4/19/2014

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Lifebeat: Losing NFL cities eat more

Lifebeat: Losing NFL cities eat more
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts after being hit by a Seattle Seahawks player during the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
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Backing the wrong football team may make you do bad things. A recent study found people living in cities whose NFL team loses on Sunday tend to eat more calories and fatty foods on the following Monday.

In a study published in Psychological Science, psychologists say when we're uncomfortable we turn to things that will easily comfort us.

"It doesn't work to fix anything, but at least it makes us feel better for a second, "said Dr. Joe Rock with Cleveland Clinic. “And when we're feeling uncomfortable we're not thinking about what's going to happen in a month. We're thinking about 'I'm feeling crummy today and I want that to change.'"

Researchers looked at the eating habits of people in 30 U.S. cities with NFL teams, studying them for two seasons, and compared them to cities without NFL teams.

Results show after a loss people in cities whose team lost on Sunday eat 16 percent more saturated fat and 10 percent more calories, but people in cities whose team is victorious on Sunday eat healthier, taking in 9 percent less saturated fat and 5 percent fewer calories.

"I think what's happening here is that they eat more normally because they don't need to eat unhealthily," Rock said. "Instead of eating high-caloric, fattening, sweet food in order to feel better they can talk about the game and that makes them feel better."

Researchers said fans should shift their focus to what matters most in their lives - like family. Rock also recommended fans put together a 'game plan' in the event of a loss.

"Just realize you're likely to do some things that aren't going to be great for you tomorrow if your team loses," he said. "Be aware of that and maybe jot down some alternatives. I realize I'm going to eat too much, maybe I won't pack some of the stuff, maybe I won't have some stuff at my desk tomorrow."
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