The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, held in Coney Island every Fourth of July, is (perhaps regrettably) an American staple.
Over a dozen participants scarf down as many Nathan’s Famous franks and buns in 10 minutes as they possibly can. Last year’s winner, Matt Stonie, unseated the eight-time defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut by eating 62 hot dogs and buns (HDB, in contest parlance).
However, Stonie still fell short of the all-time record Chestnut set in 2013: 69 HDB.
To get a sense of the impact that gustatory meteor leaves on the body, we plugged the contest’s menu into the mathematical search engine Wolfram Alpha. Optimistically, we entered 69 HDB and let Wolfram Alpha add up all the calories, grams of fat, and (yes) vitamin and minerals.
Here’s what the winner will likely consume:
On the bright side, the contestants won’t eat any trans fats. On the other hand, someone who eats 69 HDB will consume nearly 19,000 calories, 2.2 pounds of fat, 276 grams of sugar, and 43 grams of sodium. That’s about 10 days worth of nutrition in 10 minutes.
The hot dog eaters will also put away 690 grams of protein and 700% of their daily recommended calcium intake — though those are small consolations given the inevitable acid reflux.
In reality, competitive eaters train their bodies year-round to handle this kind of stress, and their stomachs are generally acclimated to expanding well past the normal limits. Physically, these eaters tend to be on the leaner side, since any excess body fat hinders how far the stomach can expand.
Given that they will consume about the same number of hot dogs the average American eats in a year, they need all the room they can get.