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Why we're the World Cup champs at eating

11 June 2010

Brits will eat 47 million extra takeaways and down 211 million extra beers during the World Cup, according to a survey of eating habits commissioned by fruit growers in South Africa

The survey, which was conducted by independent research company Opinion Matters, found that 42% of us will eat more junk food such as pizza and crisps during the tournament and 47% of us will drink more alcohol.

Worryingly, the increase in junk food consumption will be matched by a decline in eating healthier foods, particularly fruit and vegetables. The survey shows an expected fall in fruit, with the average person expecting to eat 8 fewer pieces of fruit during the football. The average person will consume 2 fewer apples and pears than usual and one fewer of fruits such as peaches, plums or nectarines.

Ron Maughan, professor of sport and exercise nutrition at the Loughborough University, commented: "While the occasional indulgence will not harm you, this research suggests some of the guys watching the World Cup will consume an awful lot of what, when eaten in such high volume, are unhealthy items.

"There is plenty of fresh fruit available as alternative snacks - such as apples and pears at this time of the year. Football fans and non-fans alike should take care to balance their diet with these foods at all times - and particularly when the temptation to eat poorly is at its highest."

According to the research, younger age groups are more likely to neglect their diet. 69% of 16-24 year-olds are expecting to eat more junk food during the World Cup compared to 42% of 45-54 year-olds. Alcohol consumption is highest between the ages of 25 and 34, with 66% of this age group believing they will drink more than average during the World Cup.

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