I have a friend who delivers for one of the region's top pizzerias and he's got dollar signs in his eyes today.

Everyone knows pizza is the official food of the Super Bowl, right? But the follow-up to this is quite distressing and I'm not talking heartburn.

Today's battle between the stingy Seattle Seahawks and explosive Denver Broncos is not just being played out on the field, but around America's waistline as well.

According to a Nutrisystem Inc. survey conducted in early January, of the 1,283 football fans who were polled across the country, 25 percent reported they had gained weight during this NFL season — 16 percent admitting they had gained 20 or more pounds.

And here comes the knockout punch: Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest food consumption day behind Thanksgiving.

It is estimated by the Calorie Control Council that Americans will consume 30 million pounds of snacks today, with the average football fan taking in 1,200 calories and 50 fat grams from snacking alone.

Hold onto your belt. It gets more depressing.

According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, the weight gain can be even worse for fans of losing teams on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

It's a lose-lose situation, actually. Celebration and stress are common triggers for overeating.

My pizza delivery friend is really smiling now.

With magnificent pregame spreads that resemble a grand opening at Strack & Van Til, better hide the bathroom scale.

I don't want to be a party crasher, but there are things you should know before indulging, according to Dr. Charles Platkin of New York's Hunter College and the editor of DietDetective.com.

The kind doc even offers a list of exercises you would need to do to burn off those "Big Game" snacks.

Here's a sampling:

* You'd have to do "the wave" 6,480 times to burn off six Buffalo Wild Wings dipped in ranch dressing.

* For one giant foot-long Italian sub with provolone cheese, Genoa salami, spicy pepperoni, black forest ham, mayo and mustard, you'd have to walk the Brooklyn Bridge more than 14 times, or 16.2 miles.

* For six large Chili's Fajita Beef Classic Nachos, you would have to run 242.5 football fields at an average speed of 5 mph (the average walking pace is approximately 3 mph).

* For four swigs of Bud Light Beer, you would actually have to play eight minutes of professional football.

* One giant New York City Pretzel (455 calories) would require 111 minutes of being the team mascot, wearing a silly costume, and working the crowd for two hours.

* For three slices of Pizza Hut's Pepperoni Pizza Works (1,320 calories), 322 minutes of cleaning MetLife Stadium after today's game.

* For 10 cheese Sliders (1,700 calories), you would need 363 minutes of high-stepping in a marching band to burn it off.

* And, finally, for a 16-ounce bowl of chili packed with beef, beans, assorted vegetables, sour cream and shredded cheese (700 calories), you would need 73 minutes of strenuous cheerleading. Backflips optional.

You've been warned.

Now dig in and pass the Tums.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.


Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.