Competitive eating can cause cancer—but what doesn't?

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It’s logical to assume that competitive eating can lead to choking, indigestion, obesity, and high blood pressure, because those things happen when you eat large quantities of high-fat and high-calorie food in a very short period of time, but now a British dietician warns that it can also cause cancer. But maybe it was logical to assume that as well, because, really, what doesn’t cause cancer these days?

Anyway, Kirsten Jackson of the British Dietetic Association told Newsweek that an overfull stomach can put a strain on the esophageal sphincter, the muscle that holds the top of that organ closed, and stomach acid can creep back up into the esophagus. This causes heartburn. If it happens often enough, the acid can cause scarring and inflammation, which could eventually lead to cancer.

But, as competitive eater Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti told the AV Club back in 2014, “The doctors are just saying the most basic shit, like ‘diabetes.’ ‘Your stomach could rupture.’ I guess it’s a possibility, but your stomach isn’t really going to rupture. If it was going to rupture, it would have happened already, because my stomach can hold up to three gallons of liquid.”


So there you have it: eaters gonna eat.