We’ve got bad news for Buffalo Bills fans (and anyone else who supports largely unsuccessful squads): If your team goes down, the defeat may cause more than a blow to your pride—it could also sack your healthy eating efforts, finds a new study published in Psychological Science.
When researchers examined the outcomes of two NFL seasons alongside people’s food consumption, they found that following a loss, downtrodden fans consumed around 16 percent more saturated fat than they did on other Mondays. The results were especially pronounced when teams lost unexpectedly or by a small margin. Fans of the victorious team, on the other hand, ate about 9 percent less saturated fat than usual.
“I see this with a lot of emotional eating,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author ofRead It Before You Eat It. “You’re not in control of who catches the ball, so don’t punish yourself by eating improperly.”
To sidestep this dietary fumble, navigate calorie-laden football season favorites on game day and beyond with these expert tips:
Plan your meal for the day after the game long before kickoff, suggests Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. “This way, whether you win or lose, you already have healthy meals planned,” she says.
Pregame with breakfast
“Always start the day with breakfast and don’t ‘save’ calories for later,” Gans says. “If you’re too hungry while watching the game, you’re more likely to overeat.”
Sideline unhealthy foods
“If you know you’re a stress eater, keep things on hand that are benign,” suggests Taub-Dix. “So if you’re munching on something to release tension, you’re not indulging,” she says.
Make smart substitutions
Choose one unhealthy item per game to splurge on. “For example, maybe this week you want wings, but you pass on chili, and the next week you do the reverse,” Gans says.