The regular guy went first, and stopped after seven dogs... Using fluoroscopy, an x-ray that gives a real-time view of what’s going on inside the body, the doctors saw what you’d expect: His stomach was indeed full of hot dogs and hadn’t stretched much from its original size.
Then they looked at the competitive eater. First, they noticed that his empty stomach showed virtually no peristalsis, the normal squeezing motion that helps the stomach break down food. He started eating hot dogs and his stomach got bigger and bigger. Ten minutes in, he’d eaten 36 dogs. He said he didn’t feel full, but the researchers told him they’d seen enough.
“His stomach now appeared as a massively distended, foodfilled sac occupying most of the upper abdomen, with little or no gastric peristalsis,” they wrote in their paper. Levine said the stomach was like no healthy stomach he’d seen in his 30-year career. He compared it to a “giant balloon that looks like it has no limit.” The eater’s previously flat belly swelled out as if he were pregnant.
The stomachs of champion eaters
Neurocritic writes about research on the physiology of being a champion eater. One paper in the American Journal of Roentgenology describes the physical differences between a champion eater and a normal person: