Food Eating Contests

Most people enjoy food, but you have to really love food to sign up for a food-eating contest. Imagine scarfing down 20 hot dogs or 35 donuts! Talk about a stomachache!


Fun Facts

  • Major League Eating (MLE) is the official professional organization—like the NFL—of competitive eating. It organizes events and keeps detailed records of the winners.
  • Competitive eating is not just about how much you can eat, but how fast you can eat—or drink—it. Patrick Bertoletti downed a 22-ounce Slurpee in 7 seconds!
  • Sonya Thomas consumed over 8 pounds of Vienna sausage in 10 minutes. She also ate 46 crab cakes in 10 minutes!
  • Joey Chestnut holds the record for apple pie eating. He ate almost five big apple pies in 8 minutes. He also holds the record for eating the most brain tacos, chicken wings, and huckleberry pie.
  • The first known eating contest was Nathan’s Famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest in 1916. Four men competed to show their patriotism. In 1919, the New York Yankees hosted a pasta eating contest.
  • A few big winners earn money and prizes, but most competitive eaters do it for the fun—and thrill—of it. They say there’s something about pushing your body to its limit in front of screaming fans that exhilarates them.
  • Competitive eating is a uniquely American sport. People from other countries compete, but America is the only country that regularly hosts such events.


Questions and Answers

Question: Is competitive eating dangerous? Why do we enjoy watching it?

Answer: Competitive eating can be dangerous. People can choke on food, and eating large quantities of food so rapidly can cause digestive problems, as well as spikes in blood sugar.

It’s hard to say why competitive eating is a popular sport. It’s gross, but also kind of funny. It seems to celebrate some of the more negative qualities Americans are sometimes known for–greediness and wastefulness. What do you think?

Learn More

Head over to the MLE to see more astounding stats on competitive eating record holders.