Competitive eating is not, in any way, a healthy sport. It just isn’t. But competitors do sometimes try to maintain some semblance of a health-conscious, competitive nature about themselves.
Take, for example, the asparagus-eating record, which is held by the great Joey Chestnut. See, back in 2011, Chestnut ate nine pounds, five ounces of asparagus spears in 10 minutes. That’s a lot of a healthy food; there are all kinds of vitamins and other good stuff in there. Did we mention that the asparagus spears were deep fried? This means that he likely ate many thousands of calories worth, not to mention a lot of fat and cholesterol, in just 10 minutes.
Still, there is something to eaters trying to eat healthier, even if it’s merely to accumulate records. You have to imagine, too, that it’s probably better for someone’s body to eat nine pounds of asparagus (non-deep fried, of course) in 10 minutes than it is to eat five pounds of birthday cake. Right?
Joey Chestnut (Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
In honor of being healthy in the New Year, let’s take a look at some of the healthier world records for eating out there.
Most Cabbage Eaten
Hey, who loves cabbage? Well, apparently Charles Hardy does, because he ate six-pounds, nine-ounces worth of giant cabbage in nine minutes. That’s roughly the same amount of cabbage you slipped to the family dog under the dinner table in your lifetime.
Most Cow Brains Eaten
Yeah, this is probably one of the “grosser” records, held by the great Takeru Kobayashi. But according to the USDA, a cow brain holds plenty of nutritional benefits. Consisting of various vitamins and minerals, the cow brain is high in protein and low in fat. That means, when Kobayashi ate 57 of them in 15 minutes, he was probably well over his monthly protein needs.
Takeru Kobayashi (Photo Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images
Fruit Basket Feast
Picturing someone tear through an entire fruit basket in three minutes, 52 seconds is hilarious. But that’s exactly what Pete Davekos did back in 2011. Nothing says, “you’re welcome” like devouring a “Thank You” fruit basket in under four minutes. Davekos actually also holds the work record for eating 7.5 pounds of garlicky greens in five minutes. I guess you can say he’s a bit of a health food freak.
Eric Booker (Photo Credit: George Best/Getty Images)
Most Grapes Eaten
A man named Cookie Jarvis holds the world record for eating eight-pounds, 15-ounces worth of grapes in 10 minutes. Yes, that’s the same Cookie Jarvis who once ate 91 Chinese dumplings in eight minutes, and who holds the world records for ice cream, chicken-friend steak and french fries, to name a few. Maybe he thought the grapes were going to be deep-fried?
This record is both healthy and painful. Can you imagine eating three whole raw onions in one minute? Well, that’s what Eric Booker did. I’m sure that after he had broken the world records for most candy bars, burritos and doughnuts, he was probably looking for something more “challenging.” Booker also has the record for most peas eaten in 12 minutes (9.5 pounds), a record that’ll make any mother proud.
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Tom Lorenzo is a freelance sports, entertainment and pop culture writer from New York City. You can follow him on Twitter @TomLorenzo.