Nuts Are A More Popular Super Bowl Snack Than You May Have Thought

Your friend is hosting a Super Bowl watch party at their place and you (who are either a Rams fan, a Bengals fan, or just wanting to get out of the house) decide to join them. As you peruse the smorgasbord of snacks, piling a few hot wings on your plate next to your slice of pizza, you notice something that seems almost out of place. Nestled beside the big bowl of Lay's and the onion dip is a big bulk container of mixed nuts. Peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds — compared to the tangy and saucy entrees, you wonder just how exactly mixed nuts became such a staple of party food.

While a very healthy assortment of food, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and unsaturated fats (via Mayo Clinic), mixed nuts are seen at parties and at bars simply because they're  cheap and easy to eat. They're also just a popular snack altogether, with Americans eating 4 to 6 pounds per capita in 2020 (via Statista). For how popular they are, you have to wonder just how much of this salty snack food we'll be chowing down on as we gather together to watch the Rams versus the Bengals this year.

3 million pounds of nuts will be consumed

According to TigerFitness, it's believed we'll be knocking down 3 million pounds of nuts this Super Bowl Sunday — quite an impressive feat! While this is certainly something to think about while you crack open a peanut shell or chew on some pistachios, another question comes to mind: Why do we eat so much on Super Bowl Sunday, anyway? Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts you can understand, but what makes the Super Bowl so popular for letting loose and piling your plate?

Dr. Rachel Herz, a neuroscientist at Boston University, gave her theory as to why Americans pig out during the Super Bowl in an interview with NPR. The intense excitement and emotion of the game, Herz explains, influences people to eat. If your beloved team is losing, for example, you'll turn to comfort foods — chicken wings, chips, etc — to drown your sorrows. If your team is winning, however, you will actually eat less than those on the losing side. Herz equates the feeling of joy and excitement that your team just earned a Super Bowl ring with your body being completely satisfied, without any needs. You're so thrilled that you don't need to eat as much — unless, of course, you want to celebrate with more wings and beer. 

But no matter who wins or who loses, we can all agree that good food, friends, family, and some competition is always enough to make Super Bowl Sunday something special.