Super Bowl Sunday is must-see television for many people, and along with that viewing comes the ritual of eating food… and a lot of it.
According to a study by the Snack Food Association, millions of pounds of comfort food will be consumed by football fans while they watch the big game. Deliveries of pizzas will increase by almost 60 per cent around kickoff. Popular items eaten include:
- 1.25 billion chicken wings
- 12.5 million pounds of bacon
- 11.2 million pounds of potato chips
- 10 million pounds of ribs
- 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips
- 2.8 million pounds of popcorn
- 3 million pounds of nuts
Grocery stores also see a surge in shoppers looking for salty snacks. Rosanne Longo of Longo’s told Global News, the Super Bowl leads to double-digit increases of sour cream, hummus and cream cheese sales, and two times the purchases of pizza and wings. Even Wonderful Pistachios sells some 3 million pounds of their nuts in anticipation of the big event.
It all adds up to a lot of calories — 2,400 in fact.
Medical Daily says the Super Bowl is the second most calorie-dense day of the year, trumping Christmas and second only to Thanksgiving.
Part of the reason for this tendency to binge is what U.K. researchers call “distracted eating.” They published a paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found people will eat more at meal time if they’re preoccupied by something else. Championship football counts as one such distraction.
Another contributing factor is emotional eating. French researchers found those cheering for a losing team eat more than their winning pals.
“We show that defeats by your favourite football or soccer team make you eat more, and less healthy food, especially if they were narrow, unexpected and against an opponent of the same strength,” the lead author wrote on his website. That trend may also last more than just one or two days.
READ MORE: Recipe: Super Bowl 50 snacks
To curb overindulging, famed get-fit-quick guru Jillian Michaels suggests people go into game day with a plan. “Don’t expect to find a bounty of healthy, organic, and nutrient-packed foods at your friend’s Super Bowl party. It’s on you to plan what you’ll eat or bring, and to determine how you’ll respond to tempting situations before you face them.” She also advocates eating before heading to a party.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention takes her advice one step further and tells people to increase their physical activity as they near game day. People can even turn big plays into a fitness challenge. “If your team gets a first down, then your buddies rooting for the other team have to do 10 push-ups – and vice-versa.”
Don’t want to bust your belt while watching the Super Bowl? Here are a few other ways to cut calories.