The Fourth of July brings fireworks, picnics, and Joey Chestnut to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest At Coney Island. The hot dogs will be stuffed into the contestants’ mouths and swallowed at such a fast rate that many spectators at home and in the audience might feel a bit nauseated just watching.
While it may cause stomach churning in the stomachs of the spectators, most of the competitive eaters don’t vomit what they’ve eaten, they wait for it to all come out in the end. According to USA Today, there’s not much information about what happens on the throne when the eating contest is over, but gastroenterologist J. Sumner Bell has an educated guess. Then there are the descriptions from the contestants themselves, all of whom have very different experiences.
Bell, who is an expert for the American Gastroenterological Association, suggests that if vomiting isn’t induced, the stomach contents may take a long time to be voided. The average bowel movement occurs 24 hours after a person has eaten food.
It takes that long for the stomach contents to move from the stomach and through the intestines before it becomes the product of a bowel movement. Since not much is written about what a competitive eater’s bowel movement experience is like after loading up in a contest, it seems a few years back, someone decided to just ask the competitors themselves.
Nathan's Hotdog Eating Contest: By The Numbers - How much do you really know about the Nathan's Hotdog Eating C... https://t.co/r1plcivgXj— MediaSyndicate (@MediaSyndicate) June 30, 2017
About five years ago, a writer from Dead Spin set out to get the answers to the questions people just don’t come right out and ask. How do competitive eaters void all that extra food from their body? He decided to go to one of the more famous eating contests, where he’d have an abundance of people to ask. That, of course, was Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, which has been held every year since 1916.
Issac Rauch wrote that he was “trying to answer the only question on anybody’s mind at Nathan’s.” The line of questioning started by asking the contestants how they get the “contest out of your system.”
Plenty has been written about how the competitors trick their stomachs into not feeling full, tricks to get the food to go down fast, mind over matter when eating in a competitive eating contest, and even turning the bun at a certain angle for an easier approach to the mouth. Nothing is offered about the aftermath of all this food and how it leaves the body.
The one person able to answer that question would, of course, be Joey Chesnut, who ate 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes to become the 2016 champion and record holder of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. He is a bit of an icon at this contest, winning the contest in 2007, and every year after until 2015, when he lost to Matthew Stonie. But Joey “Jaws” Chestnut came back in 2016 to win again. He is now the men’s record holder with 70 hot dogs consumed last year. No other female has come close to Sonya Thomas, who was the winner in the woman’s division in 2012 with 45 hot dogs consumed. To date, the most number of hot dogs to be consumed by another female contestant besides Sonya is 38.
When Rauch started his quest to find out about getting rid of the stomach contents after an eating contest, the first thing he learned is that none of the competitors he talked would vomit what they consumed. They waited for nature to take its course.
He asked Micah “Wing Kong” Collins, who is ranked 13th in the world by Major League Eating. He said that he would probably take a good 10 to 15 minutes on the toilet, evacuating the hot dogs he just ate. He also said that the evacuation would be ready to start in about three hours from the time the contest was over.
When Lee Vilinsky was asked about the bowel movement he was expecting after the contest, he couldn’t give a timeline, but he did offer up that he’d consider it “not pretty.” Then there was the competitor who stuffed his face with hot dogs while donning a speedo. Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti first joked about porta-potties out back exploding.
But what Rauch learned is that those porta potties would probably go unused by the contestants for the purpose of expelling the hot dogs they just ate. It would take a while and that meant the big bowel movement after this contest would most likely happen when they returned home. He couldn’t “predict the size or intensity” of his bowel movement, but he could estimate that it would happen in about eight hours.
When asked what he expected for a bowel movement after he stuffed all those hot dogs, Tim “Eater X” Janus could only say, “You gotta live with the consequences of your actions.” Then there was Joey Chestnut, who has won all but one contest in the last decade. His answer was probably the most graphic, while still leaving a lot to the imagination.
When the writer confronted Joey Chesnut about what he expected to happen while in the bathroom after winning the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, he had a picturesque answer. The writer asked, “Mr. Chestnut, what will your next bowel movement be like?” It seems Chestnut thought for a moment and then with a look and pose of confidence, he said, “Picture-worthy.”
[Featured Image by Stephen Chernin/AP Images]