Competitive Eater Retires, Says He Can’t Smell Food Anymore: REPORT

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Takeru Kobayashi, a 46-year-old Japanese world eating champion, announced his retirement after his appetite waned and he lost the ability to smell food, The New York Post reported Tuesday.

Kobayashi made his announcement in a new Netflix documentary ” Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut“, the outlet reported. The famed food consumer advertised the film on his Facebook and called it “an amazing film” created by “talented” people.(RELATED: France Steals Back Record For World’s Longest Baguette)

“For the past 20 years, I have been in this field,” Kobayashi said, The New York Post reported. “I worry about the consequences of my decision [to go through with competitive eating competitions], but most importantly, I want to repair my brain and gut,” Kobayashi explained. Doctors in the documentary discovered that Kobayashi’s brain had become repelled by highly processed food, the outlet reported.

Kobayashi started his career when he appeared on a Japanese reality show consuming 60 plates of sushi, 2.7 potatoes and 16 bowls of ramen in one sitting in 200, the outlet reported. His glory days came in his annual victories in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York from 2001 to 2006 after scarfing down 53 hotdogs in 12 minutes, the outlet noted.

He also won competitive eating challenges in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported. Kobayashi’s competitive eating earned him an income of up to $650,000 annually, The New York Post reported. These events and this habit, however, came with a cost. “When you eat too much, you lose the ability to smell the food, and you also ignore signals from your body, such as feeling full,” Kobayashi said in the Netflix documentary.

When doctors examined the champion’s brain in the documentary they found that when he views food his brain activates areas related to nausea and thinks he is still in competition even when he is not, The New York Post noted. Kobayashi related that he once skipped eating for three days and now tries to eat a more healthy diet to try to rewire his brain, the outlet reported.