Your Losing NFL Team Is Making Your Butt Big

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Want to lose weight? Follow a better NFL team. New research says people eat food that's less healthy after their favorite football team loses, and eat better when their team wins.

When your team is 0-2, you don’t go for the tofu.

A pair of researchers from French business school INSEAD tracked the eating habits of more than 700 people who live in cities with NFL teams. The Chicago Tribune quoted professor Pierre Chandon:

“One day after a defeat, Americans eat 16 percent more saturated fat, and 10 percent more calories. But on the day after a victory of their favorite team, then it’s the opposite. They eat more healthily. They eat 9 percent less saturated fat, and 5 percent fewer calories. There was no effect in cities without a team or with a team that didn’t play.”

In cities where being a fan of the local NFL team is considered a way of life — places like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Wis., and Philadelphia — people ate 28 percent more saturated fat after a loss, and 16 percent less after a win.

“My weight goes up and down with my teams,” sports talk show host and Steelers fan Vinnie Richichi told  The New York Times. “My team does well? I’m 40, 50 pounds lighter.”

Here’s what else the study found:

  • By Tuesday, eating habits returned to normal.
  • Even the memory of a bad game triggers the effect powerfully. In another part of the study, the researchers found that asking people to remember a terrible defeat led them to eat food with 45 percent more saturated fat.
  • It’s not just American football fans, either. The researchers set up an experiment for French soccer lovers and found the same kind of results, the Times says.

The researchers found a very effective trick to avoid overeating — a little perspective. “Chandon and [doctoral student Yann] Cornil find that asking people to think about other things in their life that are valuable to them diminishes the impacts of sports defeats,” NPR says.

Do you find you eat more during or after a tense game? Let us know what you think of the research on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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