Football fans and fatty foods

Bad news for Jacksonville Jaguars fans: a recent study revealed that football fans’ saturated-fat consumption spikes when their teams lose.

The study found saturated-fat consumption increased by as much as 28 percent following losses and decreased by 16 percent following victories, according to a New York Times article.

The association between losses and fatty foods is more pronounced in the eight cities regarded as having the most devoted fans, with Pittsburgh often ranked No. 1, according to the article.

And narrow defeats led to greater consumption of calorie- and fat-saturated foods than lopsided losses.

Researchers used the National Eating Trends database to extract 14-day food diaries kept during two regular NFL seasons (2004 and 2005). They focused on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. (Most NFL games take place on Sundays)

The individuals in the study included fans from cities whose teams won and lost. Those whose team didn’t play those Sundays or who were from a city without a team were the control group, according to the article.

The biggest divide in consumption between winners and losers was on Mondays. By Tuesdays, fans’ eating habits paralleled the control group, according to the article.

Apparently, a team victory may have the opposite effect.

“Your ego is boosted, you have higher self-esteem, and it’s easier to feel strong and good about yourself. It’s easier to delay gratification or resist temptation,” Dr. Pierre Chandon, a co-author of the study, told the Times.

As a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, I may be losing some weight this fall.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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