A Sumo wrestlers diet

Sumo wrestler diet
A healthy man is thought to have a BMI (Body mass index) of 18. The BMI of a professional sumo wrestler is rarely found to be below 45. The sumo wrestlers diet and lifestyle is the key to this exceptionally large weight and despite the general opinion of most people, this is acheived through very rigorous eating and sleeping strategies rather than a mass endulgence in foods with high fat content.

Sumo wrestlers dietEating the largest meal close to sleeping

The average daily intake of calories for a man is 3000-3500. A sumo wrestler consumes 20,000 calories a day, split between two very large meals of 10,000 calories each. By sleeping after a meal of 10,000 calories a sumo wrestlers body is able to process them slowly for storage (as fat).


Skipping breakfast

This may seem illogical in respect to gaining weight, however according to Dr. Wayne Callaway, obesity specialist at George Washington University, skipping breakfast can not only trigger overeating later in the day but can also cause a drop in metabolism. It was found in research that people who don't have breakfast, like sumo wrestlers, have a five-percent lower metabolism than those who don't skip breakfast. This is because by comsuming calories, our body uses more energy to digest and absorb the food.


Drinking beer with meals

With some beers containing over 200 calories per pint, consuming it with food helps sumo wrestlers to  gain even more calories. Sumo wrestlers will easily consume 6 pints of beer per meal. Alcholic drinks are known to be 'empty calories', meaning that they have absolutely no nutritional value except for providing energy, which means that it will be stored as fat.


Exercising on an empty stomach

Although exercise does increase metabolism, exercising on an empty stomach will infact lower your metabolic rate in the long term. This is because your body tries to conserve as much fuel as possible by rationing what's available.


Have a sociable meal

Researchers have found that by eating with others and socializing we tend to consume more food because it takes us longer to get full. As sumo wrestlers are literally stuffing their stomachs to their limit with each meal, the more food and calories they intake, the more fat will be stored.


Having a nap after lunch

Sumo wrestlers commonly sleep for four hours immediately after lunch. As mentioned, this allows more of the calories to be taken on and stored as fat in the body rather than being used as energy.


To give a feel for the number of calories that are mentioned in this article, there are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of body fat - equivalent to around 10 hours of walking.

So how does a sumo wrestler comsume 20,000 calories a day?

All sumo wrestlers eat a Japanese dish called Chanko-nabe. This is a type of stew and contains large quantities of protein sources such as chicken, fish and tofu as well as masses of vegatable and vegetable which contain huge amounts of calories.

Unfortunately the average life expectancy of a sumo wrestler is between 60-65 years old (some 10 years younger than than the average Japanese male). This is mainly down to their lifestyle causing illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, arthritus and high blood pressure.

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karen's picture

20,000 calories a day! Their stomachs must be huge. Nice article by the way.
TedBrooks's picture

That's some serious eating.
Kevin Zhang's picture

Well explained. Most people think Sumos are naturally massive, although they may be naturally bigger than most people, they would never get to this size without this extreme lifestyle.
Varekai22's picture

just reading this makes me want to go run 10 miles. Who knew it took so much discipline to be fat?
Chaleira's picture

Very interesting, and some really good info!
amberu's picture

These guys have a very special diet , all protein, I mean they may be very fat but they have huge muscles underneath all that I tried a HCG diet like that once and gained a huge amount of muscles , but had to work out a lot after it to loose the extra weight.
baksion's picture

my uncle can do that twice a day
neo's picture

In some snacks, the food may be baked instead of fried thus reducing the calories. In other cases, low fat ingredients may be used as replacements.
zeephyyr's picture

A BMI of 18 is not of a healthy man. Between 16 and 18.5 is considered underweight. Even professional marathon runners usually are above 18.5. For instance, WR holder Haile Gebrselassie's height is 1.65 m (5 ft. 5 in.) and his weight is 56 kg (123 lb.), therefore, his BMI is 20.57, by far higher than 18. No sumo wrestler could possibly eat 20000 kilocalories a day as a regular bases, a caloric intake equivalent to more than 2.2 liters of oil or other fats, or 2.79 kg of butter per day. Instead, the daily caloric intake of sumo wrestlers is between 5000 and 7000 kilocalories a day (Nishizawa et al. 1976, Matsuzawa 1997). References: Matsuzawa Y. Pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms of visceral fat syndrome: the Japanese experience. Diabetes Metab Rev (1997) vol. 13 (1) pp. 3-13 Nishizawa T. et al. Some factors related to obesity in the Japanese sumo wrestler. Am J Clin Nutr (1976) vol. 29 (10) pp. 1167-74
Samurai's picture

Just shared this on facebook. Nice work!
payal's picture

Weight loss typically involves the loss of fat, water and muscle. Overweight people, or people suffering from obesity, typically aim to reduce the percentage of body fat. Additionally, as muscle tissue is denser than fat.
MindyHicks's picture

Interesting article! I'm currently looking for ways to reduce my weight though... not gain!
hjajhjh's picture

A balanced diet comprising of diverse and healthy foods is key to promoting good health. After all, we are what we eat - Research continues to prove that eating healthy food promotes good health and unhealthy food habits lead to a diseased body.
kaney2024's picture

Internationally recognized weight loss expert Dr. Edward F. Group, III evalutes some of the most common diets people are using.
quereegen's picture

Astonishing description.Brilliant estimation has made here about a Sumo wrestler's consumption of calories per day and their dieting procedures with actual capability of a sumo wrestler on foods with high fat content which was truly a suckable concept for me.
Josh Edwards's picture

How could anyone eat 20,000cals per day lol
decker dude's picture

Thats a serious amount of calories there!
Karate Kitty's picture

Really? Very interesting article! Who would have thought that Sumo Wrestlers actually followed a specific diet! I thought they just ate and ate and ate, everything and anything. Wow, they don't live long either. It is a crazy amount of calories they consume everyday, yoh. Enjoyed the informative read.
Theev's picture

That is a mind-blowing amount of calories! I'm currently trying to gain a bit of weight to support strength gain in weightlifting, but even getting to 4k daily takes a lot of work. I have to eat any time I'm not full. My diet is much much lower in fat, I'm sure, and I cannot imagine eating 10k calories in a single sitting. And 6 pints of beer daily? Talk about building a tolerance!
faheem40's picture

If that's what it takes to compete in that arena, then keep the food coming!!
the sumo boy's picture

all of this is very true and we eat a lot of whats known chanko
Rambo's picture

wow really interesting article!!! now I came to know that they also have to consume large calorie containing food
jitsufun's picture

A very interesting article and true as to what sumo wrestlers eat while training.. I was in Sapporo, Japan 20 years ago from the age 16-21 and started my health kick by jogging 5-10 kms a day since the sun rises at 4am and nobody's around. I would train on the playgrounds and run along the river till I got to Nakajima park where I would watch the younger Sumos practice. They seemed to be a little apprehensive of my gawking and each day I sat farther away and it made them more comfortable. They had big tents to stay in, a huge pot of food was made everyday and I could see stacks of beer cases outside of their tents. I was really impressed coming from a small island near Vancouver, Canada and next door to them was a rec center where I joined in their Jujitsu classes bi-weekly for 5 years. My teacher was 5 feet high, maybe 100 pounds and to me was Yoda. My training partner was a huge American man, maybe 6,8 and 350 pounds with huge bone structure but very kind. At the end of each lesson our Sensei let 6 of us attack him at once whilst sitting on the floor in the middle of our circle. In short of a few seconds we were in a big dog pile with our arms and legs intertwined and stuck. We were screaming in pain till others could unlocked us. I've only used my martial arts as a defense in mugging or breaking up fights.. No one has attempted to fight clean with me in the bars or parties in the old days because of my confidence or the fact I'm half Japansese.. but 3-5 guys didn't scare me.. Thank you Sumo wrestlers and Sensei for getting me strong heart and drive. I also met the grand champion Konishiki as he married a local girl there and he was really BIG!! Like a mountain..