Joey Chestnut Eats 68 Hot Dogs To Win July 4th Contest: How Many Calories Did He Put In His Body?

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS News) Joey Chestnut has done it again. The 28-year-old San Jose, Calif., man nicknamed "Jaws" has taken the top prize at the annual Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog-Eating Contest -- chowing down an eye-popping 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

His efforts were rewarded with $10,000 and a mustard-yellow champions belt.

Last year Chestnut ate "only" 62 hot dogs and buns to win the competition.

The winner of the 2012 women's contest was 45-year-old Sonya the "Black Widow" Thomas, who took in 45 dogs to take home the pink champion's belt and $10,000.

Chestnut is more than 6 feet tall and weighs 210 pounds, and the 5-foot-5 Thomas barely weighed in at 100 pounds, the Associated Press reported.

While the annual competition is in good fun, many people wonder: What exactly are Chestnut and other competitors putting in their bodies during competition?

According to the Nathan's website, one of its natural casing hot dogs contains 290 calories (150 from fat), 17 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat and 710 milligrams of sodium. That means the 28-year-old Chestnut took in nearly 20,000 calories, more than 1,150 grams of fat, over 400 grams of saturated fat and a whopping 48,300 milligrams of sodium.

That certainly surpasses the government dietary guidelines for a 2,000-calorie per day diet which sets upper limits on 65 grams of fat, 20 or less grams of saturated fat and 2,400 milligrams of sodium.

The slender Thomas likely consumed over 13,000 calories, 765 grams of fat, 270 grams of saturated fat and nearly 32,000 milligrams of sodium, based on these numbers.

Hot dog contests aside, the CDC says 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium. Excessive intake of calories, fats and sodium may raise risk for numerous chronic conditions like diabetes. Fatty diets have been linked to diabetes and heart disease, while diets high in saturated fat specifically have been linked to an increased risk for coronary heart disease. High sodium intake is tied to high blood pressure, an increased risk for stroke and other vascular diseases.

What's more, eating in excess sends an opposite message from what the government and health advocates have been pushing to quell the growing obesity epidemic. Over one-third of U.S. adults are obese, which may result in chronic health conditions for many of them such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and certain kinds of cancer.

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes competitive speed eating "as an unhealthy practice with potential for adverse consequences." Last year, Dr. Jerome Adams of the AMA said in a statement that the practice may result in serious side effects like stomach rupture.

"Whether it's on TV or at a state fair, speed eating is clearly not a healthy eating habit, even if some people find it entertaining," he said.

Eating processed meats such as hot dogs has been shown to increase colorectal cancer risk, according to the American Cancer Society.

The recent research has even prompted an advocacy group to put up billboards in Chicago that colorfully warns residents, "Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer."

Another recent study found people who eat processed meats daily are also at a higher risk for pancreatic cancer, with risk climbing 19 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat a person eats.


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