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Seahawks' Win = Less Junk Food?

Seahawks200Apparently, disappointed sports fans eat more fat after their team loses (sorry, San Francisco!), while fans of the winning team opt for healthier foods, according to recent research in Psychological Science.

Researchers Yann Cornil and Pierre Chandon of INSEAD Business School looked at two seasons of National Football League games, comparing people’s food consumption in more than two dozen cities.

On the Monday after a football game, 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 team ate about 9 percent less saturated fat compared to usual. That’s a 25% gap. The findings were corroborated by an experiment involving sports fans in France.

Why do fans of losing teams binge on junk—especially if it’s an unexpected upset?

It’s because losing threatens identity, researchers hypothesize. The day after a loss, fans use eating to cope. Conversely, winning seems to boost fans’ self-control.

But hey, San Francisco and Denver, even if you live in a city with a losing team, you needn’t clog your arteries.

Here’s a tip from Cornil: After a defeat, write down what is really important to you in life. In studies, this simple "self affirmation" technique completely eliminated the effects of defeats.

What are your favorite healthy Super Bowl Sunday recipes? Please share by emailing pbock@pacsci.org. We'll feature the best recipes on Wellbody Blog next week and award a prize.


  • Guest
    Laurel Wednesday, 22 January 2014

    At the end of the article, there is an error. You meant to say New England, since the Broncos won!

  • Paula Bock
    Paula Bock Thursday, 23 January 2014

    Thanks for reading, Laurel. Actually, the poke at the Broncos was foreshadowing the outcome of the Super Bowl! :) Pacific Science Center is in Seattle, after all.

    But win or lose, Cornil's tip on self-affirmation is relevant to all of us as we face various disappointments in life and are tempted to self-comfort in unhealthy ways. (Please note: A modest amount of dark chocolate is considered healthy!)

  • Guest
    Laurel Thursday, 23 January 2014

    Haha! I see. My mistake, and I agree, the Seahawks WILL win!:D

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Guest Sunday, 19 April 2015