How Do Mukbang And Other Food Challenges Impact Health?


Mukbang' is a social media phenomenon in which participants broadcast live-streamed videos, consuming large quantities of food for entertainment in front of an online audience. It is popular in South Korea. These Mukbang challenges may revolve around eating a large amount of food within a specific time or consuming foods of various intensities, such as highly spicy meals, raw meats, etc. However, repeated participation may promote or encourage certain negative health habits and should be done cautiously.

Mukbangs may promote a poor diet.

As research suggests, the habits we develop in our lifestyles generally require an average of 21 days to form. In the pursuit of consistent binge eating, a person is less likely to monitor dietary portion control and the nutritional quality of food.

Health complications may be a direct result of Mukbang's challenges.

The risk of becoming overweight and developing weight-related complications, such as Type 2 Diabetes, is also a factor in Mukbang's challenges.

Mukbang challenges take a physical toll on the body in the long run.

According to New York Times, a dietician named Theresa Kinsella stated, "The short-term health risks are physical discomfort, gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, and fatigue." Theresa Kinsella further explained that chronic participation in Mukbang challenges faces the possibility of heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain.

Dairy food Mukbangs overload the digestive system.

As stated to Thrillist Matt Stonie explained that drinking milk differs considerably from water. The digestive system takes longer to process milk since its consistency is closer to solid food. Due to the high abundance of lactose naturally found in dairy, your digestive system becomes overloaded by overconsumption in such a short time frame, which slows down lactose processing.

Extremely spicy food in Mukbang challenges may result in medical treatment.

Eating foods bombarded with extremely spicy sauces and seasonings is nothing new in these challenges. A daring attempt to eat a Carolina Reaper was enough to result in hospitalization for one man. Eating these capsaicin-filled pepper resulted in a particular type of headache known as thunderclap headaches. Blood vessels within the brain contract, which triggers these sharp, abrupt jolts of intense pain. Similar cases eventually led to heart attacks following the onset of thunderclap headaches.

Future complications of extreme food challenges are still relatively unknown.

Since food challenges such as Mukbang are a newly explored trend, it's important to note that long-term health consequences are only somewhat concretely known for individuals who partake in them frequently. In addition, food challenges have even been described as a form of "self-abuse," as suggested by Kim Dennis, an expert on eating disorders.

Deaths have resulted from extreme food challenges.

A fun-filled weekend in 2017 resulted in the tragic fatalities of two people during a pancake consumption contest and donut consumption contest, as told by Vice. Additionally, in 2013, an Australian man suffered a heart attack while he participated in a competition on chili pie consumption. Within the same year, a contest of Romanian sausage eating took place, where another man fatally choked to death.