The NFL is American’s great distraction every fall. Fans place copious hopes in their city’s professional teams, their precious alma maters, and their offspring’s amateur teams. They bet money, get in fights, drink all day, and eat tons of food that wouldn’t even pass Golden Corral’s strict inspection process.
But those are the good times that make dressing up like a 5-year-old and sitting in below 5 degree weather just to see Aaron Rodgers do his “discount-double-check” touchdown celebration all worth it. But what happens when you’re a Raiders fan (like myself), a person who roots for a perpetual losing franchise.
According to The Salt, a study that links sports outcomes with the eating behavior of fans finds that backers of NFL teams eat more food and fattier food the day after a loss. Backers of winning teams, by contrast, eat lighter food, and in moderation.
After a defeat, the researchers found that saturated fat consumption went up by 16 percent, while after a victory it decreased by 9 percent. “After a victory, people eat better,” says Pierre Chandon, a professor of marketing at the business school INSEAD in France. “After a defeat, people eat a lot worse.”
As The Salt blogger Shankar Vedantam astutely points out, this study fits in-line with some of the research that suggests that folks emotions are tied to their eating habits, but can these latest finding measure up with what we know about what kind of person is a football fan and if said person is a detriment to his city’s health stats.
Earlier this month, Prevention.com published its results for the healthiest, happiest cities in America. Coming in number one was San Jose, a city whose football fans mostly root for a winning franchise, the San Francisco 49ers. Third on the list was Minnesota — which has team, the Vikings, that is a middle-of-the-pack team, not enough to kill one’s arteries. The rest of the top ten cities with NFL teams all had winning franchises: San Diego, the Chargers; San Francisco, the 49ers.
On the other hand, most of the unhealthiest, fattest cities in the nation all rooted for losers, unless they lived in a state with no NFL team and just collegefootball teams, which were winners such as, Alabama Crimson Tide. Additionally, since every football fan in Texas roots for the Dallas Cowboys and they suck, it’s no wonder the fattest city in America is Mission, Texas.
But one state that deviates from the norm though is the great state of West Virginia. West Virginians tend to be Pittsburgh Steelers fans since there is no NFL team in the state. Considering the winning tradition of Steelers, it seems folks from West Virginia, which has three cities in the top ten fattest, just like sugar, fat, and salt, regardless of wins and losses.