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What if you really ate 50 eggs like in 'Cool Hand Luke'?

        Science | What If

Eating 50 eggs in less than an hour is possible, but not everyone can stomach it like Cool Hand Luke.
Eating 50 eggs in less than an hour is possible, but not everyone can stomach it like Cool Hand Luke.
© Sean De Burca/Corbis

The 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke," starring Paul Newman, is a classic. In this jailhouse film, Newman plays Lucas "Cool Hand Luke" Jackson, a sort of antihero who constantly challenges authority and never steps down from a fight or a bet. The most famous bet in "Cool Hand Luke" is the one about 50 eggs.

For the uninitiated, the bet happens when Cool Hand Luke brags to his fellow inmates that he can eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour. His boast is met with one of the more famous lines in the movie: "Nobody can eat 50 eggs." The inmates bet him all their money that he can't do it (and he's not allowed to throw up, either). But Cool Hand Luke manages to pull it off, finishing all 50 eggs (about six pounds!) just under the one-hour deadline. Although our guy wins, it's not a pleasant scene to watch.

This got us wondering. What would happen if you ate 50 eggs? Would your stomach explode? Would you vomit? Worse?

Let's get this out of the way first: You can eat 50 eggs. And you can do it in less than an hour. You probably shouldn't, but it's possible. Competitive eater Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating hard-boiled eggs. Chestnut put Cool Hand Luke to shame, too, by devouring 141 eggs in eight minutes in October 2013 [source: MLE].

But what happens to a noncompetitive-eating body if you shove it full of 50 eggs? Fifty hard-boiled eggs, as we stated before, is about six pounds of eggs. A typical human stomach can actually hold all those eggs, as demonstrated in an episode of the Food Network's "Food Detectives." Of course, 50 eggs are also about 3,850 calories, so you'd feel pretty full afterward [source: YouTube].

Your digestive system will certainly take a hit. First, you'll need to produce a lot of saliva to eat that many eggs, or you'll need a lot of water on hand. Then, once your stomach is stretched to its limits, your gastric glands will start secreting acids to break down the eggs. The acids move into the intestines slowly, so count on the eggs remaining in your stomach for a good three and a half hours. The ingested food will then hang out in your large intestine for about 36 hours. That means 36 hours of probable gastric distress, resulting in possibly the worst hydrogen sulfide gas you've ever experienced.

FYI, hydrogen sulfide gas is also known as "farts." Enjoy!

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