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How Sunday NFL Games Affect Your Diet on Monday

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  September 9, 2013 03:17 PM

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Mondays are bad enough but thank goodness that the Patriots won the last game.  Hopefully, you are feeling optimistic about the season.  If they had lost (gosh forbid), there is a good chance that you would have been drowning your sorrows in unhealthy foods on Monday, according to a study in Psychological Science.

Researchers at the graduate business school, INSEAD, looked at the diets of over 725 enthusiastic football fans in major markets on Sunday, the day of the game, and again on Monday.  (No.  Boston was not included in the study, which is surprising as we all know that when it comes to enthusiastic fans, we should be given the Vince Lombardi trophy.) 

The study showed that the saturated-fat consumption by fans, which the researchers used as a marker for “junk” foods such as cake and cookies, as well as overall calories, was significantly increased by at least 10 percent on Mondays in cities whose NFL teams lost their Sunday game but was decreased by 5 percent or more in cities when the home town team was victorious.   The saturated-fat consumption on Monday remained at its normal level for people living in cities whose home town team did not play on Sunday.

Even more interestingly,  the outcome of the game more strongly effected  the saturated-fat and calorie consumption  of the fans.  For example, when the defeat was a nail biter (the defeated fans ate more) or when the victory was large (the victorious fans ate less).

So what does this mean for all of us?  Ideally, let’s hope that, for the sake of our diets, the Patriots have a 18:0 winning season.  While that is statistically unlikely, especially since we have already seen that once in our lifetime, let’s use Coach Belichick’s approach, which stresses that it takes an entire team working together and looking out for one another to be successful.  

Using that strategy, we need to support one another during the upcoming season.   If the Patriots lose a game and you should see a fan the next day at the office who typically eats yogurt and fruit for breakfast but is heading towards the donuts, please  intervene.  Steer him or her back to the fruit bar and chant the following positive affirmations:

“It was only one game.”

”We have come from behind before.”

“We have Tom Brady.”

“It ain’t over until it’s over.”

“We have Tom Brady.”
  (This may have to be repeated more than once depending upon if it was a blowout of a game.)

If the fan is unusually distraught, perhaps you may have to invite him/her into your cubicle or home to watch the last 1.5 minutes of this classic game to lift their spirits:


Let's hope for a winning season for the sake of our fans and our diets.

Be well, Joan

                                    Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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