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Fat for fame: Social media stars sacrifice their health and waistlines for clicks and money

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The camera opens on a square table laden with McDonald’s items. Fries, chicken nuggets, and burgers fill the screen in what can only be described as a smorgasbord of fast food. 

A bigger-than-life host appears wearing a respiration tube meant to help in poor sleep – an indication of drastic weight gain – before gorging himself for over 40 emotionally-turbulent minutes, by which he has a breakdown about surpassing 400lbs and pins his anxiety on the quantity of fried chicken that he eats. 

Nicholas Perry – higher generally known as Nikocado Avocado to his 3.5millon YouTube followers – is a web sensation from Pennsylvania who has turn out to be a multi-millionaire by filming himself binge-eating ungodly amounts of food and documenting his weight-gain journey.

Mr Perry, 30, has come a great distance since his first video disavowing veganism in 2016, when he appeared youthful, svelte and jovial. Fast forward seven years – and 150lbs later – he’s a really different person.

Nikocado Avocado has filmed himself eating 1000’s of calories of fast food in popular ‘mukbang’ videos. In several, he’s seen wearing a respiration mask meant to assist extremely obese people sleep through the night without snoring

He started out in 2016 with mukbangs of a different nature - more tame serving sizes often times accompanied with his pet parrot

He started off in 2016 with mukbangs of a unique nature – more tame serving sizes often times accompanied together with his pet parrot

Nicholas Perry, 30, has become wildly popular online in part for his explosive behavior for the camera

Nicholas Perry, 30, has turn out to be wildly popular online partly for his explosive behavior for the camera 

Mr Perry, who started off a devout vegan, has grown increasingly extreme and eccentric over his profession as a web personality. 

While he began filming himself consuming hefty portions of ramen or a stack of pancakes at IHOP in 2017, he now often eats in excess of 10,000 calories in front of the camera in videos with such titles as ‘I hate myself, Goodbye YouTube & life’ and ‘Celebrating Our 700 Pound Milestone.’ 

But it surely will not be only the quantity of food Mr Perry consumes that has modified. His behavior has also turn out to be increasingly erratic. In a single video entitled ‘no one likes me, I’m done,’ he’s seen sobbing while shaving his hair off right into a plate of eggs. 

In one other video, Mr Perry movies himself smearing Cheetos-colored ramen noodles throughout his face, while in others he’s seen having screaming matches together with his now-ex-husband Orlin. 

However the emotional turbulence has paid off. His net value is reportedly $7 million, a staggering sum that landed him a $2.3 million penthouse in Las Vegas.

Mr Perry has confronted some health consequences due to his dangerous lifestyle. In several videos, he’s wearing a sort of ventilator called a BiPAP machine that very obese people have to help them breathe as they sleep. 

He has also complained of blurry vision, pain in his abdominal and testicular areas, erectile dysfunction and frequent diarrhea.

Still, Mr Perry has not voiced any plans to reverse course in an effort to revive his good health. As an alternative, Nikocado Avocado has anxious users and medical professionals who know full well what could occur to him if he doesn’t drastically improve his health. 

TikTok star Waffler69, real name Taylor LeJeune, who gained web fame for eating bizarre and sometimes expired foods, died of a suspected heart attack last week.

LeJeune boasted 1.7million followers on the platform where he posted quirky videos of himself trying watermelon-flavored toast and promotional Addams Family cereal from the 90s, amongst other suspect food selections. 

TikTok star Waffler69 has died from a suspected heart attack aged 33 (pictured in his final video)

TikTok star Waffler69 has died from a suspected heart attack aged 33 (pictured in his final video)

Waffler69 began experiencing discomfort at home and called his mother, before ringing for an ambulance to take him to a hospital  where he later died

Waffler69 began experiencing discomfort at home and called his mother, before ringing for an ambulance to take him to a hospital  where he later died

Taylor's father and grandfather 'suffered from genetic heart problems' which exacerbated his exisiting health issues

Taylor’s father and grandfather ‘suffered from genetic heart problems’ which exacerbated his exisiting health issues

He was celebrated for his enthusiasm in sharing his eccentric food finds, equivalent to an enormous Fruit Loop or a canned cheeseburger.  LeJeune’s brother said Taylor died of a ‘presumed heart attack.’

All these videos are called mukbangs, a South Korean phenomenon that exploded in popularity within the US in 2015. 

A ‘mukbang’ is a portmanteau of the South Korean words ‘eating’ (‘meokneun’) and ‘broadcast’ (‘bangsong’).  Within the videos, users display a mammoth amount of food in front of them and chow down while the camera rolls.

It should come as no surprise that medical professionals are anxious concerning the trend.

Dr Zak Uddin, a general medicine practitioner from the UK told DailyMail.com: ‘We are usually not on the door of an obesity epidemic, we’re well within the epidemic. 

‘For us to be due to this fact glamorizing vast calorific consumption and even binge eating is crazy isn’t it? You’re normalizing the abnormal.’

‘As a society, we benefit from the abnormal or the obscene. This isn’t a recent thing. If it’s a freak show, people will gravitate towards it.’ 

A sweeping 2020 evaluation of various reports detailing why persons are drawn to mukbang videos concluded that many feel emotionally connected as they watch people eat and check with the camera.

But for the more extreme and grotesque videos, experts warn individuals with eating disorders may watch them to satisfy a fantasy or fetishists for sexual reasons. 

Dr Andrew Harris, a psychologist at Nottingham Trent University and co-author of the 2020 evaluation told DailyMail.com: ‘It is straightforward to see how this trend of watching others eat can move West once we consider that there’s arguably nothing more relatable than food consumption and our love of food. Mukbang due to this fact transcends culture.’

In this video from Summer 2022, Mr Perry is celebrating his '400 Pound Milestone' with food from the Cheesecake Factory

On this video from Summer 2022, Mr Perry is celebrating his ‘400 Pound Milestone’ with food from the Cheesecake Factory

Mukbangs typically involve large portions of less-than-healthy foods including ramen and fast food

Mukbangs typically involve large portions of less-than-healthy foods including ramen and fast food

Dr Harris added: ‘There are after all further negative consequences related to Mukbang, equivalent to excessive food consumption and weight gain as a consequence of social comparison and mimicking, in addition to creating altered perceptions of food portioning, healthy eating, and the glorification of binge eating behaviour.’ 

The varieties of mukbang videos differ geographically, in accordance with Dr Harris, who said content creators in Korea are more occupied with highlighting the foods in front of them slightly than their personal lives.  

Dr Harris said: ‘Western versions appear to shift the deal with to the content creators themselves. 

‘The West appears to have brought a contest or “food challenge” element to the concept, not too dissimilar to those seen in popular TV shows equivalent to Man Versus Food.’ 

Watching a mukbang video can feel like catching up with an old friend, even when that old friend lives across the country and is eating a mountain of KFC in comparison with your turkey sandwich. 

A few of the videos are designed to feel like a gathering with friends. Nikocado Avocado often appears alongside fellow mukbanger Hungry Fat Chick, or Candy Godiva, who has turn out to be a fixture within the mukbang video scene with greater than 261,000 YouTube subscribers. Her net value hovers around $1 million.

A 2017 report on the topic said: ‘One possible motivation of mukbang viewers was that they were forming a sort of viewing community via interacting and communicating with one another on a standard interest, which promoted elevated feelings of delight and belonging.’ 

But an innocuous want for companionship over dinner has the potential to send viewers down a dangerous path of physical and emotional unwellness.

The surplus depicted within the videos is treacherous for individuals with a history of disordered eating, which has turn out to be more common in recent a long time, especially together with obesity.

Mental health experts fear that the videos glorify binge eating, a disordered eating practice by which an individual loses control and eats with abandon. 

The 2020 evaluation of mukbang studies said: ‘Since individuals eat with their eyes, seeing someone bingeing on these unhealthy foods could trigger a response within the viewers because it would cause viewers perceive bingeing as a standard behaviour.’ 

The full prevalence of lifetime eating disorders amongst U.S. adults is reported to be about two percent and young adults seem like more liable to disordered eating in comparison with their older counterparts. 

And while young women account for the vast majority of individuals with anorexia and bulimia nervosa, men and women are almost equally in danger for having binge eating disorder.

Watching the videos could have an especially deleterious effect on an already unstable person. 

A 2020 report from Swedish psychiatrists found that while many viewers of the mukbangs with a history of binge eating feel more capable of stave off a binge, one other large share ‘attest to how watching mukbang videos may trigger them to relapse into loss-of-control eating.’

Nikocado Avocado is pictured above with popular YouTuber Hungry Fat Chick, or Candy Godiva, who has become a fixture in the mukbang video scene with more than 261,000 YouTube subscribers. Her net worth hovers around $1 million

Nikocado Avocado is pictured above with popular YouTuber Hungry Fat Chick, or Candy Godiva, who has turn out to be a fixture within the mukbang video scene with greater than 261,000 YouTube subscribers. Her net value hovers around $1 million

During mukbangs, video makers chat with viewers while they eat, simulating a conversation that one might have around the table at meal times

During mukbangs, video makers chat with viewers while they eat, simulating a conversation that one may need across the table at meal times 

Mukbangs exploded in popularity around 2015 within the US, which is within the grips of an obesity crisis that has only worsened up to now few a long time. In truth, worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975.

Nearly 43 percent of American adults are obese and, per federal 2021 data, greater than seven in 10 U.S. adults aged 20 and older are either obese or obese.

Obesity is a posh disease that’s influenced by outside aspects equivalent to the frequency at which an individual exercises and their socioeconomic status. 

But doctors are increasingly treating it as a physiological disease that has roots in an individual’s genetics. In most obese people, no single genetic cause may be identified.

Though since 2006, genome-wide association studies have identified greater than 50 different genes related to obesity.

Despite the condition’s strong roots in genetics, poor food plan and lack of exercise can do loads of damage in a brief window of time.

A seek for mukbangs on Youtube will generate 1000’s of results. The trend has shown no signs of ebbing and public appetite for mukbang videos stays strong, despite the severely negative effects on their stars’ health. 

Nikocado Avocado claimed to have purchased a Las Vegas apartment in 2021 for more than $2 million

Nikocado Avocado claimed to have purchased a Las Vegas apartment in 2021 for greater than $2 million

Public records do not reflect a purchase of a Las Vegas penthouse apartment, per an investigation by DailyMail.com

Public records don’t reflect a purchase order of a Las Vegas penthouse apartment, per an investigation by DailyMail.com 

Mr Perry has also bragged about other real estate deals in the past, including for a $3 million home in Hawaii.

Mr Perry has also bragged about other real estate deals up to now, including for a $3 million home in Hawaii. 

Mr Perry has publicly announced in Spring 2021 that he purchased a penthouse apartment in Las Vegas for $2.3 million. DailyMail.com couldn’t confirm the acquisition in public records. 

This will not be the primary time Mr Perry has shared photos of his home online. Other videos of his show that Nikocado Avocado has also purchased homes in Los Angeles and Hawaii for $1.17 million and $2.98 million respectively.   

DailyMail.com reached out to Nicholas Perry for comment ahead of publication. 

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