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10K Calorie Challenge:
Are You Out of Your Mind?

The Internet is full of ridiculous challenges that get millions of views of Youtube. 10000 calorie challenge is one of them. Find out whether this funny challenge might be dangerous and see how you can control your calorie intake in your everyday life.
Many digital influencers will do anything to attract more subscribers, and they often engage in seemingly weird challenges. Some of them are harmless (like the Ice Bucket Challenge), while others are outright dangerous (like eating laundry detergent pods).

What about the 10K Calorie Challenge that involves eating 10,000 calories in a single day?

Before we explain the challenge in more detail, let's dive into some theory first.
a girl sitting at the table and eating pizza, lasagna, burgers and drinking cola as a part of 10000 calorie challenge

Why does calorie intake matter?

Calories are units of energy. If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn, your body stores the extra calories.

The average adult needs around 2,000 calories a day, but the exact number depends on factors like age, sex, weight, and activity levels. You can use an online calorie burn calculator or ask your doctor to find out how many calories you actually need.

Examples of 10,000-calorie challenges

a woman on the kitchen with fruits and vegetables around as an opposite to 10000 calorie challenge
There are people who eat 10,000 calories every day, like Britain's strongest man Eddie Hall or Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps. They need these calories because for them, intense exercise is practically a full-time job.

But for the average person, eating so much food is a real challenge because 10,000 calories is about five times more than their normal caloric intake.

The 10K calorie challenge first became popular in 2015. YouTubers filmed themselves eating crazy amounts of junk food in order to consume 10,000 calories in a single day, and their fans actually loved it. In fact, unlike many other weird online trends, 10K calorie challenges are still popular.

Can a 10K calorie challenge be dangerous?

Theoretically, eating 10,000 calories in a single day can make you gain up to 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) of weight. That's quite a lot, and depending on your age, height, weight, etc., you'd need around 10 hours of intense exercise to burn it off.

Practically, eating so much food is likely to make you feel nauseous and extremely tired. You might even have no appetite for the next day or two.

If you have diabetes or other medical conditions, a 10K calorie challenge can be quite dangerous (ask your doctor if you don't believe us).
a man eating junk food as a part of 10000 calorie challenge

Nine tips on how to control your calorie intake

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, you need to control your calorie intake. Adopt these nine habits to make healthy eating fun and effortless!

1. Cook your own food

Most restaurant meals contain more sugar and fat than you probably think. For example, chefs often make vegetables taste better by pouring melted butter over them. In other words, you never know exactly what your meal is made with unless you cook it yourself.

2. Eat from smaller plates

If you tend to overeat, consider serving your food on smaller plates. They make smaller portions look big and inviting so you don't feel like you're starving yourself.
two girls looking at a large pizza and thinking about 10000 calorie challenge

3. Don't drink calories

Even if you track your food intake, you can easily consume a few hundred calories without even noticing.

Typical servings of popular drinks contain over 100 calories each. Here are a few examples:

  • A glass of orange juice = 110 calories
  • A glass of whole milk = up to 150 calories
  • A glass of cola = 140 calories
  • A Starbucks latte = 190 calories

If you're monitoring your calorie intake closely, consider drinking water and unsweetened tea/coffee instead.

4. Track your calories

If you're serious about controlling your calorie intake, you'll have to track your calories for a few weeks at least.

Food journal apps also help you keep track of your macronutrient intake, that is, the amount of fats, carbs, and protein in your diet.

Why should you care about your macro intake? Well, 2,000 calories of cake are just not the same as 2,000 calories of veggies, fruit, grains, and healthy fats.

5. Remove tempting food from your house

"Out of sight, out of mind" is a saying that applies to food as well. You can't eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting if you don't have chips at home.

Ideally, eliminate all tempting foods from your fridge and your pantry. This can be tricky if other household members don't want to give them up, though.

6. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol doesn't only contain calories; it encourages you to eat more food. This is one of the reasons why people tend to overeat at parties.

But … isn't red wine good for heart health? Well, the antioxidants in red wine come from grapes, not alcohol. Of course, a glass of wine from time to time won't hurt most people, but it's still a better idea to eat more grapes and other fruits instead.
a girl looking at product info in the supermarket to participate in 10000 calorie challenge

7. Have healthy snacks

Popular snack foods have been specifically designed to be mildly addictive. Snack manufacturers have researched specific ratios of fat, salt, and sugar that activate the brain's pleasure centers and make us crave this particular food.

An occasional cookie won't do any harm, but consider replacing most of your snacks with healthier options like nuts, fruit, yogurt, and crunchy veggies. They are fun to eat while providing you with vitamins, protein, and fiber (a substance that your digestive system needs to work properly).

8. Exercise more

As we've already mentioned, the key to managing your weight is balancing calorie intake and calorie expenditure.

But exercise has more benefits than simply burning calories.

First, strength training helps your body make good use of carbs. Your body can either use carbs as fuel or store them as fat, and you probably prefer the first option.

Second, it breaks down your body's fat stores. Fat is your body's preferred fuel for low- to medium-intensity activities.

Third, it helps you maintain muscle mass when losing weight. Otherwise, you risk losing muscle along with fat. This can make you weaker and more fragile, as well as slow down your metabolism.

Last but not least, exercise helps you overcome depression and anxiety. These mental health issues are known to mess with your appetite, making you overeat or binge on junk food. Of course, if exercising alone doesn't help, talk to a mental health professional who can suggest more treatment options!

You don't have to go overboard with exercise and try to burn 1,000 calories a day. Start with short but regular exercise sessions. You'll be amazed by how effective they can be!

9. Eliminate distractions while eating

Do you watch TV or use your phone while eating? Well, we've got bad news for you: Scientists have found that getting distracted during a meal makes you overeat.

The reason is quite simple. Your body knows when you've had enough food and signals you to stop eating. But when you're distracted, it's harder to notice these signals.

Here are some eating habits that will make your meals more mindful:

  • Turn off the TV and don't use your phone during meals.
  • Put your fork down between bites.
  • When eating, take some time to enjoy the flavor and texture of each bite.
Building mindful eating habits can take some time, but your body will thank you for the effort!


The 10,000-calorie challenge is pretty strange and definitely not healthy (unless you're a pro athlete). But monitoring your calorie intake is always a good idea, and sticking to a few healthy habits can do wonders for your body.


  1. https://habio.app/5-habits-to-help-you-eat-healthily
  2. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/407/hot?parent=%2Fdrinks%2Fhot-coffees%2Flattes
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-38562048
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-red-wine-good-actually-for-your-heart-2018021913285
  5. https://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/01/health/salt-sugar-fat-moss-time/index.html
  6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
  8. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
  9. https://www.mindful.org/6-ways-practice-mindful-eating/
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