Why are sumo wrestlers so big? What do they do to get like this? And what can we, and even more, non-paleo people learn from that?
We learn that if you stuff a human as you would a goose or duck slated for foie gras, then NAFLD and the other elements of metabolic syndrome are imminent. (cf. Schiff's Diseases of the Liver, Vol 1).
Umm, if you eat like 20,000 calories a day of chankonabe, beer and white rice, you will get really fat even if you work out a lot. That is what we can learn from sumo wrestlers. And that cuts 20 odd years off your lifespan.
I am skeptical that intentional overfeeding tells us much about why people become obese. Many people say the real question is "why" do people overeat. There is no such question with sumo wrestlers.
According to "What I Eat" by Menzel and D'Alusio (pretty good book btw), the sumo wrestler they encountered (6'2" 400lbs) ate 3500 calories a day.
They list his meals as follows:
Lunch: fried chicken 6.2 oz, chanko nabe stew with pork (2) 1.7 lb, vegetable tempura 2.7 oz, cabbage, egg, and stewed chicken 4.5oz, white rice 14.3oz
Dinner: grilled mackerel 3.5oz, scrambled egg with chives 2.3 oz, tuna, somen noodles, cucumber, onion in broth 1lb, white radish and chicken in broth 7.6oz, miso soup with chives 10.9oz, white rice 15.1oz, white radish 1.8oz, pickled cucumber 1.3oz
Throughout the day: bottled coffee 1.3qt, barley tea 2.1qt, bottled water 1.6gal
Doesn't really make sense to me given how active they are, but that's what they said. I would wager that some calories were unaccounted for or that the observation affected the reported amounts or something.
Japan = a very strange culture. On the one hand, they are early adapters and promoters of technology and are extremely successful traders. On the other hand, Sumos, in 2011, do not train with weights, avail themselves of modern PEDs, nutrition, supplements, compete with non-Japanese, etc.