[Kansas City Star]
Please, put down the fork. You're embarrassing yourself.
Your Sunday breakfast is strictly amateur. What is that, one waffle?
Two eggs? And you're taking your time? You're chewing?
Dude, you are a French poodle in the pit-bull world of competitive eating.
"Have you ever seen somebody eat 10 pounds of meatballs in 12
minutes?" asks Bob Shoudt. "That's more meatballs than a normal person
eats in probably a year."
Shoudt is a balding, 39-year-old vegetarian and IT manager who's often
recognized in public. He and his wife have three kids, so he goes to
dance recitals and preschool graduations and Little League games.
No long-term studies have been conducted, but Dulan and others have
wondered if competitive eating could lead to obesity and diabetes.
"We are already not very good at stopping when we're satisfied," Dulan
says. "On a daily basis, as I work with the Chiefs or the Royals or
just Joe Schmo, when it's a matter of needing to lose a few pounds, I
just work with portion sizes. Seeing something like this, it's not
As prize money grows — more than $500,000 last year — competitors are
finding new ways to train. Shoudt once ate 10 pounds of string beans
in an hour to stretch out his stomach. Others have thrown down cabbage
or lettuce or gallons of water.
The consequences (if any) aren't known, but some doctors think these
"training" methods may eventually reduce the stomach's ability to
"These guys are guinea pigs," says David O'Karma, who worked for the
IFOCE before starting his own organization with what he believes are
safer rules. "I guess if you tied weights to your earlobes, you could
stretch them down to your knees."
In recent years, the profile of eaters has, well, shrunk. Six of the
top eight eaters are 200 pounds or under, including 160-pound
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