Dieting is a multi-billion pound industry. But not everyone wants to be thin.
Meet our well-padded pioneers of weight gain. Heavy heroes who give salad a wide berth and plump for puddings whenever they can.
It’s big. It’s brash. It’s Bollywood.
A riotous kaleidoscope of music, colour and action makes India’s movie industry the biggest, brightest and richest in the world. Its stars are adored and emulated by a population that pores over their every move – and Bollywood just put on weight.
Where voluptuous actresses Kareena Kapoor, Vidya Balan, and Sonakshi Sinha have led the way, Indians have been swift to follow. It’s official – as Vogue India recently declared: ‘Skinny is out.’
We’re all familiar with the American obesity epidemic, but overeating as sport?
The gluttonous highlight of small town and county shows now has a governing body and televised events. Pie slurping, hot dog stuffing and corn guzzling are just some of the bouts now contested in so called, ‘major league eating competitions’.
In the run up to match day, athletes consume large volumes of water, vegetables and salads. But extreme stomach stretching is risky. Glugging vast quantities of water can be fatal and spectacular over consumption can lead to internal bleeding.
Last year, a man from Miami choked to death on cockroaches after winning a grisly eating contest to win (of all things) a snake.
Train, eat, sleep; a sumo wrestler’s routine has evolved over two thousand years.
Getting the most from a daily diet containing up to 8000 calories means training on an empty stomach. Sumos believe that in the long term, exercising after a fast lowers an athlete’s metabolic rate.
First thing in the morning, Sumos undergo an intense period of training, stretching and wrestling. For lunch, vast quantities of chankonabe – a delicious protein rich soup, are served along with various side dishes.
Next, a long afternoon nap to convert lunch to bulk. Later, after a period of free time, they settle down to dinner – more of the same. It takes years for top sumos to attain their gargantuan proportions.
For the rest of us – whey protein supplements are probably a better and quicker way to bulk up without padding out.
When Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days, the consequences were extreme.
He put on over 11 kg in weight and suffered heart palpitations, high cholesterol and fatty liver. But while his documentary, ‘Super Size Me’, highlighted the ill effects of eating too much fast food, it wasn’t the first burger eating experiment.
During the 1930s, U.S. burger chain White Castle commissioned a scientific study into the health impact of eating its patties.
Step forward the University of Minnesota and rosy-cheeked student volunteer, Bernard Fleshe. After first testing the diet on dogs and happy that it was entirely safe, university researchers put Flesche on a burger only diet. After 13 weeks he was found to be in perfect health – ‘proving’ the health benefits of fast food and preparing the way for burgeoning waistlines from Arkansas to Alaska.
According to his daughter, Bernard Flesche never willingly ate another hamburger, and died of heart failure at the tender age of 54.