Everything’s a little sweeter this week, the week of the Sweet 16. The tension is up, the pressure is building. The Final Four is a couple wins away. Then again, maybe everyone just has a little too much sugar in their system.

The NCAA Tournament is the granddaddy of college basketball events, not unlike the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is in competitive eating. However, the world of competitive eating extends well beyond the savory. For those with a sweet tooth, there is a veritable buffet of food-eating contests that focus on sugar: apple pies, ice cream and more. And reading about them, unlike eating, won’t give you cavities.

Let’s look at the sweet side of competitive eating.

Mapleside Farms World Apple Pie-Eating Championship

This all-American eating competition got its start in 2013 at the Mapleside Farms’ 40th Annual Johnny Appleseed festival. And what a start it was. Joey Chestnut set a new world record, consuming 4.375 three-pound apple pies and out-eating other competitive-eating heavyweights Sonya Thomas, Eater X and Buffalo Jim Reeves. Chestnut and Eater X were neck and neck for most of the eight-minute challenge. This year’s event promises more apple pie-eating exploits, so check back in September for more about the 2nd annual Mapleside Farms World Apple Pie-Eating Championship.

Feast of San Gennaro Annual Cannoli Eating Competition

The cannoli is an Italian dessert that packs a sweetened, whipped ricotta cheese filling in a fried dough shell. It’s super rich, super decadent and super delicious. But eating more than one can be a challenge, at least for those of us with normal stomachs. Little Italy in New York City holds an annual cannoli eating competition as part of its Feast of San Gennaro celebration. The International Federation of Competitive Eaters (IFOCE)-sanctioned event challenges eaters to ingest as many cannolis as they can in six minutes.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10:  Cannolis sit on a tray during the eighth annual Little Italy Cannoli Eating Competition on September 10, 2009 in New York City. The competition is coinciding with the 82nd annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. "Crazy Legs" Conti won the contest by devouring 20.5 cannolis in six minutes.

Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Magnify Credit Union World Ice Cream Eating Championship

Have you ever eaten ice cream (or anything cold) quickly? Then you’ve experienced the inevitable brain freeze. Most of us ice cream lovers take a break to let it pass, but not our favorite competitive eaters. The clock is ticking, and they have to push through. On April 12, as part of the 2014 Florida Ice Cream Festival, challengers will try to overcome headaches and stomach aches to take down reigning ice cream-eating champion, Joey Chestnut. He set the world record at last year’s World Ice Cream-Eating Championship, eating 1.81 gallons of vanilla ice cream in six minutes.

The World Twinkie-Eating Championship at Bally’s Casino – Tunica

Is it any surprise that Joey Chestnut holds this record too? Of course not. Chestnut set the Twinkie-consumption record last year, eating 121 of the golden cream-filled snack cakes in six minutes. Competitors traveled to Mississippi from far and wide for this first-ever World Twinkie-Eating Championship, and did not disappoint. The first, second and third-place winners (Chestnut, Matt Stonie and Miki Sudo) downed a total of 303 Twinkies.

Alert your dentist and check with your doctor to make sure you’re not diabetic before you even think of entering any of these tournaments.

Read about Competitive Eating.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Alli Sands is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.


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