Chew on These 11 Impressive Competitive Eating Records

2018 Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest
2018 Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest / Steven Ferdman/GettyImages

Eating contests—whether you're watching or participating—are not for the sensitive of stomach. A professional eater can put away enough food to feed a family (extended relatives included) in minutes. Some competitors focus on speed, while others train for quantity. At Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which takes place on Coney Island every year on July 4, fortitude in both categories is necessary for victory. 

Nathan’s hosts the most famous eating competition on Earth, but it's not the only place where  insatiable eaters break records. Pop a Tums and read about the impressive competitive eating achievements below.

1. Most Chicken Nuggets Eaten in One Minute

Leah Shutkever, a competitive eater from the UK, claimed this record in 2022. She devoured 19 chicken nuggets in 60 seconds as part of the Guinness World Records Italian TV show Lo Show Dei Record. She also holds the record for most chicken nuggets eaten in three minutes with 1.7 pounds.

2. Fastest Time to Eat a Head of Lettuce

Even competitive eaters have been known to follow dietary restrictions. Vegan speed-eater Mike Jack of Canada has broken several plant-based food records, including fastest time to eat a head of lettuce—he needed a mere minute and 31.053 seconds—achieved in 2021.

3. Fastest Time to Eat 10 Carolina Reaper Chillies

Carolina Reaper chilli peppers growing on a plant.
Carolina Reaper chilli peppers growing on a plant. / Maria Dattola Photography/Moment/Getty Images

Some food-related feats require a high tolerance for pain. In 2022, American competitive eater Greg Foster ate 10 mouth-scorching Carolina Reaper chillies in 33.15 seconds.

4. Most Mayonnaise Eaten in Three Minutes

In 2018, American competitive eater Michelle Lesco consumed a record-breaking 2448 grams of mayonnaise in three minutes. That’s the equivalent of about 3.5 jars.

5. Most Ice Cream Eaten in One Minute

Isaac Harding-Davis of Australia ate 806 grams, or more than two tubs, of Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream within a minute in 2017. According to Guinness World Records, he broke the record despite “suffering mild symptoms of brain freeze.”

6. Most M&Ms Eaten in One Minute Blindfolded Using Chopsticks

M&M's against red background.
Tamar Dundua/500px/500px Plus/Getty Images

Avery Chin of Malaysia broke a record when he consumed 25 M&Ms candies blindfolded using chopsticks in 60 seconds in 2022. He’s also in the running for most oddly specific competitive food record recognized by Guinness.

7. Fastest Time to Eat a Jelly Doughnut With No Hands

In 2014, Philip Joseph Santoro successfully finished a jelly doughnut in 11.41 seconds with his hands behind his back. Though it sounds messy, Santoro’s performance was surprisingly neat (lip-licking was off-limits).

8. Most Soup Eaten in 30 Seconds

German competitive eater André Ortolf broke a world record in 2017 by drinking 483 grams (or more than a pound) of soup in 30 seconds. He has also broken records for guzzling things that don’t go down as easy, like ketchup, mustard, and lemon juice.

9. Most Marshmallows Eaten in One Minute

Colorful marshmallows filling the frame.
R.Tsubin/Moment/Getty Images

Anthony Falzon of Malta inhaled an impressive 25 marshmallows in one minute in 2013, which is more than half a bag’s worth.

10. Fastest Time to Drink 250 Milliliters of Milk Through a Straw

A year after consuming record amounts of soup, André Ortolf drank 250 milliliters of milk through a straw in just 4.8 seconds in 2018. The Guinness legend accomplished the feat on a playground as part of a demonstration showing children how to break records.

11. Most Hot Dogs Eaten at a Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

We can’t finish this list without recognizing the most famous eating contest of all time. Competitive eating legend Joey Chestnut set the current record in 2021 by devouring 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He failed to break his own record last year, but he’ll have another chance to improve his numbers at this year’s competition on July 4, 2023.

A version of this story ran in 2022; it has been updated for 2023.