When Teams Lose, Fans Tackle Fatty Foods

The New York Times:

When Vinnie Richichi started watching the Pittsburgh Steelers’ home opener against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, he was feeling great. After all, the Steelers had won their first home game six years in a row.

Then things indeed went south.

“The worse they looked, the more I kept going to the fridge,” recalled Mr. Richichi, a co-host of a sports talk show on KDKA-FM in Pittsburgh. “First a couple of Hot Pockets. By the second quarter I threw in a box of White Castle hamburgers. As the game progressed, I just went through the refrigerator: the more fear, the more emotion, I’m chomping down. But I’m not going near the salad or the yogurt. If it doesn’t have 700 calories, I’m going right past it.”

“If you’re a fan, you say, ‘We lost, I lost,” said Pierre Chandon, a co-author of the study and a marketing professor at INSEAD, a Paris-based business school. “When people feel their identity is threatened, they compensate by eating indulgent food. It’s more difficult to resist temptation. No one ate broccoli after a defeat.”

Using the National Eating Trends database from the NPD Group, a market research firm, researchers extracted 14-day food diaries kept during two regular N.F.L. seasons, in 2004 and 2005, zeroing in on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Altogether, they looked at 726 individuals over 3,151 consumption days, including 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 served as controls.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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