Eating is up there with breathing and sleeping as a pretty fundamental human drive. All of us consume food for nutrients; many of us eat for pleasure, and some of us eat for fun. However, only the rarest of us eat for glory.
Competitive eaters approach digestion like a sport. These incredible athletes train, prepare and enter competitions. The elite chompers develop rivalries.
Competitive eating pays surprisingly well if you’re among the best.
These competitive eating records are sure to inspire awe and terror in equal measure.
Grab a snack, and let’s dive in!
Takeru Kobayashi – 57 Cow Brains in 15 Minutes
Takeru Kobayashi, born March 15, 1978, has been named competitive eating’s Godfather.
Kobayashi is a six-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest competition winner. At 5 feet 8 inches tall and 128 pounds, Kobayashi set his first world record on July 2, 2001.
On February 21, 2002, Kobayashi chewed his way to victory once again at the Glutton Bowl by eating 57 cow brains in 15 minutes.
The competition, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, forced contestants to eat through three rounds to achieve victory.
Kobayashi qualified by eating 31 bun-and-all hot dogs. Round two pitted the eating legend against three pounds of Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Kobayashi claimed victory for Japan by eating 17.7 pounds of cow brains, the equivalent of three bags of Idaho potatoes, at a rate of eleven brains per minute.
Sonya Thomas – 8.4 Pounds of Beans in 2:47
Sonya Thomas doesn’t look like a person who could eat 8.4 pounds of baked beans in two minutes and 47 seconds.
However, on August 7, 2004, Thomas taught us not to judge a book by its slender, five-foot-tall cover when she downed the astonishing amount of legumes.
Nicknamed the Black Widow owing to her talent for eating men much larger than her under the table and The Leader of the Four Horsemen of the Esophagus, Sonya holds 20 competitive eating records.
The legend, born on July 26, 1967, was the first woman to dominate the Wing Bowl in 2004.
Thomas claims quite a few world records for eating, including:
- Chicken nuggets
- Tater tots
- Chicken wings
Thomas trains extensively to achieve these goals, only eating one genuinely massive meal a day.
Oleg Zhornitskiy – 128 Ounces of Mayonnaise in 8 Minutes
Oleg Zhornitskiy, a Ukrainian-born American, claims the stomach-churning distinction of eating a gallon of mayonnaise in 8 minutes.
Zhornitskiy devoured an amount of the popular condiment equal to 80 golf balls in 2017.
An avid disco dancer and fashionista, Zhornitskiy didn’t let weighing in at only 165 pounds stop him from downing four full bowls of mayonnaise.
Zhornitskiy’s previous wins include the Matzo Ball Eating Championship and the World Buffalo Wing Eating Championship.
Joey Chestnut – 76 Hot Dogs in 10 Minutes
Joey Chestnut is a bit of a competitive eating legend. The American chomper, nicknamed “the Jaws,” ate 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes on July 4, 2021, setting a world record.
That momentous meal was Chestnut’s 14th victory at the contest and earned him 10,000 dollars.
Chestnut’s hot dog intake equaled roughly 16 pounds, 12,000 calories, and 42 billiard balls.
Chestnut weighs in at 230 pounds. The Jaws claimed the Mustard belt for America from the previous champion Takeru Kobayashi.
Chestnut holds 55 world records, having eaten his way through eggs, donuts, tacos, Shrimp Wontons, Philly Cheesesteaks, and many others.
Kathryn Ratcliffe – The Most M&M’s Eaten with Chopsticks
Kathryn Ratcliffe of the United Kingdom holds the incredibly specific distinction of eating the most M&M’s (or, as they call them over the pond, Smarties) with chopsticks in one minute.
She beat her previous record on August 18, 2011, by eating 65 plain chocolate M&Ms.
Kathryn beat the record in Beijing, China, at the CCTV Guinness World Records Special.
Ratcliffe is unchallenged in the highly specialized field of eating popular candy M&M’s rapidly with chopsticks.
She also holds the record for the most M&Ms eaten in three minutes with chopsticks.
Matt Stonie – 113 Pancakes in 8 Minutes
Matt Stonie claims the daunting distinction of devouring 113 pancakes in eight minutes.
Stonie completed the starchy feat in Chico, California. The competitive eater took in a year’s worth of carbs at the 2016 World Pancake Eating Championship, dominating the nearest competitor, who only managed 89.
The pancakes were silver dollar sized, but 113 flapjacks are 113 flapjacks.
Stonie, all of 5 foot 8 inches and 130 pounds, is the fifth-ranked Major League Eating competitive eater.
The powerfully stomached American began his impressive career at only 19 years old.
In addition to his pancake title, Stonie claims 15 records, ranging from peeps to bacon.
Joey Chestnut – 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes
Joey Chestnut triumphantly returns to our list, going for sweet instead of savory this time.
Chestnut wolfed down 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes in 2013 at The World Twinkie Eating Championship.
Chestnut beat out the second-place winner, pancake destroyer Matt Stonie, by 10 Twinkies.
Many speculate Twinkies would survive a nuclear apocalypse, but the confections couldn’t survive Joey’s jaws. The eater set a Guinness World Record with his gastronomical accomplishment.
The record breaks down to 20 Twinkies per minute. Chestnut’s sugary feast allowed him to once again beat his rival Takeru Kobayashi, who previously held the record at 14 Twinkies in a minute.
Dinesh Shivnath Upadhyaya – 205 Grapes in 3 minutes
Dinesh Shivnath Upadhyaya is a one-man grape-eating machine.
The Indian native is his own best competition. The impressive eater devoured 205 grapes in three minutes on January 2, 2015, beating his own record.
Upadhyaya’s training regiment is clearly effective. In just a month, he was able to surpass his previous limit by four grapes.
Upadhyaya applied his impressive digestive skills to set the unusual Guinness Record in Mumbai, India.
Eating 205 grapes in three minutes isn’t the strangest thing Upadhyaya has ever done; it’s not even the strangest world record he holds.
He also holds the world record for drinking an entire bottle of ketchup through a straw in 25.37 seconds and for holding 22 lit candles in his mouth.
Matt Stonie – 182 Slices of Bacon in 5 Minutes
Matt “Megatoad” Stonie returns to us. Having established himself as a pancake’s worst nightmare, the eater turned his attention to another beloved breakfast food.
Stonie ate 182 slices of bacon in five minutes in Daytona, Florida, in 2015.
Megatoad decimated the previous record holder, Mark Lyle, who only managed 120 slices.
Even the biggest bacon fan would be intimidated by the staggering 6 pounds of bacon Stonie consumed.
Stonie maintained his love for cured pork products after setting the record; his greatest complaint was that the bacon was crispier than he preferred for rapid consumption.
Amedonou Kankue – 10 Ghost Peppers in 30.70 Seconds
Ghost peppers shouldn’t be taken lightly. The word “ghost” is right there in the name!
Even spicy fans generally approach the capsaicin bombs with caution; however, Amedonou Kankue recklessly devoured ten ghost pepper in 30.70 seconds in June 2014.
Kankue shattered the record and decimated his taste buds in Milan, Italy.
Scientifically named bhut jolokia, ghost peppers measure a blistering one million on the Scoville scale, making them 416 times hotter than a jalapeno.
Kankue devoured the blazing hot peppers on the television show Lo Show Dei Record, a program designed specifically to find world record breakers.