Hungry for a Hot Dog?

The "superbowl" of competitive eating is July 4th.

As we celebrate the 4th of July this weekend, something big is going on Sunday: lots of hot dogs are being consumed, some competitively.

According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (who knew):

  • In 2009 consumers spent over $1.6 billion dollars on hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets.
  • L.A. residents consume more hot dogs than any other city, including New York and San Antonio/Corpus Christi, TX.
  • Hot dog season, considered Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans will consume 150 million hot dogs.
  • On Independence Day (this coming Sunday), Americans will consume 150 million hot dogs.

 Perhaps the most “famous” hot dogs are Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, originally from Coney Island, Brooklyn. Nathan’s opened in 1916 in Coney Island and through the years has had infamous and famous customers from Al Capone to President (Franklin) Roosevelt to the King and Queen of England (1939). They were served in the Kennedy White House and at Walter Matthau’s funeral. These hot dogs are considered part of the American landscape, can be obtained in all 50 states and are truly “famous.”

Nathan’s is probably most known to those of us who live outside the New York and New England area for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held each Independence Day. On Sunday, July 4th the event as old as Nathan’s itself is held. It is now more famous because it is televised on ESPN and considered a “sport.”

Competitive eating is considered “professional” with a governing body, sanctioned events, and sponsors.

For “fun” and thanks to Nathan’s publishing their Nutritional Info on-line, I have calculated the following information:

One of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs with a roll and no condiments are 297 calories, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 0.49 g trans-fat (making one 55% fat), 34 mg cholesterol, and 692 mg sodium.

I suggest that, if you are on the east coast, swinging through Coney Island, go ahead and have ONE. Watch out for the other offerings and toppings such as chili, cheese, and fries which contribute significantly to the calorie, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium content of your meal. I know Nathan’s are located throughout the city and other locations, but why ruin the experience? If you are going all that way, have one at the original in Coney Island.

Now for the scary part: in 2009, Joey Chestnut won Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Eating Contest for the third year in a row, and set a record, by eating 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. As you read this, I know what you are thinking: “reversal” or “a Roman incident” is automatic disqualification.

In ten minutes, Joey Chestnut consumed: 20,196 calories, 1,224 grams of fat, 476 grams of saturated fat, 33 grams of trans-fat, 2,312 mg of cholesterol, and 47,056 mg of sodium. I’m hoping that not only is the EMS on standby, but also the local ER.

According to Wikipedia, Chestnut is 6’, 218 pounds, and 26 years old. This puts him at overweight, but add a few pounds to 221 pounds and he is obese (by BMI alone).

So, I estimate that in 10 minutes he consumed:

  • 7 days worth of calories
  • 13 days worth of fat
  • 16 days worth of saturated fat (more than)
  • 30 days worth of trans-fat (we don’t want any)
  • 8 days worth of cholesterol
  • 21 days worth of sodium (based on the recommendation of 2,300 mg/day) – make it 31 days worth if we go by the newer guidlines of 1,500 mg a day.

Hungry for a hot dog?

One thought on “Hungry for a Hot Dog?

  1. foodienutritionist says:

    Wow — a 20,196 calorie lunch?? Unbelievable.

    I actually find Smart Dogs (from Lightlife Foods) surprisingly good — They have only 45 calories and 0 grams of fat! I always eat them with some spicy mustard, vegetarian chili and the most whole-grain hot dog bun I can find.

    Thanks for the nice comment. I am adding you to my blogroll as well — I love finding great blogs written by Registered Dietitians!

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