Inside the world of Britain’s competitive eaters – who devour 3,000 calories a MINUTE to win up to £8000 (and they’re watched by millions) – The Sun

From wolfing down gigantic fried breakfasts with piles of sausages and bacon, to devouring super-sized pizzas, the UK's competitive eating scene is on the rise.

One of the country's best guzzlers, Leah Shutkever – who appears on new Channel 4 show Battle of the Super Eaters: 3,000 Calories a Minute – claims she just doesn't have something in her "that says stop eating, you're full."

The 29-year-old food queen prides herself on being able to put away 12 original glazed Krispy Kreme donuts in under a minute.

"I was known as the Krispy Queen for quite a long time," she said.

"If I crush and take one bite, I am able to swallow and then take another bite at the same time."

It's about quantity as much as speed – she has munched her way through eight pounds of chicken wings, a 40 ounce burger and a 100 Jaffa Cakes in under seven minutes.

She also holds the record for eating a Terry's chocolate orange in 65 seconds.

But despite guzzling 3,000 calories in a minute in challenges, she doesn't look like your typical competitive eater.

A "self-confessed fitness addict", she hits the gym six times a week and can dead lift 90 kilograms.

"The misconception is that competitive eaters are these massive human beings who just come in like giants, thud themselves down on the table and scoff all this food," she said.

She enjoys proving people wrong who see her and think "she's not going to do it," she said.

The show, which airs tonight, also meets Adam Moran, who claims he is the UK's best competitive eater.

He quit his job as a stockbroker to focus on food full time after winning the Yorkshire Pudding Eating World Championships.

Guzzling 101 ham croquettes in eight minutes is among his proudest achievements as he is known for huge eating stunts such as "ordering an entire menu".

The eating champ, who has millions of viewers to his YouTube channel, "Beard Meets Food", said: "It is fun to say I am the best at something in my country."

"It is like being Harry Kane as a footballer… I might not be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo, but still, [I'm the] best in England."

"Nobody beats the beard" he added. "Not on these shores anyway."

Adam and Leah want to break the into the US scene, where competitive eating is hugely popular, drawing crowds of millions of spectators and offering large sums of prize money.

Some major eating contests offer cash prizes of around £8,000.

The eaters admit they take the "sport" as seriously as the Olympics, when they compete at a North Carolina contest to guzzle down a 55 ounce cheeseburger with over 5,000 calories.

"I imagine it is very similar to what Team GB feels like going out to the Olympics. It feels like you're playing for England, "Adam said.

What do the experts say?

Aside from possible weight gain, some doctors warn that competitive eating could be dangerous.

Gastroenterologist Shanthi Sitaraman, MD, PHD, told Web MD that binge eating can lead to risks of stomach perforations in those with stomach ulcers.

Chugging loads of water to wash the food down could lead to water intoxication by dilluting electrolytes, the doctor added.

If eating leads to throwing up repeatedly, this can result in food getting into the lungs which could cause pneumonia, she said – but this is uncommon.

But despite this, she had come across "no reported complications from competitive eating" except for one jaw fracture.

The show also meets newbie, Kyle Gibson, 28, from the northeast of England, who claims he can eat 17 pounds in one sitting – "the equivalent of two newborn babies".

He even has an eating contest he completed named after him – "The Kyle Gibson Hibernator Breakfast Challenge".

"I don't ever really get satisfied by a normal meal," he said.

As well as following the trio on their quest to be the best, the show also looks at what's the "sport" is doing to their bodies.

Leah got into bodybuilding after being picked on by other kids about her weight when she was younger.

"Over the span of about a year, I went from a size 12-14 to a size 8-10," she said. "I lost about three stone. I would avoid all cameras and all reflections."

She now follows a healthy diet but has a "cheat meal" for challenges.

"I wouldn't say it's healthy but once a week … having a huge burger is not going to kill you."

Adam said he would only stop if his doctor told him he was going to have a heart attack, but plans to continue as long as he feels healthy.

"My current GP says, professionally I've got to tell you, do not do this. But professionally, I've also got tell a UFC fighter do not do this."

What do you think? Should competitive eating be seen as a real sport, or is it damaging their health?

Battle of the Super Eaters: 3,000 Calories a Minute airs at 9pm tonight on Channel 4. 


In other food news, sisters who loved baking snack bars turned their hobby into a £700k a year brand.

And these wedding guests were disgusted with the "luxury" food served at this reception, including tuna pizza.

Plus, this family showed viewers how they managed to save £12,000 on their food bill.

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