Tags: loser | junk | food | football | fans | sports

Sports Fans Nurse Losses With High-Fat Surgary Foods

By Nick Tate   |   Friday, 23 Aug 2013 01:33 PM

Maybe nutritionists have had it right all along: Junk food is for losers.
That’s the key conclusion of a new study of differences in the eating habits of sports fans after a favorite team has won or lost a big game. The research, published in the journal Psychological Science, indicates the Monday after a big weekend football game, fans of the losing team tend to load up on saturated fats and sugars — key ingredients in "comfort foods" — while supporters of the winning team opt for healthier foods.
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"Although prior studies had shown that sport outcomes influence reckless driving, heart attacks, and even domestic violence, no one had examined how they influence eating," noted lead researcher Yann Cornil, with the European Institute of Business Administration.

To reach their conclusions, Cornil and colleagues compared the outcomes from two seasons' worth of NFL games with fans' food consumption — including the amounts and types of food consumed after victories and losses — in more than two dozen cities.
Overall, they found that people in cities with a losing football team ate about 16 percent more saturated fat, compared to their usual Monday consumption. People in cities with a winning football team, on the other hand, ate about 9 percent less saturated fat compared to their usual consumption.
The researchers hypothesized that, when a favorite team loses, fans are more likely to use eating as a coping mechanism. Winning, on the other hand, seems to provide a boost to fans' self-control.
The upshot, Cornil said: "People eat better when their football team wins and worse when it loses, especially if they lost unexpectedly, by a narrow margin, or against a team of equal strength."
So what does this mean for fans of losing teams? It may sound a little touchy-feely to the most macho of football fans, but Cornil offers the following advice:

"Even if you are rooting for a perennial loser, there is a solution if you are concerned about healthy eating: After a defeat, write down what is really important to you in life. In our studies, this simple technique, called 'self-affirmation,' completely eliminated the effects of defeats."

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