Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hungry, hungry humans

Last week's portrait on The Colbert Report of a professional athletic eater made me wonder: what would the proverbial starving child in Africa think of these Americans, lined up at a table, gorging on literally as much food as they can stuff in their mouths?

Alright, so it's not profound. But the numbers are interesting. A quick Google search turns up the following stats:
68 HDBs times 419 calories per HDB is  28,492 calories. Divide that by 1,555 and you get about 18.3 — an even 18 once you factor in sig figs. In those 10 minutes, Mr. Chestnut alone ate just over two and a half weeks' worth of food for someone in Somalia.

Incidentally, of those 1,555 calories a Somali eats, only 621 come from "animal products" (which I presume includes milk, eggs and the like). If we give hot dogs the benefit of the doubt and consider them animal products, those 68 hot dogs add up to about 21,012 calories, which is just over one months' worth of animal-derived calories for a Somali.

Of course, our mothers' plea to think of the starving kids in Africa who would just love that broccoli is bogus; corruption is probably the biggest plight in Africa, and the question of how to send aid is a difficult one. Still, I couldn't help thinking, as I saw the clip of so many people desperately eating all they could in a few minutes, that anybody who's ever experienced true starvation would be absolutely aghast at the sight.

Updated Nov 29, 2009: Found the nutritional content of Nathan's hot dogs specifically, and updated the numbers.

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