Competitive eating is one of those occupations which has a unique set of risks. Sure, who wouldn’t want to down some pizza, hot dogs or perhaps donuts? Yet after the first say five or so, the initial feelings of pleasure are quickly replaced by pain. And then of course there’s the “hangover” that bloating feeling which might last several days.

Some of the risks are not so benign however. Competitive eaters will down as much as a gall0n of water before eating. Why? Water stretches the stomach, and an larger stomach means more room to process those 70 something hot dogs( the current record is around 70 or so). If the stomach is stretched enough, it will pop and guess what? That causes peritonitis, which is a life threatening condition. Also, drinking huge amounts of water will lower the sodium in the blood. This is called hyponatremia. Severe hyponatremia can lead to intractable seizures.

Given, most of these competitors are young and for some unknown reason thin as a rail. These people train by eating immense amount of food rapidly. Guess what happens a few decades later, even if the amounts are significantly ratcheted downward? Eating disorders and of course obesity could be two of the unfortunate outcomes. Also, the mobility of the stomach or its ability to move the meat so to speak might be off, due to stretching. Gastroparesis which means that stomach just doesn’t propel the food forward well can cause chronic¬† vomiting and bloating. Self image issues, meaning, geez I just can’t put away 70 hot dogs like I did 20 years ago, could keep one up at night.

Bottom line, if you’re thinking of going professional as a competitive eater, think again.