While football fanatics around the country either celebrate or mourn the outcome of the Patriots’ win at the Super Bowl XLIX, it turns out that the clear champion every year remains the snack food industry.
A recently released study tracked the grocery spending habits of more than 200 New York households over a period of seven months. The primary purpose of the study was actually to determine how well people keep their New Year’s resolutions – which, judging by the results, is not very.
The study showed that the total amount of calories per serving for all the food items bought during Super Bowl week added up to more than 6,000. Thanksgiving, the perennial icon of gluttonous holidays, did not even come close. The second unhealthiest week of the year, when shoppers purchase about 5,500 calories per serving, is the week prior to Super Bowl week, suggesting that the actual amount of calories consumed during the big game is even higher.
The method of measuring calories per serving, though it may seem unusual, is an inventive way to figure out how healthily people are eating. Instead of simply looking at total calories purchased, the serving scenario gives researchers a better idea of how much an individual eats each week. Of course, this method does not take into account delivery food, meals supplied by restaurants – or the tendency of the average American to each much more than just the suggested serving size.
What the method can do is give a more precise unit of measurement. “The higher number represents the fact that the household was buying foods that give more calories each time they eat a recommended serving,” explained David Just, a professor of behavioral economics and one of the study’s authors. “This means people buy the highest calorie foods around the Super Bowl.”
Unsurprisingly, participants in the study also spent the most at grocery stores while stockpiling during Super Bowl week. The average cost of a supermarket shop for the week was almost $150. The second most expensive week for buying groceries was also the one leading up to Super Bowl week.
Previous estimates by the USDA guessed that Super Bowl Sunday would be the second most calorie-heavy day of the year, after Thanksgiving. However, the new study shows the football event beats out the traditional holiday by a long shot.