A recent study by Pierre Chandon found that football fans of losing teams may be more prone to over-eating when compared to fans of winning teams. This rather humorous study offered empirical evidence that football fans of losing teams may be at-risk for devouring more pizza, subs, and chicken wings compared to fans of winning teams.
Admittedly, at first glace I thought this study was frivolous and lacking validity, but upon closer inspection the results actually make a lot of sense when you think about it. Football fans can take losses really hard, which in turn prompts them to deal with frustration and stress. Extending this line of thinking into common stress-response coping mechanisms, you can easily see how a defeated football fan might be more likely to overeat (and over-drink) in an attempt to drown his sorrows. From that standpoint, the results actually make perfect sense.
So if losing team fans are more at-risk for over-eating, does this mean fans of winning teams should have a much easier time with dieting and weight loss? The author of the study has apparently not furthered his research line in that direction — yet — but perhaps he should. Can you imagine how many football fans would quickly become Patriots fans if that were found to be true?!
Winning vs. Losing Teams
It is interesting to explore the ways in which sports impacts our lives, as previous research studies have shown that even the pronouns we use are often impacted by the success of our favorite teams (in cases where our team wins we refer to them as “we” won, versus when they lose we often say “they” lost). Combining the two lines of research would suggest that if you follow a losing team you are:
A.) more likely to over-eat, and
B.) disconnected from your favorite team and regularly refer to the team as “they”
Sport sociology and psychology research can be interesting, and quite fun when we can find a little of ourselves in the results (most of us can quickly recall a time we called our favorite team “they,” as well as a recent game our team lost where we spent more time at the buffet table than we should have).
The best advice is, of course, to follow winning teams — by doing so you will not only more readily align yourself with them (“we won!”), but you will also be far more likely to overeat – and who is going to argue with that?!