholesterol, 48,990 mg of sodium, and 1,173 grams of fat — the equivalent of an entire’s day of calories for every minute of eating! Someone hand me the Pepto-Bismol! Surprisingly, most of the world champion competitive eaters are not overweight. 

Below are some of the records held by some of the world’s top competitive eaters that will leave you hungry or heaving:

Patrick Bertoletti:
10.63 pounds of corned beef and cabbage in 10 minutes
266 jalapeños in 15 minutes
36 cloves of garlic in 1 minute and 26 seconds

Eric Booker:
2 pounds of candy bars in 6 minutes
49 glazed donuts in 8 minutes

Joey Chestnut:
45 slices of pizza in 10 minutes
121 Twinkies in 6 minutes
68 hot dogs

Takeru Kobayashi (considered the world’s fast eater):
106 tacos in 10 minutes
13 grilled cheese sandwiches in 1 minute

Rich LeFevre:
1.5 gallons of chili in 10 minutes
6 pounds of Spam in 10 minutes

Molly Schuyler:
44 lobsters in 12 minutes
72 ounce steak and sides in 2 minutes and 44 seconds

Sonya Thomas:
46 crab cakes in 10 minutes

Read related posts: Who Holds the Most Guinness World Records
Fastest Man in the World
Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space

For further reading:  Guinness World Records: 2014 edited by Craig Glenday, Guinness Publishing (2011)

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