Team sorrows sink to saturated fats!

2013September05_TeamSports_AAvid fans watch their favorite team play, live and breathe every twist and turn of the game, experiencing the highs and lows of the sporting drama unfold. Supporters of the winning side come out on a high, full of joyous tribulation. However, it appears that fans disappointed by a loss might be turning to junk food to sink their sorrows in saturated fats, according to a newly published study.

NFL city diet

Is the success of your favorite team affecting your diet? While it might not be an obvious link to make, some recent research suggests that disappointments may lead you to less than healthy fare. The INSEAD Business School looked at the calorie and saturated fat intake of individuals on a Monday following a Sunday NFL game. The groups analyzed included cities with NFL teams that won, NFL teams that were beaten, and cities which didn’t have an NFL team or where the team was not playing. The data was looked at consumption over two seasons in two dozen cities.

Fattier diets for losing cities

The findings revealed that when a team lost, fans and other individuals living in that city consumed around 16% more saturated fat compared to a normal Monday. On the flip side, those who were in celebratory mode consumed 9% less fats compared to the usual Monday intake. Calorie intake reduced significantly. The results were more marked when it was a narrow margin of defeat with well-matched opponents, when the results were unexpected and where there was a greater committed fan base.

Reckless driving, heart attacks and domestic violence

Sport outcomes do have an impact on life after the game it seems, with research suggesting links between results and reckless driving, heart attacks and domestic violence. And now the link between diet choices can be added to this list, revealing that team sports do seem to shape and impact the lives of many people.

French fans

The study’s authors suggest that the reason for this could be that food is used as a way to cope with a threat to people’s identity, which a team loss instills. On the other hand, a victory promotes self-control, leading to healthier diet choices. Researchers supported this idea with a further study which involved French fans writing down about a time their team had won or lost. At a later point in time they were each offered the choice of chips and candy or grapes and tomatoes. Those who had written about triumph had a preference for the healthier food option.


If you are a dedicated fan of a sports team that is seldom trouncing other teams then you may want to keep a check on how you react to losses, no matter how used to them you are! The study researchers suggest that to counter the temptation to reach for fattening foods, some healthy self-affirmation is all that is needed. Try writing down what’s important in life, step back and remember that It is really about getting things in perspective.

Diet and team players

If you are a team player rather than simply a fan or looking to get involved in a team, then diet and nutrition come hand in hand with the game. The challenges, moments of sheer celebration, and dealing with the adversity of a loss, are all part of the magic of sport. Just make sure that when you are on the losing side that you forgo fries on the side as culinary commiseration.

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