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Look Ma, I Can Eat More Meatloaf

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In the film The Great Outdoors, John Candy attempts to choke down an “Old 96er”—a massive 96-ounce steak—as gawkers look on with a mixture of excitement and revulsion. This type of gluttony is not as rare as you may think, especially in men. According to a 2016 Cornell Food and Brand Lab analysis in Frontiers in Nutrition, men are prone to stuffing themselves silly in competitive eating situations, whether they’re structured competitions or simply social gatherings that lend themselves to competitive behavior. It all boils down to the exhilaration of out-eating others and a desire to trumpet the machismo of winning. Women, on the other hand, tend to view competitive eating as embarrassing and consume less with more sets of eyes at the table. For men, the implications are obvious—extra helpings of wings at summer BBQs and doubling down on cake at parties may show that you can stomach manly amounts of food, but in the end, your waistline will suffer.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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