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Competitive eater Kobayashi retires: 'I want to repair my brain and gut'


Competitive eating legend Takeru Kobayashi is calling it a career.

The 46-year-old announced his retirement from competitive eating in the new Netflix documentary "Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut," citing the way his brain reacts to highly processed foods, according to Andrew Court of the New York Post.

"For the past 20 years, I have been in this field," Kobayashi said. "I worry about the consequences of my decision, but most importantly, I want to repair my brain and gut."

In the documentary, doctors discovered through brain scans that all areas of Kobayashi's brain that are related to nausea become activated whenever he sees food. Kobayashi said he no longer experiences hunger and once went three days without consuming food.

"When you eat too much, you lose the ability to smell the food, and you also ignore signals from your body, such as feeling full," he said.

Kobayashi began his competitive eating career in 2000 and set his first record a year later, downing 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York. He won the annual event for six straight years between 2001 and 2006 before Joey Chestnut dethroned him.

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