Science category

Popular Science has a column asking "Is it possible to eat so much that your stomach explodes?" which claims that there have been six documented cases of stomach rupture due to overeating.
Adam "Beard Meats Food" Moran appeared on Monday's episode of The Digital Human produced by the BBC. The topic of the episode is super normal stimuli. (Download link)
Adventures in Poor Taste has an analysis of The Flash's metabolism, which requires him to eat 50 times more calories than the average human. If he obtained all his nutrition from hot dogs, he would need to eat about 3,518 Nathan's Famous 8 packs to sustain himself.
The BBC has a list of the biggest eaters in the animal kingdom. Elephants can consume up to 528 pounds of food and water a day. has a report on how Creighton University students studied the impact of eating the 12 scoop "Dundee Dozen" ice cream challenge on the human body.
The BBC has an article about spicy food challenges titled "Why hot chillies might be good for us" which theorizes that plant spiciness evolved to discourage mammals from eating them so birds could spread their seeds. A television program about the subject will be broadcast today.
NY Magazine has an article questioning the quality of research done by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. The institute published a study in December claiming that men are more likely to overeat in social settings according to the results from mock eating contests.
Cornell Food and Brand Lab produced a video about the study claiming that males are more likely to overeat in social situations with footage of the mock eating contests used for research.

Cornell University scientific study

Cornell University did a study with a mock wing eating contest to determine the relationship between social eating and overeating.

For the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers recruited college aged students of similar weight to participate in either a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with cheering spectators, or a competitive chicken wing eating challenge with no spectators. The prize for eating the most wings was a worthless plastic medal, but competitors still ate about 4 times more food than normal. Men who ate in front of spectators ate 30% more than those without spectators and described the experience as challenging, cool and exhilarating. Women, on the other hand, ate less with spectators than without them and described the experience as slightly embarrassing.

update has information about a follow-up study:

To better understand these results, researchers conducted a follow-up study, asking 93 college students to rate male and female competitive eaters based on their perception of their intelligence, attractiveness, romance, health and strength. They were also asked to suggest how many children a (male or female) competitive eater might have by the age of 50. After analyzing the data, the study’s authors found that “women do not appear to be favorably impressed by the feats of overeating.” Men, on the other hand, “positively perceived competitive-eating males to be both stronger and having more offspring compared to female competitive eaters.”

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ESPN's Sport Science segment about Nathan's hot dog eating contest can be viewed on youtube. update The link has been fixed, but the video is now private.
The Smithsonian has an article about a study about meerkat communities in southern Africa claiming that the animals try to maximize their food consumption to become a member of the dominant pair, which typically consists of the largest and most senior carnivores in the group.
The American Council on Science and Health has an article about Molly Schuyler claiming "we just don’t know what to make of" her. has an article about competitive eating training titled How Wing Bowl contestants eat 20 pounds of chicken in 30 minutes containing quotes from Dave "US Male" Goldstein.
James "Beard Meats Food" Moran will appear on the National Geographic Channel in Australia on Wednesday in a segment about the science of competitive eating. has an article about competitive eaters' digestive systems. There is also a video of Joey Chestnut's and Sonya Thomas' appearance on this morning's show. .
The 'Scope has a blog entry about the science of competitive eating mentioning the feats of Sonya Thomas and Matt Stonie.
John McQuaid has an article for the Wall Street Journal about why people enjoy eating pain-inducing spicy food.

Thanksgiving 2014 links

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Competitive eating academic paper available

Kay McArdle announces that a paper titled It’s not what you eat but how and that you eat: Social media, counter-discourses and disciplined ingestion among amateur competitive eaters by Emma-Jayne Abbots and Luci Attala of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is available for $19.95. The first two sentences of the abstract are:

This article interrogates how social media can provide a platform for contesting dominant discourses. It does so through the lens of competitive eating, demonstrating that amateur competitive eaters use social media sites to challenge and subvert mass media representations of their sport while concomitantly upholding normative notions of healthy eating and bodies.

Was anyone interviewed for this article? (I received no information requests.)


KSTE has a podcast of an interview with author Mary Roach focusing on the competitive eating section of her book, Gulp.
Huffington Post has a blog entry titled "Black Hole's Appetite Awes Competitive Hot Dog Eaters"  about George Shea's request for use of the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.  
Joey Chestnut has been nominated for the "Outstanding New Limit" category of ESPN's Sport Science Newton Awards, which will be announced tomorrow on the 5 pm eastern edition of Sportcenter. One of Joey's rivals for the category is marathon swimmer Diana Nyad, who wrote an anti-competitive eating column for the Huffington Post last year.
Scientific American asks "How does competitive eating represent us as Americans?"
Thrillist has an interview with Matt Stonie and Dr. Connor O'Brien of Stanford about the best strategies for finishing eating challenges.
Smithsonian Magazine has a report on the Naga King Chili Pepper eating contest held in Kisama, India which includes information about the science of spicy food. also has an article about spicy food competitions.
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