Joey Chestnut, the professional competitive eater, has done what some said was impossible; he has set a new world record in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest. Chestnut gobbled down 69 hot dogs on Thursday in just ten short minutes, breaking his own record of 68 hot dogs and becoming the world all-time champion. This is Chestnut’s seventh win in a row. Some experts are worried that Chestnut could die as the result of a fatally burst stomach, but he didn’t seem concerned.
“I almost started crying for a second. I’m happy as heck!” Chestnut said. “Things came together today. The hot dogs were really good. It wasn’t too hot.” Clearly, this is a man who loves his hot dogs. The New York Times reports that Chestnut ingested “20,010 calories, 1,173 grams of fat and 48,990 milligrams of sodium” during the competition, which took place on Coney Island, New York.
Matt “Megatoad” Stonie took second place, with a measly 51 hot dogs, while in the women’s division, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas captured the much-coveted first place by chowing down 36 and three quarters hot dogs, just barely nudging past competitor Juliette Lee, who managed to scarf down 36. This year’s contest marks Thomas’ third straight win.
Chestnut beamed from ear to ear as he enjoyed being hoisted up on a Nathan’s Hot Dogs bright yellow chair in the shape of a hot dog cart and carried through the crowd to receive his trophy.
Meanwhile, worrywarts everywhere were fretting over Chestnut’s health, and Forbes reported that Chestnut could possibly suffer a fatally burst stomach:
Is it possible to eat yourself to death?” science writer Mary Roach wonderedat Salon.com in 1999. “How much food will it take?” After reviewing decades of literature, Roach found that about four quarts worth of food was considered the “rupture threshold” before a stomach burst, and that most people who suffered from a ruptured stomach died within hours. “The human gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of bacteria, which, should they escape the confines of their stinky, labyrinthine home, can create a massive and often fatal systemic infection,” Roach warns.
But Forbes has missed out on a very important fact. Competitive eater’s stomachs are not like everyone else’s. In fact, they have a very different capacity than normal people’s stomachs, and expand to accommodate massive amounts of food with little danger.
As reported in Pop Sci, the stomach of a competitive eater “works more like an expanding balloon than a squeezing sac.” In other words, the competitive eater’s stomach fails to produce the same squeezing motion as everyone else’s and becomes paralyzed, allowing it to continually expand without resistance. This accounts for the massive amounts of food a competitive eater can consume during a contest.
This phenomenon is not fully understood by experts, leading some to suggest that the competitive eater’s stomach may be different from birth. Of course, the condition is also reinforced through the training that the eaters do in preparation for an event.
For now, Joey Chestnut will bask in the glory of setting a new world record in the Nathan’s Hot Dog contest and ignore the naysayers concerned over the possibility of a burst stomach. There will always be nervous Nellies and those who criticize, but Chestnut is definitely a champ.
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: NY Daily News
Source: Pop Sci