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Monster mealtime eating challenges

Shows like 'Man v Food' have popularised eating big, and some of the challenges featured are mammoth. These calorie-loaded munchies are all good in moderation, but over-eating can damage your health and adversely affect your life insurance premium.

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Gut-Busting Food Challenges Hit the Mainstream

Extreme eating has hit the mainstream. Hit TV shows like Man v. Food have popularized eating massive meals, often with time limits, for the challenge, the glory, and oftentimes free food. These burgers, sandwiches, burritos, and other behemoths are loaded with meat, cheese, bacon—and tons of calories. Here’s a look at a few popular challenges in the U.S. and UK and what they hold for the challengers.


Where Bigger Is Better: A Few of America’s Epic Challenges

Adam Richman, host of Man v. Food, has eaten his way through many monster meals during the show. Here’s a taste of three of his American challenges.


“Eagle’s Challenge”

Eagle’s Deli and Restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts
Consists of:

  • Burger bun
  • 80 oz. of beef
  • 20 rashers of bacon
  • 20 pieces of American cheese
  • 2.3 kg of chips
  • Giant pickle

Time Limit: 60 minutes
Weight: 5.4 kg plus chips


“Big Badass Burrito”

The NASCAR Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada

Consists of:

  • 40-cm diameter tortillas
  • Beef
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Jalapenos
  • Tomatoes
  • Scallions
  • Black olives
  • Nacho cheese sauce
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole

Time Limit: 90 minutes
Weight: 2.7kg (and 2 feet long!)


“The Ultimate Destroyer”

Papa Bob’s Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Missouri

Consists of:

  • Bun
  • Sausage
  • Brisket
  • Turkey breast
  • Pulled pork
  • Sliced pork
  • Hamburger
  • Ham
  • Chips
  • Pickles

Time Limit: 45 minutes
Weight: 2.7 kg


The UK’s New Food Challenges

Restaurants in the UK are also serving up mega-meals to rival any Man v. Food challenge. Just like their American counterparts, these supersized meals pile on meats, chips, and more, resulting in enough calories to last the average person several days.


 “The Devastator”

Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton, London

Consists of:

  • Burger bun
  • 18 oz. beef
  • 200 g of pulled pork
  • 6 slices of cheese
  • 6 rashers of applewood smoked bacon
  • ½ litre milkshake
  • 1 pile of chips
  • 50 g pot of coleslaw

Time Limit: 10 minutes

Weight: Varies


“The Big One”

Hungry Hossee Cafe in Corby, Northamptonshire

Consists of:

  • 3 sausages
  • 3 beef burgers
  • 3 fried eggs
  • 3 rashers of bacon
  • 3 slices of black pudding
  • 3 square sausages
  • 3 portions of beans
  • 3 portions of mushrooms
  • 3 potato waffles
  • 3 potato scones
  • 3 hash browns
  • 3 portions of fried bread
  • 3 rounds of bread and butter
  • 3 rounds of toast

Time Limit: None
Weight: 3 kg


“The Beast”

Burgers at Blacks in South London

Consists of:

  • 30-cm diameter bun
  • 96 oz. of beef
  • 9 slices of cheddar cheese
  • 9 rashers of bacon
  • Lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pickles
  • 454 g of chips

Time Limit: None

Weight: 6.8 kg


What’s Recommended

Compare these supersized calorie counts of several food challenges to what the average man or woman should consume each day. In many cases, these meals hold more than a day’s recommended intake.

Approximate Daily Recommended Calorie Allowance
Young Adult Men = 2,400-3,000
Older Adult Men = 2,200-3000

Young Adult Women = 1,800-2,400
Older Adult Women = 1,800-2,200

*Recommendations vary by how active each individual is.


Excess Calories and Your Body

Aside from the monstrous amounts of sodium and fat that come with extreme eating, those many excess calories add up quickly and contribute to weight gain. But the kinds of foods that are consumed, such as those high in fat, matter almost as much as quantity.

0.45 kg of fat = 3,500 calories
Put into practice: To gain 0.45 kg (1 pound) of body weight, you only need to consume 3,500 more calories than you burn.

Average Calories by Nutrient Type
Proteins = 4 calories/gram
Carbohydrates = 4 calories/gram
Alcohol = 7 calories/gram
Fats = 9 calories/gram


It’s OK to Indulge Once in a While

There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence, but don’t get carried away. These mega-meal challenges are loaded with enough calories and fat to last you a few days.
And as TV shows about extreme eating become more popular, the temptation will be ever-present.


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