Equipment varies based on the type of food being eaten. The following are used in most competitions, but remain optional: Napkin Water
All food is counted by being weighed or being cut into uniform pieces. Eating begins when a judge gives a signal. During competition food can be consumed in any manner, including dipping it in liquid to make it easier to swallow. If food consists of different parts they can be eaten separately, so long as it is eaten in it's entirety.
Competitive Eating involves the consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time. The type of food varies, though contests are primarily focused on fast foods or desserts. Competitive eating serves as the natural meeting place between binging and athletics. Involving foods of any kind, competitions pit multiple eaters against each other and the clock. Once a pre-determined time limit has been reached, the competitor who has eaten the most food is declared the winner.
Eating competitions were held throughout history at local fairs and festivals. In 1916, Nathan's, a hot dog restaurant, started a contest to see who could eat the most hot dogs in a 10-minute span. The popularity of this annual contest led to the creation of many other high profile eating competitions. In 1997, the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) was established to serve as a governing body for worldwide competitions. It regulates all Major League Eating events, which is the largest organizer in the United States. Today, thanks to increased television coverage, competitive eating is more popular than ever.