Takeru Kobayashi Retiring, Wonders What Competitive Eating Has Done to His Body

The Japanese competitive eater appears in the new Netflix documentary 'Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut.'

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Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi will soon put down the plate.

Kobayashi appeared in Netflix's food documentary Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut, where the six-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion from Japan shared concerns regarding his health. Kobayashi—nicknamed "The Tsunami" and "The Prince," among other aliases—has been a competitive eater since 2000.

"Ever since I started this career, I've wondered what damage I've done to my body," he said in the documentary, per NBC 4 New York. "I want to know how it is damaging my brain and my nervous system."

In addition to possibly eating 10,000 hot dogs throughout the course of his near-25-year career, Kobayashi has also chowed down in pizza and chicken wings competitions. Now he wants to back away from overindulging on processed foods.

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"I’ve decided to retire from competitive eating," Kobayashi said. "It’s all I’ve done for the last 20 years. I am worried about what my next step will bring, but I’m also excited about my future. I have mixed feelings. But first, I want to fix my brain and my gut."

The 46-year-old added that he no longer feels hungry or full, along with losing his sense of smell, possibly from not registering signals from his brain or nervous system telling him to stop eating during competitions.

Kobayashi, who now plans to develop a healthy hot dog with his wife, will probably take a hit to his wallet since his participation in eating competitions earned him up to $650,000 annually.

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