Peristalsis and the Tsunami

Kevin MD asks a good question: healthwise, what's going to happen to this guy?

He's referring to "the Tsunami" Takeru Kobayashi, who dominates his sport like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan dominate(d) theirs. His sport, however, is competitive eating, particularly hot dogs. From CNN:

For serious hot dog eaters, technique can be pivotal. Kobayashi swears by the "Solomon approach" -- he breaks his wieners and buns in half before shoving them mouthward. "It saves me half the chewing effort," he said.

Kobayashi, who weighs 155 pounds, says competitive eating requires a special brand of bodybuilding.

"You have to gradually build up your gut by eating larger and larger amounts of food, and then be sure to work it all off so body fat doesn't put a squeeze on the expansion of your stomach in competition," he said. "I start my regime about two months before a big competition."
Kobayashi got his start four years ago on the weekly prime-time "TV Champion" event. Later that year, he set the Japan record for eating Chinese dumplings by downing 400 in one hour on another show. He won his first hot dog eating contest -- setting the world record of 501/2 in 12 minutes -- four months later.

I think we're in uncharted territory here. Pubmed has nothing on competitive eating -- a lot of eating research is directed towards understand obesity via impaired signaling of fullness, and Kobayashi's ignoring those signals. History's full of overeaters, though, and I recall Louis XIV had a stomach twice as large as his peers. He liked his large dinners, but died at a ripe old age regardless.

Besides messing up his perception of satiety, I can guess Kobayashi is at increased risk of reflux, and maybe pyloric dysfunction (though this study on dogs shows no short term relationship between meal volume and gastric emptying). I can't guess what effect this periodic overeating is having on his bowels.

He should probably check his cholesterol, too.

I hope, when the Tsunami's old enough, he makes public the results of his screening colonoscopies (he'll have no trouble with the bowel prep). Maybe researchers can do endoscopy on him, as well.

If he turns out healthy, he could publish a diet book, along the lines of "How to Eat 50 Hot Dogs in 12 Minutes and Stay Thin." I'm curious myself.

Cross-posted to