Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut downed a record 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Here's the science behind how he does it.

AP Photo/John MinchilloLeft: Competitive eater Joey Chestnut set a new world record at the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. Right: Chestnut and Miki Sudo pose for a photograph after winning their respective divisions with new world records, Saturday, July 4, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Joey Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes on July 4, 2020, setting a new record.
  • Miki Sudo also defended her title in the women’s hot dog competition, downing 48.5 dogs for her seventh win.
  • Scientists have studied the bodies of competitive eaters like Chestnut and Sudo, and found that their stomachs don’t contract normally.
  • Competitive eaters can relax their stomachs to hold more food, but the sport can take a toll on normal kidney, liver, and heart functioning.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joey Chestnut has done it again: The 36-year-old competitive eater downed 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, beating his own previous record of 74.

That’s a mind-boggling average of 7.5 wieners and buns every minute – more than 1 hot dog every 10 seconds.

In the women’s competition, Miki Sudo successfully defended her 2019 title, swallowing 48.5 hot dogs to win her seventh victory. Sudo inhaled an extra 17.5 hot dogs, compared to the 31 she ate for the title last year, easily besting all her competitors – by eating just as many hot dogs as the four runners-up combined.

The competition was held without an audience this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and included plenty of masks, gloves, plexiglass partitions, and social distancing measures.

Nathan's hot dog coronavirus 2020AP Photo/John MinchilloCompetitive eater Joey Chestnut set a new world record with 75 hot dogs to win the men’s division of the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest, Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Brooklyn, New York.

Many hot-dog contest victors dunk their buns in water before they eat them, and some competitive eaters even “jump around and wiggle their bodies” as they inhale dogs, Nathan’s website says.

“They’re trying to encourage the food to slide easily down the esophagus and settle compactly in their stomachs,” the site adds.

Defending champions joey chestnut and miki sudo nathan's hot dog contestEvan Agostini/Invision/APDefending men’s champion Joey Chestnut, left, and defending women’s champion Miki Sudo, right, both won again at Nathan’s Famous international Fourth of July hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019.

It’s hard for those of us who don’t see eating as a competitive sport to understand how the human body can perform such a feat (and manage to keep all the food down). But scientists have figured out a few key factors that allow a person’s stomach to do the job.

A 2007 study published in The Journal of Roentgenology compared the body of Tim Janus, a competitive speed-eating champion who could consume 36 hot dogs in 10 minutes, to a non-competitive eater with a healthy appetite. Each man was given 12 minutes to chow down on as many hot dogs as they could.

The researchers found that during the competition, Janus’ stomach stretched and distended, but it didn’t contract at all. The “normal” eater’s stomach performed in a near opposite fashion: he wasn’t able to stretch his stomach as much, and it did contract. Stomach contractions are important because they help break down food in the body for digestion.

That was just one of a host of abnormalities that has been observed in competitive eaters. Here’s how the sport can affect the body, from your brain to your bloodstream:

What competitive eating does to your body full screen“Competitive Speed Eating: Truth and Consequences,” American Journal of Roentgenology (2007); Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Update: This post was originally published on July 5, 2018. Molly Sequin contributed to an earlier version.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.