Games Health

What is Mukbang? YouTube Stars Reveal Side Effects Of Bizarre Trend


After an extended day of labor, there’s just one approach that 23-year-old Nadia* is aware of find out how to unwind. Whereas consuming an inexpensive dinner of hen, rice, and beans, she watches her favourite YouTube star down two days’ value of meals.

“That’s my favorite thing to do,” she tells Males’s Well being. She’s not alone. Her favourite on-line character, Nikocado Avocado, has greater than one million YouTube subscribers. The account is run by 26-year-old Nicholas Perry, who data himself consuming large quantities of meals greatest consumed sparsely: spicy ramen (a fan favourite), chili cheese fries, and buffalo wings are a number of examples. Perry’s movies are a part of a development dubbed mukbang, whereby individuals earn a dwelling by consuming giant portions of meals for an internet viewers.

Mukbang is a mashup of two Korean phrases: “mukja,” or “let’s eat”; and “bang song,” which means “broadcast.” It originated in South Korea, however it’s gone on to garner worldwide consideration and recruit legions of mukbangers and followers alike, all united by the will to observe abnormal individuals eat extraordinary quantities of meals.

Even probably the most hearty of eaters might be impressed by these caloric feats: Individuals inhale upwards of four,000 energy in a single sitting. The mukbang stars who spoke to Males’s Well being stated their our bodies endure the results–however the cash (and a spotlight) they’re accumulating on this unusual digital age imply it is a sacrifice they’re prepared to make.


Nicholas Perry, who eats beneath the identify Nikocado Avocado.

Courtesy of Nicholas Perry

Earlier than making it stateside, mukbang started airing on the South Korea-based live-streaming service AfreecaTV. There, viewers chat with the Broadcast Jockeys, request particular meals, or make donations–which is how most earn cash, Splinter Information reported.

Mukbang is a bit totally different in america. As an alternative of live-streaming, skilled eaters add their movies to YouTube in hopes of gaining an viewers and incomes a portion of the advert income generated by views on their movies. Some settle for donations and earn money by way of company sponsored movies. Their success is depending on the urge for food of followers, like Nadia, who’re ravenous for brand spanking new content material.

“Last night I got so annoyed because my old roommate from college called me as I was getting my dinner ready,” Nadia says. “I was ready to sit down and have my YouTube time. I had to eat while I was talking to her, and that really annoyed me.”

Nadia might tune in as a result of she’s “a huge foodie,” however viewers swarm to mukbang for quite a lot of causes: pure leisure; a digital style of their favourite meals whereas weight-reduction plan; or firm once they’re consuming solo, as is the case in South Korea.

“In Korea, it’s not common for people to go out to eat by themselves,” Candian blogger Simon Stawski, who co-founded “Eat Your Kimchi” and lived in South Korea, informed the TODAY present. “Dining is a social activity, and you don’t sit and eat alone. For those that can’t eat with others, they’ll more than likely stay home to eat alone, but they’ll still have the urge to socialize while eating, which is what I think mukbangers replicate.”


Erik Lamkin, one other Mukbang character who eats as Erik the Electrical.

Courtesy of Erik Lamkin

23-year-old Madison Killer, who commonly watches movies from YouTube channels Erik the Electrical, Peggie Neo, and YummyBitesTV, turned a mukbang fanatic throughout her first yr of school.

“Given that I am not into the typical partying, I found I was having quite a bit of free time and felt a little lonely,” she explains to Males’s Well being. “I don’t know how I came across those types of videos initially, but I honestly think at my lowest, they made me feel less alone.”

Turning into a mukbang star looks like a very good gig if you will get it. In any case, getting paid to eat all of the processed, fried, and sugary meals we begrudgingly take pleasure in carefully feels like a dream. However Perry of Nikocado Avocado fame says buying and selling energy for clicks is extra work than you’d think about.

“I know it sounds like an easy job,” he tells “You sit. You gorge. You make hundreds of dollars. Whee, it’s a lot enjoyable.”

What you don’t know is that one video, starting from 20 to 60 minutes, takes hours to supply. Perry posts no less than as soon as per week and says these movies take up extra time than his earlier full-time gig. Previous to Mukbang, he supported himself as a contract violinist and by pushing carts at Residence Depot. Initially, he uploaded movies of his musical performances to YouTube, however transitioned to gorging after a weight-reduction plan good friend launched him to this on-line feeding frenzy.


Courtesy of Nicholas Perry

“It’s a full time job. I’m the business,” he says. Meaning Perry treks to the grocery retailer, cooks, units the stage, movies, and cleans up the mess. The method is shorter for movies filmed at eating places; Perry has orchestrated mukbangs everywhere in the world, together with at a Las Vegas buffet.

In a method, these YouTube channels are akin to a private purple carpet: “It’s very powerful to have millions of people following your every move to the point where they want to know what you’re doing,” Perry claims.

However this self-worth increase comes with a price.

Perry reveals his intercourse life has grow to be, properly, much less attractive since leaping into this line of labor. “I started having erection problems,” Perry admits. “It by no means occurred till I began doing mukbangs.


Courtesy of Nicholas Perry

There is no scientific proof linking erectile dysfunctions to binge consuming, however Perry says he is simply not within the temper after a full day of labor. It is sensible. Take into consideration the final diarrhea-inducing-meal you ate: did intercourse sound that interesting after?

It goes with out saying that often gorging on junk meals takes a toll in your physique, and frequent diarrhea is an issue for Perry–together with weight achieve. When he started consuming, Perry weighed 140. He now tops 220.

“Most people, when they think about it, are not willing to destroy their bodies for money,” Perry says.

You’ll be able to add fuel, bloating, and abdomen pains to the listing of Perry’s illnesses–particularly when he eats spicy noodles.

“I can’t fall asleep because I feel like my digestive tract is on fire,” he says. “And then I’m running to the bathroom. I’m sitting on the toilet crying.”

Regardless of all this, Perry actually is not frightened about his well being as a result of he eats loads of greens outdoors of filming.

However not each on-line glutton experiences such drastic penalties. Erik Lamkin, 25, is an novice aggressive eater who manages one YouTube account for meals competitions and one other for mukbangs, as a result of sure, there is a distinction.

In a meals problem, Lamkin goals to eat as many energy as potential, which suggests consuming shortly—there is no time for small speak. In his mukbang movies, relegated to a separate channel referred to as The Electrics, Lamkin is chatty, and sometimes movies these movies together with his girlfriend.

Lamkin’s expertise with mukbang has been constructive. “It’s kind of fun for me,” he says. He admits the fixed farting, water retention, and bouts of diarrhea aren’t preferrred, however manages by consuming loads of water and exercising.

One time, after a very sodium-heavy feast, Lamkin might barely transfer on the health club.

“I tried to run on the treadmill and it felt like I had another stomach on me,” he says. “It was horrible.”

Now, he often goes for a motorcycle experience following binges, because it’s simpler.


Courtesy of Erik Lamkin


Courtesy of Erik Lamkin

Lamkin sees his physician each couple of months for blood work to watch the consequences of binging.

“Everything is fine,” he says. “I would be more worried if I were an actual competitive eater that traveled around and did contests every weekend.”

These guys is probably not involved sufficient to retire from YouTube stardom, however ingesting obscene quantities of junk meals as soon as every week doesn’t appear to be a good suggestion–even when your physique is handled like a temple the rest of the time.

“It’s quite a roller coaster to put your body on,” says Dr. Andrew Bates, M.D. and assistant professor of surgical procedure within the Renaissance Faculty of Drugs at Stony Brook College. He explains the repeated cycle of binging and clear consuming might make your system’s biochemical signaling go haywire. “Your body won’t know whether you’re in feast or famine mode,” he says.

Lengthy-term, it’s not clear if this erratic consuming sample can have lasting injury.

“We don’t have the benefit of watching them for years and seeing what happens,” he says.

Bates believes weight problems is the most important menace to those guys. Even mukbang stars who don’t achieve weight might develop points typically present in overweight adults, like problem managing their sugar ranges.

“It would be really hard to reverse that kind of behavior if you’re doing it one or two to three times a week,” he says.

However Gastroenterologist Dr. Samantha Nazareth, M.D., wonders if we should not assume as an alternative concerning the results these movies have on viewers’ well being.

“In a country with increasing amounts of obesity, this is not the correct message to send nor is this something to try at home,” she says.

Perry and Lamkin understand this is a younger man’s recreation—however don’t anticipate both of them to give up so long as the dollars maintain rolling in. The 2 will not disclose how a lot they make every month, nevertheless it’s protected to imagine the figures are vital, particularly contemplating their excessive grocery payments. Perry spends as much as $1,500 a month on meals. One high-profile South Korean mukbang star reportedly rakes in $9,4000 a month, in accordance with Reuters.


Courtesy of Erik Lamkin

“I’ve worked hard at building this audience. I would never throw it away,” Perry asserts.

So long as mukbangs proceed to drive views–and dollars– each guys are fairly set to proceed their on-line feasts for now.

“I still have a few years left in me,” Lamkin believes. He says slicing again can be an choice if blood checks revealed binging was having disastrous results on his fats or levels of cholesterol.

Perry is already brainstorming different attainable YouTube shticks for the day he can not abdomen mukbangs.

“Maybe I’ll document a weight loss journey,” he muses. He additionally toys with the thought of dedicating his channel to wholesome recipes.

Though Perry isn’t fairly clear on plan B, he is adamant about one factor: “I by no means see myself quitting YouTube.”

Melissa Matthews
Well being Author
Melissa Matthews is the well being author at and has written for Newsweek, Males’s Health, Inc.