US college student helps pay tuition by eating

(AP)

Eric Dahl

A U.S. university student is eating his way through school ?competitively.

Computer engineering student Eric Dahl now ranks third in the world of competitive eating as determined by All Pro Eating rankings. Dahl has earned more than $18,000 in prize money or merchandise to help pay for his education.

“I’m eating for my education,” he said. “It helps me get through.”

Dahl was drawn to competitive eating in 2011, at a steakhouse in Wisconsin. Dahl didn’t want to pay for his meal so he signed up for a challenge: eat a 3-pound (1.3-kilogram) cheesesteak sandwich in less than 10 minutes and skip the bill. He finished in 5 minutes, 50 seconds.

“It just started rolling from there,” he said.

The former athlete finds the competition and its over-the-top atmosphere reminiscent of professional wrestling.

“I really get pumped when the crowd starts cheering,” he said. “I’m friends with other competitive eaters, but once I’m on stage I don’t have any friends.”

Dahl said he walks a few miles a day, lifts weights twice a week and plays soccer and hockey to maintain his 220-pound (99-kilogram) weight. The State Journal reports that he eats no more than 3,100 calories a day, mostly vegetables to avoid increasing his waistline, and stretches his stomach by eating 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of cabbage or broccoli in a single sitting followed by a lot of water.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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