Ready, Set, Eat! 15 Wackiest Eating Contests
For nearly 100 years, American competitive eaters have binged on hot dogs, pizza, ribs, oysters, and more in an attempt to become the ultimate speed eater. Take a look at the ridiculous number of calories these winners ingest — and you'll understand why the American Medical Association just denounced such contests as unhealthy.
Just how disgusting are competitive eating contests? Enough to cause the American Medical Association (AMA) to take an official stand against them, just in time for the most infamous one: Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest (the 2010 winner, Joey Chestnut, shown here). Held annually since 1916 and nationally broadcast on ESPN, Nathan's contest has spurred dozens of other competitive eating challenges — everything from pizza to cupcakes to even (gulp) oysters.
In June, the AMA deemed competitive speed eating an unhealthy eating practice that sets a bad example for spectators, not to mention that its participants are in danger of vomiting, reflux, choking, stomach rupture, diabetes, and enamel erosion, according to MedPage Today.
There are now more than 80 official competitive eating events each year, according to Major League Eating (MLE), the international organization that oversees them. For its part, MLE says the contests provide “dramatic audience entertainment,” and that speed eating is safe for people 18 and older when it takes place in a “controlled environment with appropriate rules and an emergency medical technician present.” The group also strongly opposes practicing speed eating at home.
Should we do away with such crazy eating contests? Take a look at some of the wackiest competitions MLE sponsors — and the insane amounts of calories entrants consume — before you decide.
The reigning champion for Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest (held each year on July 4 in Coney Island) is Joey "Jaws" Chestnut. During the 95th annual dog-eat-dog competition in 2010, he downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Calories consumed: 16,038
What you'd have to do to burn them:* Run about 142 miles at a 10-minute mile pace. *Calories burned are based on a 150-pound individual using the My Calorie Counter fitness database.
The same hot dog-loving Joey Chestnut claimed victory by eating 8 pounds of pork ribs in 12 minutes at the Nugget World Rib Eating Championships in Sparks, Nev., in September 2010. With his winning technique — sliding the meat off of each bone with his hands and eating it in a ball — Chestnut edged out fellow competitor and rival Pat Bertoletti, who simply ate off the bone.
Calories consumed: 13,440
What you'd have to do to burn them: Cross-country ski for about 20 hours.
Pat Bertoletti dominated the competition at the Acme Oyster Eating World Championship in New Orleans in June 2011. He slurped his way through 39 dozen oysters in 8 minutes to win the title.
Calories consumed: 3,900
What you'd have to do to burn them: Bike at a moderate pace for about 105 miles.
Pat Bertoletti proved he was on a roll at the first-ever Pierpont Pepperoni Roll Eating World Championship in Fairmont, W.Va., in May 2011. He ate a record 30 ½ pepperoni rolls in 10 minutes. “I just kind of had to wing it. I looked and improvised and stole from other people. I just dunked it in hot water and [didn’t] chew and drink water and swallow it. I try to do as little chewing as possible,” Bertolleti told West Virginia’s Metro News.
Calories consumed: 5,795
What you'd have to do to burn them: Do power yoga for 12 ½ hours.
Joey Chestnut devoured 23 6-inch subs in 10 minutes in the World CheeseSteak Eating Championship sponsored by Subway in Allentown, Penn., in May 2011. He bested his previous year’s gorging of 19 sandwiches.
Calories consumed: 11,960
What you'd have to do to burn them: Run two 50-mile races
How is Pat Bertoletti’s mouth not still burning? He won the the La Costeña "Feel the Heat" Jalapeño Eating Championship in San Antonio, Texas, in May 2011 by eating 275 whole jalapenos in the 8-minute contest.
Calories consumed: 1,100
What you'd have to do to burn them: Play more than four hours of ping pong
“Eater X” Tim Janus had his cake and certainly ate it too at the Isle Waterloo World Cupcake Eating Championship in April 2011 in Waterloo, Ind. The 164-pound competitor wolfed down 42 cupcakes in 8 minutes.
Calories consumed: 8,400
What you'd have to do to burn them: Swim freestyle for about 12 ½ hours.
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
In honor of Elvis Presley’s birthday in January 2011, competitive eaters gathered in Biloxi, Miss., to feverishly eat The King’s favorite peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Pat Bertoletti emerged the victor of the Isle Biloxi PB&B Sandwich Eating World Championship after finishing 28 sandwiches in 10 minutes — and he vowed not to eat another one until next year’s contest.
What you'd have to do to burn them: Dance, dance, dance — for more than 24 hours straight.
Sonya Thomas may no longer be over the moon for moon pies after she ate 38 of them in 8 minutes to win the Lady Luck Caruthersville Moon Pie Eating World Championship in October 2010 in Caruthersville, Mo.
Calories consumed: 8,588
What you'd have to do to burn them: Play 23 hours of tennis
Joey Chestnut took the title of the Upper Crust World Pizza Eating Championship in September 2010 in Boston after he finished 39 slices in 10 minutes.
Calories consumed: 10,616
What you'd have to do to burn them: Dance through 18 hours of Zumba classes.
Oleg Zhornitskiy ate spoonful after spoonful of mayonnaise to consume a total of four 32-ounce bowls in 8 minutes and set the world record.
Calories consumed: 23,040
What you'd have to do to burn them: Climb the stair-stepper machine for a day and a half.
At the 2007 Stand by Me World Pie Eating Championship, in Brownsville, Ore., where the film — and the classic pie-eating scene — was filmed, Pat Bertoletti emerged as the victor after gobbling through 9.17 pounds of blueberry pie (hands-free, of course) in 8 minutes.
Calories consumed: 11,738
What you'd have to do to burn them: Jump rope for almost 22 hours.
Eric Booker inhaled 49 glazed doughnuts in eight minutes in 2002 to claim the world record.
Calories consumed: 11,858
What you'd have to do to burn them: Play 171 holes of golf (no cart allowed!)
Ed “Cookie” Jarvis holds the world record for ice cream consumption (and possibly worst case of brain freeze) after he downed 1 gallon, 9 ounces of vanilla ice cream in 12 minutes at the Max & Mina Ice Cream Eating Contest in New York City in 2001
Calories consumed: 4,918
What you'd have to do to burn them: Garden, including lots of shoveling and carrying planting soil, for 12 hours.
During the 2010 Isle Casino Pompano Park World Pickle Eating Championship in Pompano Beach, Fla., Pat Bertoletti chowed on 5 pounds, 11.2 ounces of sour pickles in 6 minutes to claim the title — and set the world record.
Calories consumed: 204 (not to mention the sodium bloat!)
What you'd have to do to burn them: Vacuum for about 50 minutes.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Eat! 15 Wackiest Eating Contests - Diet & Nutrition - Everyday Health
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