Can a hot dog eating contest destroy your stomach?

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Competitive eating champ Joey Chestnut gulps down dozens of hot dogs each Fourth of July at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest — and comes back do it again year after year. But no one really knows what long-term impacts it might have on his body or the bodies of other competitive eaters.

Chestnut has eaten as many as 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, setting a world record in 2021, and downed 63 to win again in 2022.

Long-term consequences are not well known because competitive eating is a relatively new sport with a relatively small number of participants, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Debbie Petitpain said.

But health experts say the practice does raise some potential health concerns.

The stomach, which normally contracts after people eat, could end up permanently stretched out, Dr. Rajeev Jain with Texas Digestive Disease Consultants said. It could also impact gastric emptying, the process by which food moves from the stomach into the duodenum.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!