For the millions of Americans who watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, the event is one of those times when people overindulge in football, friends and most of all, food.
The average American, in fact, consumes 2,400 calories during the game. The figures were based on the calorie consumption estimate made by the Calorie Control Council, which looked at the list of the popular food items that people tend to buy for game day parties as well as from statistical data from other food industry groups.
According to the Snack Food Association, Americans consume about 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, and 3 million pounds of nuts on game day.
The National Chicken Council, on the other hand, says that people will eat nearly 1 billion chicken wings. The study thus revealed that Super Bowl is the largest food consumption day in the U.S. after Thanksgiving.
Exercise physiologist Tom Holland explained the gluttony behind the Super Bowl. He said that people have the tendency to overeat because they do not realize what goes on in their mouth when they are too busy paying attention to the game.
A separate study conducted by researchers from Cornell University supports Holland's theory. For the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers studied the spending habits of 200 households for a period of seven months and found that football fans tend to consume a remarkably high number of calories on game day, beating even Thanksgiving.
"The higher number represents the fact that the household was buying foods that give more calories each time they eat a recommended serving," said study author David Just from the Cornell University. "This means people buy the highest calorie foods around the Super Bowl."
The researchers found that average Americans consume over 6,000 calories by the end of the game. Burning these calories, however, requires running a marathon spanning 26.2 miles.
The Calorie Control Council said that Americans can reduce their calorie consumption on game day by opting to eat healthier. By cutting between 418 to 494 calories, for instance, averaged sized men and women can save themselves one hour of workout at the gym.
It likewise recommends that football fans make plans prior to the game day so food will include appetizers and beverages with lower calories.