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Joey Chestnut's 69 Hot Dogs at Nathan's Eating Contest Sets Record, But Could Be Killing Himself With His Lifestyle

Greg Archuleta
By Greg Archuleta (gregory.archuleta@comcast..net) @GeigaSr
on Jul 05, 2013 12:41 AM EDT
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Joey Chestnut's annual feats at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest could be considered death-defying, according to a Forbes.com report.

Chestnut broke his own world record on the Fourth of July, eating 69 hot dogs at the competitive eating event.

Forbes.com broke down the intake of Chestnut's "meal." The 69 hot dogs consisted of:

  • 21,321 calories
  • 1,387 grams of fat (which is 2,139 percent of an average person's daily recommended amount)
  • 538 grams of saturated fat (2,691 percent)
  • 24 grams of cholesterol (828 percent)
  • 47 grams of sodium (2,001 percent).

Forbes quoted a Salon.com article in 1999, talking about the dangers of such excessive food consumption.

" 'Is it possible to eat yourself to death?' science writer Mary Roach wondered at 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 said.

The Forbes.com report added that studies on the effects of competitive eating are few. However, it said researches have concluded that competitive eaters' stomachs have become accustomed to stretching to such lengths and can adapt to holding that amount of food.

Forbes did not cite any research on long-term effects.

But Chestnut, who now has consumed 110 hot dogs in 60 minutes combined over the last six hot dog eating contests, shows no signs of worry about his health.

Forbes published a quote Chestnut gave "Vanity Fair" in 2011.

"I think my body was built to eat 68 hot dogs," Chestnut told Vanity Fair's John Heilpern. "It's natural."

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