August 31, 2014
Welcome class and today’s lesson will be about the big eaters seen in many anime series old and new. The big eater in anime is classified as a character that routinely stuffs his or her face with a large amount of food in a short period of time. The big eater also displays no outward signs of eating large amounts of food aside from the occasional large swollen belly, which can make female characters appear pregnant. These bellies quickly disappear after a short period of time. This also often shocks many of the other characters present at the time. Some notable examples include Lina inverse from Slayers, and Natsu Dragoneel from Fairy Tail both shown below. Other notable big eaters include the Sayians from Dragon Ball Z, and many Shounen heroes.
So there are two parts to the big eaters of anime that need to be examined.
1- The ability to ingest a large amount of food in a short period of time
2- The ability to not gain weight from their frequent stuffing sessions
There are many parts to the human digestive system, but only one that matters when considering big anime eaters, the stomach. The human stomach is a muscle sac that physically and chemically breaks down food before sending onto the small intestine. At rest the stomach only has a volume around a third of a cup however it has the ability to expand. At maximum capacity the stomach can hold about four and a quarter cups.
Under normal conditions some of the stomach contents will empty into small intestine every 20 minutes, reducing the overall contents of the stomach until all of the food is digested. If someone were to ingest more than 4 and a quarter cup the body’s response is to forcibly eject the food in a display reminiscent of the Exorcist. If for some reason the person’s ability to vomit is suppressed the Stomach can continue to expand up to 1.3 gallons before rupturing. This is a possible complication from Prader Willi syndrome, where the individual always feels hungry. So the ability of the human stomach to hold the large amount of food ingested by big eaters is proven.
Whether you consider competitive eating a sport or not, it does prove that we can eat a large amount of food in a short period of time. The record at the Nathan’s hot dog eating in contest is 68 hot dogs in ten minutes. This proves that we can eat large amounts of food in a short period of time so the first part of the Big Eater is
The technical definition of Metabolism is all of the chemical reactions that a living organism needs to perform in order to survive. A map of human metabolism is shown below.
For the purposes of examining the big eater, we need only use the common definition of metabolism. How much energy a person’s body burns.
1- Energy in > Energy out = a gain in weight
2- Energy in < Energy out = a loss of weight
3- Energy in = Energy out = no change in weight
Therefore a big eater must burn as much or more energy than they ingest in order to stay the same size or smaller. Now there are some human conditions where this can possibly occur. The first one is extreme amounts exercise normally performed by high level athletes. Physical activity burns energy and the more active a person is the more energy their body burns. As such, very active people need to eat more than their more sedentary companions. The total daily meal for an Olympic soccer player is shown below.
The second condition where people eat large amounts of food and remain the same weight or lose weight is hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is found in the neck and is the main control of energy metabolism in the body. In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is over active, producing more thyroid hormone than necessary. As a result the body burns through food faster than a person can ingest it. This causes large amounts of weight loss regardless of the individuals diet or activity level as shown in the image below. Other side effects include infection, cancer, and heart problems so it is not a recommended method of weight loss.
While not common and or not entirely healthy it is possible for a person to eat large amounts of food and not gain weight. Part 2 of the Big Eater is
Humans have the ability to ingest large amounts of food in a short period of time and not gain weight. While it is not entire healthy or recommended big eaters are