Science category

BBC's Science Focus Magazine has an article asking "Is there a physical limit to how much food you can eat in one sitting?" focusing on Joey Chesntnut' recent Nathan's Famous finals performances.

University study on occasional oversize meals

A study by the University of Bath reports that occasional oversized meals do not have an immediate negative health impact on healthy males between the ages of 22 and 37.

Those who volunteered for the trial consumed almost twice as much pizza when pushing beyond their usual limits, doubling their calorie intake.

But the study found the amount of nutrients in their bloodstream kept within normal range.

Researchers say this shows that if an otherwise healthy person overindulges occasionally there are no immediate negative consequences in terms of losing metabolic control.


The New York Times has an article about a paper published in Biology Letters by James Smoliga, a physiologist at High Point University. titled "Modelling the maximal active consumption rate and its plasticity in humans—perspectives from hot dog eating competitions" which claims that the maximum possible total for a human competing in a 10 minute hot dog eating contest is 83 hot dogs. (Science Mag article)
In 2016, Ramsey Hilton interviewed Dr. Robert Ziff about his epidemiology models as part of a video in which he also attempted the Dare to be Great sundae challenge at the Parlour in Jackson, MI.

50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 porridge eating contest talk

Today is the 50th anniversary of a conversation about a porridge eating contest between mission control and the crew of Apollo 11:

Bruce McCandless in Houston: And in Corby, England, an Irishman, John Coyle, has won the world’s porridge eating championship by consuming 23 bowls of instant oatmeal in a 10-minute time limit from a field of 35 other competitors. Over.

Astronaut Michael Collins: I’d like to enter Aldrin in the oatmeal eating contest next time.

McCandless: Is he pretty good at that?

Collins: He’s doing his share up here.

McCandless: Let’s see. You all just finished a meal not long ago, too, didn’t you?

Aldrin: I’m still eating.

McCandless: Okay. Does that — that —

Collins: He’s on his — He’s on his 19th bowl.

A recording of the conversation was used in a commercial for Quaker Oats UK starring Buzz Aldrin.

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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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