The world’s top professional eater gobbled down 72 hot dogs last month to win his ninth Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.
Joey Chestnut will look to do something a lot healthier at the Erie County Fair on Sunday: capture his first Kale Cup.
Chestnut, dubbed “the greatest eater in history," will compete against 11 fellow competitive eaters, including Badlands Booker and Jim Reeves, to see who can down the most 16-ounce servings of chopped kale salad in eight minutes.
Nigerian native Gideon “The Truth” Oji, from Marrow, Ga. – sixth-ranked Major League Eating competitor in the world – last year downed 25.5 kale salads at the Taste of Buffalo to win the inaugural “Kale Yeah! The World’s Healthiest Eating Contest.” He will return to compete again this weekend.
Major League Eating, the governing body competitive eating, conducts more than 80 events annually, including the Nathan’s and Kale Yeah! contests.
“Kale Yeah! is a fun way to encourage everyone to digest the importance of eating healthy and choosing healthy options,” said Carrie Meyer, executive director of the Independent Health Foundation, which presents Kale Yeah! through its Healthy Options program.
“While Buffalo has earned national recognition as birthplace of the chicken wing and other food favorites, we are now leading the way by promoting healthy options through this unique healthy eating event.”
Participants will compete for the Kale Cup and prizes totaling $4,000.
A 100-gram serving of raw kale weighs in at 49 calories and is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as dietary minerals that include iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
Drinking a large quantity of kale juice would provide an overabundance of vitamin K, so those on the blood-thinner Coumadin should think twice about undertaking a kale competition, said Peter Horvath, director of sports nutrition in the University at Buffalo Department of Exercise and Nutrition Science in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.
Kale also packs fiber.
"One cup has a gram of dietary fiber," he said, "so someone would have to eat 40 cups to have a terrible GI issue. I don’t’ think anyone could eat that much."
A Chestnut win at Kale Yeah! could make his time in Western New York twice as nice this summer. The 33-year-old from San Jose, Calif. is expected to make an appearance in downtown Buffalo on Sept. 3 to continue his dominance in the U.S. Chicken Wing Championship. He’s won three straight, edging Oji last year by eating 188 wings in 12 minutes.
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon