Any Way You Slice It, You, Too, Can Stomach A Pizza-Eating Competition

Competitive eating has taken the world by storm. Competitors wow audiences by eating large quantities of food in a short amount of time. Whoever eats the most--and keeps it down--wins the competition.

Pizza eating competitions are among the most popular competitive eating events. If you are an aspiring pizza eating champion, you need to plan well in advance of your scheduled event.

A Look at the Stomach of a Competitive Eater

Competitive eaters are not born on the day of the competition. The best competitive eaters have distended stomachs that can expand much more than the stomachs of "civilians." They also overcome the "satiety reflex," which is the message that the stomach nerves send to the brain to tell it that enough is enough. The stomach of a champion competitive eater does not contract often, so food slides through quicker since the digestive process is not as thorough.

Training for a Competitive Eating Competition

To join the ranks of successful competitive eaters, you need to train your body to accept large quantities of food. Because you can easily consume several days' worth of calories in a mere ten minutes, you need to train wisely so your health does not suffer.

Many competitive eaters elect to use foods that are low in calories and high in water content, like watermelon. Cabbage is another good choice because it has the additional benefit of releasing stomach-extending gas. Practicing with these foods will train your stomach to expand without overloading your system with calories and sodium. It also trains your mouth to chew fast--something you need to master to keep up.

Practice with pizza before your big event as well. Eating pizza is much different than eating watermelon or cabbage, so you need to know what to expect before the big day. Have your "dress rehearsal" at least a week before the competition, however, so that no lingering pizza takes up space.

The Big Binge

The effects of your training will not be permanent. You need to stretch your stomach and completely empty it in the days preceding your competition. The best way to do this is by eating a large quantity of water-based, low-sodium food the night before your event. Then, on the morning of your competition, drink a lot of liquid to keep your stomach prepped. Leave yourself enough time to pass the liquid out of your system, however, so that you are not full.

Tips for the Big Event

Once the competition begins, you will not have time to think. Yet, if you remember these techniques, you can significantly increase your chances of winning a pizza eating competition.

  • Start with the meats and cheeses and end with the crust. If you are given a glass of water, soak the crusts and move on to the next slice interior; the combined crusts will slide down your gullet much faster this way.
  • Know beforehand if the results are determined by weight or by slice. Slices should be evenly sized, so you need not worry about looking for smaller pieces. Yet, if the competition is done by weight, you have more liberty to eat crusts when the heavy meat and cheese portions become too challenging.
  • Hold your nose when you swallow. Called the Valsalva Maneuver, this helps your esophagus squeeze harder, which will force the pizza down your throat faster.

Practice makes perfect! If you lose your first few competitions, you have a great excuse to train harder and over-eat one of Canada's most beloved foods. Check out places like Nitza's Pizza - The Original pizza restaurant. Some restaurants hold speed eating or weight-based competitions in exchange for a free meal, which can be a great way to train.