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Guest Post: Dr Richard Krysztopik explains the medical process behind eating.

Sometimes it pays to know how the eating process works. For regular competitive eaters, there are a raft of complications that can occur. We talks to Dr Richard Krysztopik, a consultant surgeon working at the Royal United Hospital Bath, specialising in Bariatric treatment and “Minimally invasive (key hole) surgery, including operations for gallstones and abdominal wall hernia repair, Gastro-oesophageal surgery, such as key hole surgery for hiatus hernia repair or reflux control, achalasia and obesity surgery”. We asked him some about some of the medical and scientific factors that ought to be considered when embarking on an eating odyssey*

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Did an American TV show popularise English food challenges?

Competitive eaters and writers have attributed the sharp increase of food challenges in England with the recent popularity of the American television show ‘Man v. Food’. But is there any correlation between the television show and this new trend?

Adam Richman, the star of ‘Man v. Food’, spent three years taking on food challenges across the United States. A food challenge tends to be defined as an ongoing contest that is sponsored by a restaurant; participants are given a set amount of time to eat either a large quantity of food or a small amount of spicy food.

In 2010, the show made its debut in England on the Good Food Channel. An article in the Guardian said that since 2010: “slowly, by word of mouth, it has blossomed into something of a cultural touchstone for a generation.” The show was most popular in late 2011 and early 2012. UK outlets began writing about the popularity of food challenges in 2012 – shortly after restaurants like the Pride of Paddington created their first challenges. 

The following Google trends chart is of the number of times people in England searched for the phrase ‘food challenge’ from 2004 to present.

Searches of the phrase 'food challenge' in England  from 2004 to present

Searches of the phrase ‘food challenge’ in England from 2004 to present

Before May 2010, there were no hits for the phrase ‘food challenge’.  As the show ‘Man v. Food’ gained popularity, the number of searches spiked.  These searches steadily increased between September 2011 to April 2012 – from 9 to 92. Since then the numbers have dipped and risen; the top hit was 100 in February 2013 and the lowest was 41 in September 2013.

Map of Guinness World Food Records in the United Kingdom

We use the word “record” loosely here but the UK can boast to the acclaimed title holder of many culinary and eating records. Especially baked beans for some reason…

Below is a map of the UK showing where, who, what, how much (or little), how fast, or even how is that possible; demonstrating our abundant superiority in eating and cooking.

The sun clearly never set on the Empire…

All entry’s taken from http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/. Image source Wikimedia Commons.