The Super Bowl: Altar of Sporting Events or Just A Cheat Day?

January 29, 2018 , ,

Think only women fall into the trap of popular diets, deprivation and the yoyo effect? Think again! This article is directed at you, guys. What’s the link between the Super Bowl, the major sporting event 1 out of every 2 Canadians tune into, during which every dietary excess is allowed? You may notice that falling off the diet wagon often goes hand in hand with the temptation to starve yourself in the hope of “getting back on track” and “erasing” yesterday’s binges. At this moment, a diet (for example low-carbohydrate, or high-protein) becomes tempting. But this apparently harmless move often triggers an unhealthy relationship with food, and can even lead to an eating disorder.

On the Menu: As Much Junk Food As You Can Eat!

Pizzas, nachos, chicken wings, chips, beer… The mouthfuls that accompany the Super Bowl make up the perfect cocktail for stomach aches, bloating and gastric reflux… especially if you eat too much of them (beyond your level of satiety).

Is it pleasant to feel as though your stomach is going to explode, or taste acid reflux as it comes up in your throat? Then why do so many people fall into dietary excesses on this particular evening?

High in fat, sugar and salt, this open bar of super processed foods is oh so tempting! However, given that they contain little fiber and protein, these foods get quickly devoured but don’t satisfy hunger. Even if they’re higher in calories, we end up eating more.

What’s more, the general mood of these festivities, the abundance of available foods, the mouth-watering advertising, the fact we’re focused on the game rather than what’s going on in our stomachs, and the free-flowing alcohol make it harder to listen to our hunger and satiety signals.

But most of all, this junk food becomes even more tempting for those who tend to perceive this sporting event as a “cheat day” with no tomorrow.

“Cheat Day” or The Last Meal of Your Life?


For many, Super Bowl night is seen as the ideal “cheat day.” Moderation and the sense of satisfaction and satiety after a meal give way to dietary excesses and a feeling of heaviness… as though this was the last ever junk food meal and there was no tomorrow.

For those who have a tendency to “be extra careful” with their diet and their weight, this annual event can represent the ideal opportunity to finally indulge in junk food to their heart’s content.

In the United States, this means 1 billion chicken wings, 5 million kilos of chips, equivalent to the surface area of Italy, over 1 billion liters of beer, and the equivalent of 90 Towers of Pisa of pizzas are devoured during this sporting occasion.

The foods seen as “bad” or “forbidden” suddenly become our best friends. And while you’re “cheating” you might as well make the most of it! It’s possible to swallow an impressive amount of foods when you view your diet in such a way.

But poison is in the dosage and not a specific food. And no one food alone can make you gain weight or lose weight, gain muscle or guarantee your health. It’s all a matter of balance.

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Marjolaine Mercier
Marjolaine holds a Bachelor in Nutrition (Université Laval), a Certificate of Psychology (UQAM), and has trained in Gestalt Therapy (IQGT). She's currently completing a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition (Cornell University). She's the founder of Clinique M Nutrition on the Montreal's South Shore, and co-authored the book Ménager la chèvre et manger le chou" (March 2018). Whether in individual consultation or conference

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