For one thing I'm assuming that participants have to sign some kind of consent form "if I die the producers aren't liable" etc.. Obviously for most of them there is no reason why they couldn't be real, eating cockroaches, slugs and worms is at most just disgusting but won't hurt you. Some of the raw meat they eat looks like it's been soaked in disinfectant or something and raw meat isn't usually going to hurt you anyways as long as it's been carefully butchered. Some of the "rotting" stuff they eat though seems more staged. One would think that easting rotting seafood and maggot infested meat would put you in danger of contracting food poisoning. But the real kicker is that on one show they said that one of the dishes was 1000 year old eggs. Now aside from the insanity of that statement there really is such a thing as "1000 year old eggs" well actually that's the Chinese name for salted duck eggs: Recipe http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/asia/chinese/thousand-year-old-eggs1.html Photo: http://www.foodsubs.com/Photos/saltedduckeggs.jpg And this was exactly what they were eating too. Having a lot of trouble eating too, never mind the fact that it's a common side dish with congee. So if that's fake why not a lot of the rest. Though the eating of the insects I'm sure is true.