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 study shows that the outcome of the game has a significant effect on what fans eat afterward. After researchers evaluated the saturated fat intake in a number of households during NFL seasons, they found that people not only ate more saturated fat after a loss, but 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 a 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 takeaway? When you’re feeling beaten, the best thing to do is comfort yourself – but with words, not nachos and hotdogs.