Assistant Professor Yann Cornil co-wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post where he discussed his recent research on the eating habits of football fans following a favourite team's win or loss.

Contextualizing the study in this year's Super Bowl, Cornil and study co-author Pierre Chandon explained why fans of the Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers may have felt lingering effects of a loss or win even the day after.

"We found that, on the Monday after a Sunday loss, people consumed 10 per cent more calories and 16 per cent more saturated fat than normal," wrote Cornil, noting that in eight cities with the most devoted fans (Green Bay, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, for example) the results jumped to 28 per cent.

In comparison, fans ate five per cent fewer calories and nine per cent less saturated fat (16 per cent in the same devoted cities).

Cornil offered a call to action for sports fans hoping to combat the negative consequence of a relationship with their team.

"One of the most effective ways to protect the self against identity threats is to affirm your core values," Cornil wrote, drawing on another study he and Chandon co-authored about French soccer fans. "Simply put, this “self-affirmation” consists of reminding yourself that being a fan is not 100 per cent of your identity and that there are other important things that you care about and that define you, such as family, friends or work."

Cornil's football fan research was based on data of daily food consumption for about 700 U.S. households over two seasons of the National Football League. The study, "From Fan to Fat? Vicarious Losing Increases Unhealthy Eating, but Self-Affirmation Is an Effective Remedy" was published in the journal Psychological Science.

Read the full article here.