Ten! Nine! Eight! . . . As the crowd counted down last July 4, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut shoved hot dogs into his mouth. When the clock ran out, he had won the 2022 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York City. He had wolfed down 63 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes.
Each year, countless people watch eating contests like this one. Competitors eat everything from piles of chicken wings to tubs of baked beans. Many fans see these events as fun and harmless. They point out that speed eaters, like athletes, spend a lot of time training. So they know what their bodies can safely handle.
However, many nutrition experts find the idea of speed-eating contests hard to swallow. They argue that having competitors stuff their faces with food could lead to unhealthy eating habits. Other people say these competitions are wasteful. And that’s a shame, especially when so many Americans don’t have enough to eat.