Major League Eating (MLE) hosted its biggest annual competition in New York City on Sunday, featuring the granddaddy of competitive-eating events: the hot-dog contest. As with any "sport," there is drama and intrigue concerning the biggest stars, centering mostly on six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi and his chief rival Joey Chestnut. And guess who considers himself a fan? None other than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg all but endorsed Kobayashi's chief rival at last week's "weighing-in ceremony" for the hot-dog contest. Standing beside MLE star Joey Chestnut, Bloomberg hailed the contest as "the World Cup of eating up," dismissed Kobayashi as a coward for not participating, and saluted Chestnut for "eating an amazing 68 dogs … in just 10 minutes."
Hold on. Is this the same Mayor Bloomberg who threw down the salt gauntlet last year, demanding that city restaurants “voluntarily” cut their use of sodium by 20 percent? Who banned trans fats in 2006? Who mandated that Big Apple restaurants post calorie counts, despite all the evidence that they do nothing to fight obesity? Whose Department of Health and Mental Hygiene grossed out subway riders last summer with an ad comparing soda consumption to drinking fat? Whose administration this year is contemplating an ill-considered ban on fast food in poor neighborhoods?
Any health nut worth his salt will tell you that while one hot dog is harmless, eating 68 foot-longs at once amounts to a festival of calories, sodium, and saturated fat. And though competitive eating may now be considered a sport, it surely isn’t an exercise in moderation–the only time-tested way to battle the bulge. Let’s be frank: After demonstrating on several occasions that he won’t eat how he preaches, Mayor Bloomberg should give the food-nanny act a rest.