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 with a time of one minute 31.053 seconds achieved in 2021.
3. Fastest Time to Eat Three Carolina Reaper Chillies
Some food-related feats require a high tolerance for pain. In 2022, American competitive eater Gregory Foster ate three mouth-scorching Carolina Reaper chillies in 8.72 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 Smarties Eaten in Three Minutes Using Chopsticks
Kathryn Ratcliffe of the UK broke a record when she consumed 175 Smarties candies with chopsticks in three minutes in 2013. She’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
10. 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 last year by devouring 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He’ll have another chance to improve his numbers at this year’s competition on July 4, 2022.