The Super Bowl isn’t just one of the biggest sporting events of the year. It’s also one of the biggest eating events. And whether your team wins or loses the big game can influence how you enjoy your food – and how much of it you consume – even the day after.
That’s according to neuroscientist Rachel Herz, who is on the faculty at Brown University and Boston College and author of Why You Eat What You Eat.
“Many, many chickens die for the Super Bowl, and it’s estimated that people consume, in the four to five hours of the game alone, 2,400 calories,” Herz notes, pointing to a popular estimate released by the Calorie Control Council.
Herz says that theoretically, everyone is eating a lot of chips, guacamole or whatever else is on the menu during the game, regardless of which team they are rooting for. But “what’s more interesting is what happens Monday,” she says — because research has found that one day later, fans who were pulling for the team that lost are likely to keep making unhealthy food choices.
I spoke with Herz about the intersection of psychology, our senses and our relationship with food — especially during the Super Bowl. Excerpts from the conversation have been edited for length and clarity.
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