Tailgating Is Bad For You, Really?

By John Salak


Okay, we admit it. WellWell held back on this report until after the Super Bowl. Why put another damper on an already miserable lockdown year by revealing the nutritional drawbacks of tailgating just before the big game.

Okay, not that many people were tailgating this year anyway, but the University of Missouri School of Medicine, nonetheless, decided a couple weeks before kickoff to reveal just what eating fatty foods and drinking alcohol can do to a group of overweight but otherwise healthy men. Don’t get your hopes up. None of this is good for you. Curiously enough, however, the university’s research showed that the impact of tailgating gluttony varies widely from person to person.

In case you’re wondering, no, the study didn’t force men to stand in a parking lot gobbling down food and then trudging into Faurot Field to watch the Tigers get mauled by Alabama or Florida. Instead, the researchers pumped 18 men with alcohol and burgers, chips and cupcakes for five hours in a controlled setting and then measured the fat in their livers. After downing an average of almost 5,100 calories each, which increased their blood levels of glucose, insulin and fats called triglycerides, the impact on liver fat in the participants was all over the place. Some men saw an increase, some a decrease and one guy’s liver fat remained unchanged.

 “In some people, the body responded in a unique way to take the stress off the liver. These findings reveal that both genetics and lifestyle can work together to protect us from overconsumption of nutrients,” reported Professor Elizabeth Parks. “A potential explanation of these findings is that high carbohydrate consumption may have a greater impact on liver fat than alcohol in some people.”

You’ve probably already guessed the next step. More research is needed. But Mizzou’s work begs some serious questions. For example, who thought it was a good idea to pump 5,100 fatty calories into overweight men? Why weren’t some women, overweight or otherwise, tested too? And, finally, instead of trying to measure just how bad tailgating can be for your liver, why not put some work into developing great-tasting, more nutritious, less deadly game-watching snacks? There’s a scientific breakthrough the world is waiting for.

There is no end to the benefits healthy—but tasty and definitely satisfying—snacks would deliver. After, it seems like almost everyone save Giselle Bundchen is pudgy these days. The adult obesity rate, in fact, is soaring worldwide and is reaching epidemic levels in the US where some estimates now place it at over 40 percent. What’s worse, obesity rates are exploding where tailgating is most prevalent.

Six of the top ten states in terms of obesity rates host universities ranked among the 10 ten for tailgating. Mississippi, the state with the highest obesity rate in the country, is home to Ole Miss, the number one university in the country for tailgating. Other top ten match ups include Louisiana and LSU, Alabama and the Crimson Tide, Tennessee and its namesake university, South Carolina and the Gamecocks, and Michigan and the might Wolverines.

So before trying another study where pudgy men are stuffed to their nostrils with unhealthy food to determine just how bad it is for them, can’t academia put some effort into creating a healthy chicken wing and blue cheese dipping sauce or maybe a Yodel that won’t go straight to your heart.

 

 

 

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