High-fat foods and watching football go hand in hand. Chicken wings, nachos, hotdogs followed by TUMS are all part of the experience. The influence of football on food consumption extends beyond the final score of the game. A new study shows that the outcome of the game has a significant effect on what fans eat afterwards. Researchers evaluated the saturated fat intake in a number of households during the 2004-2005 NFL seasons. Not only did they find that people ate more saturated fat after a loss, but they also saw that the preference for fatty foods was stronger in cities with wide fan bases or when the game had been particularly dramatic or close. This phenomenon is not uniquely American. French soccer fans showed a similar response. After defeat, they gravitated towards unhealthy snacks.
The good news is that self-affirmation is an effective remedy. When fans of the losing team gave themselves affirmative support, they still ate the same amount, but of healthier food. After a loss, the researchers suggest reminding oneself of the bigger picture and trying to put things in perspective. The take-away? When you’re feeling beaten, the best thing to do is comfort yourself––but with words, not chocolate and chips.
I wish you all the best,