Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi retires after losing ability to feel hunger

Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi retires after losing ability to feel hungerCompetitive eater Takeru Kobayashi retires after losing ability to feel hunger
via Netflix, Journeyman Pictures
Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi has announced his retirement, noting that his health is now his primary focus.
Key points:
  • Kobayashi, 46, broke the news in the Netflix documentary “Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut,” which premiered on April 26.
  • He is known for winning Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for six consecutive years from 2001 to 2006.
  • He was dethroned by longtime rival and current Major League Eating No. 1 Joey Chestnut.
The details:
  • Born on March 15, 1978, in Nagano, Kobayashi began his competitive eating career at the age of 23 in the Japanese reality TV show “TV Champion” in 2000, where he finished 60 plates of sushi, 2.7 kilograms (5.9 pounds) of potatoes and 16 bowls of ramen in one sitting.
  • He is credited for inventing a competitive eating technique called the “Kobayashi Shake,” which involves dipping hot dogs in water and then using a unique body shake to help the food slide down into his stomach.
  • He reportedly set a world record in 2011 for eating 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chestnut currently holds the Guinness World Record for eating 76 on July 4, 2021.
  • In the documentary, Kobayashi revealed that he has lost his appetite and ability to smell food. He said he decided to quit competing to live a “healthy and long life.”

“I hear people say they’re hungry, and they look very happy after they’ve eaten. I’m jealous of those people because I no longer feel hunger.”

  • Experts discovered that whenever Kobayashi sees food, areas of his brain associated with eating, satiety and nausea become activated simultaneously. “Your brain is still trained to think you’re competing or eating highly processed foods,” neuropsychologist Annie Gupta said.
  • Kobayashi was arrested on July 4, 2010, after jumping on stage while attending Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as a spectator. Since then, he has not participated in MLE competitions, including Nathan’s Fourth of July contests.
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