Wednesday, April 9, 2008

German man suffering from incurable hunger

A German has been dubbed "the man with the bottomless stomach" as he binges on over 12,000 calories a day without gaining an ounce in weight.

Heinz Asthoff was struck with an incurable hunger following the death of his wife 22 years ago.

His incredible ability to eat endlessly without getting fat has been the subject of scientific studies and a TV program in his homeland.

On any given day he will eat a 2.2lb chunk of leberkase meat loaf, 5lb of potatoes, a dozen eggs, a pint of mayonnaise, pizzas, chips and sometimes as many as 20 meat patties.

He has even been advised by his doctors not to give up his 40-a-day smoking habit because he would eat more.

The trouble is that Heinz, 68, from Offenbach, is spending more on food than he has pension money. "Something has to give," he said.

"Nothing I eat makes me satisfied and I don’t put weight on.

"I can't eat out anymore. Last time I went to a pub I ordered a potato pancake and ended up eating 100 of them. I can't afford it."

He is nearly six feet tall and weighs 15 stone. "My doctors say my stomach is like the mine I worked down for 36 years – black and bottomless," he said.

Doctors confess that they have no idea why his metabolism demands so much food.

After eating a 2lb chunk of meat he is hungry again 15 minutes later but tries to slow down his eating by smoking more.

He lost his devoted wife, Minna, 22 years ago to cancer – the event, he says, which triggered his bizarre eating syndrome.

"But I really started eating in a crazy way about 14 years ago," he said.

"Nothing satisfies me, nothing. I never feel full."

His doctor Henning Huesch said: "He does not have especially high cholesterol, is not physically ill through eating, but it clearly addicted to it."

Mr Asthoff is to undergo more tests at a university clinic near his home next month.

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