Takeru Kobayashi is a world-renowned competitive eater from Japan, especially known as 6-consecutive-year winner of July 4th hot dog eating contest. We’re obviously not big fans of competitive eating around here, but in a recent interview, Kobayashi revealed some tricks of the trade that were pretty interesting.
In the interview, he was sharing a secret of how he can eat so many hot dogs in such a short time (more than 50 in 12 minutes!). His technique is a window into how our bodies recognize hunger signals.
Kobayashi first cuts the sausage in half and swallows the pieces with just a few bites. That’s the easy part, he says. The difficult part is the bread because it’s dry and hard to swallow. So he soaks the whole bread in water, shoves it into his mouth, then swallows it.
But here is the secret: It has to be warm water, never cold. Why? According to him, if it’s soaked in cold water, his stomach shrinks and tightens up, losing it flexibility. Warm water, on the other hand, one relaxes and expands the organ, better for digestion.
How this Applies to Healthy Eating
Eastern medicine says that cold food and drink “damp the digestive fire,” and suggests that we stay away from them especially before, during, and right after a meal since it could cause indigestion and other digestive problems.
In fact, your stomachs needs flexibility for optimal function, and cold food and drink have the opposite effect.
I don’t know whether Kobayashi is familiar with this Eastern teaching or knowledge of human anatomy. Probably he just learned from his own experience. But this is a very good lesson for us, especially during the hot and humid summer when we tend to reach for ice cold water, smoothies, beer, ice cream, frozen yogurt, or Frappuccinos.
70 millions American are said to suffer from some type of digestive problems every day. Although there are many causes for that, any small changes we can make are worth a try. Simply avoiding too-cold food and drink may be worth trying to help relieve some conditions. Be gentle on your stomach and enjoy this vibrant season!