This just in: sports fans who purposely align themselves with successful teams are not glory-hunters – they’re just very health-conscious.
A study in America which links sporting results with the eating habits of fans found that supporters were eating fattier food and larger portions after a defeat, whilst a victory led to healthier food and better displays of moderation.
The research was conducted by Pierre Chandon and Yann Cornil of French business school INSEAD, and based around the behaviour of NFL supporters in America.
Chandon did not mince his words when discussing the paper’s findings:
"After a victory, people eat better," explained Chandon, a professor of marketing at INSEAD. "After a defeat, people eat a lot worse."
In the grand scheme of things, the findings do not tell us too much we don’t already know. People cope with misery by eating ‘comfort food’ as some form of ‘self-medication’ whereas happier people are more motivated to concentrate on diets and exercise.
Not only did Chandon and Cornil discover that such a trend very much has a place in the near-fanatical world of sports fandom, however, but realised that such spikes in calorie and saturates consumption were even more frightening in locations where people took sports VERY seriously.
"When we look at the behavior of people living in cities where football is really important — places like Green Bay, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, then the performance of the team has an even greater impact on what they eat," Chandon says.
“After a loss, people in those cities eat 28 percent more saturated fat. A win swayed them over to eat 16 percent less saturated fat. So, in those cities, people are even more responsive to the wining or the losing of the football team," he continued.
So, with that in mind, with the team’s current troubles and the Northeast being a footballing hotbed, perhaps this would be a good time for Sunderland supporters to hide their ‘treats’…