Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Are the Best Competitive Eaters Skinny?

Shouldn't the world's best competitive eaters be large and in charge? After all, they have the most room to fill with hot dogs, pies and chicken wings, right?

The answer: people with less abdominal fat can stretch their stomachs more.

As Popular Science put it, "[a] skinny man's stomach has little fat to push against it and fight the food for space."
Takeru Kobayashi hails from Japan and weighs 145 pounds, empty. [In 2003], he won the annual Fourth of July hot-dog-eating competition in Coney Island, New York, by scarfing down 44 hot dogs -- with buns -- in 12 minutes, averaging one every 16.4 seconds... Second place went to the 408-pound Edward Jarvis, who downed 30 1/2 hot dogs in the same amount of time. William "The Refrigerator" Perry, formerly of the Chicago Bears, managed only five.

So how does a man roughly a third the size of Jarvis outeat him by half? Answer, at least in part: The size of the stomach at rest is inconsequential. All that matters is the stomach's ability to expand, to adapt itself to the amount of food being shoved down the esophagus.
Belly fat inhibits rather than enhances your ability to pack it down.

(Source: Martin Berkhan)