How Eating Records Have Changed and Why You Can't Attempt To Eat the Biggest Meal Ever

Eating records have changed a lot over the years. As more has been learned about the effects of gluttony, the world of record-breaking has had to adapt. These days, Guinness World Records doesn't monitor record attempts for how much a person can eat in an unlimited amount of time. Instead, they set a short time limit — 3 minutes at the longest — for a person to eat the most of one particular item, or they time how quickly they can eat a certain thing. For example, you could attempt the most pasta eaten in 3 minutes, the most sausages eaten in 1 minute, or the fastest time to eat a burrito. There actually was a time when they monitored a record called largest meal eaten. It's still active today, but it’s not one that you can apply for. It was 8 a.m. on a Sunday in 1983 when a 23-year-old woman arrived at the ER of Royal Liverpool Hospital complaining of abdominal pain. Her belly button had popped out like you would expect to see during pregnancy, and she was finding it difficult to breathe. Nurses questioned her, and she confessed that between midnight and 4 a.m. she had sat down to a late dinner. What she ate was what doctors believed at the time to be the biggest meal ever eaten by an individual. According to correspondence published in the medical journal The Lancet, her meal weighed 19 pounds and included 1 pound of liver, 2 pounds of kidneys, ½ pound of mushrooms, 2 pounds of carrots, one head of cauliflower, 10 peaches, 4 pears, 2 apples, 4 bananas, 2 pounds of plumbs, 2 pounds of grapes, and 2 glasses of milk. An abdominal x-ray confirmed the diagnosis of acute postprandial gastric dilation (sudden and severe distention of the stomach by gas and fluid). Efforts were made to save the patient, but she died as a direct result of her final meal. These days, Guinness World Records will not accept applications for the largest meal eaten. It’s not considered safe, and the last thing the record keeping company wants is to put people in harm’s way.