Dr. Campbell: Having a safe and healthy Super Bowl

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Today is Super Sunday. The Falcons and Patriots will face off in the 51st Super Bowl.

This means lots of parties — with lots of food and alcohol. How can you have a safe and healthy Super Bowl?

Here are some tips for a healthier Super Bowl Sunday

What are the biggest health risks for super bowl Sunday?

Millions of Americans are gearing up to watch the big game. On game day, there will be piles of junk food and lots of alcohol. These treats can result in the consumption of excessive calories and over indulgence in alcohol. Today Americans will eat roughly 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn and 2.5 million pounds of nuts — and the list goes on.

Altogether, we’ll eat approximately 30 million pounds of snacks, according to the Calorie Control Council, a trade group representing the low-fat and sugar-free food and beverage industries.

The council projects that the average Super Bowl watcher will scarf down 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat in snacks alone. And this does not even include alcohol or any meals that may be served during the game.

The average American only needs 2000 calories a day —- you can get over half of your daily calories just in Super Bowl snacks.

How exactly does Super Bowl Sunday affect your health?

It is true that consuming high-fat and high-sodium foods will lead to temporary increases in blood pressure and the amount of lipids in your blood stream.

But if you are relatively healthy and don’t make Super Bowl–style eating a weekly event, you will most likely survive the day. If you have underlying health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, or a heart condition, you need to pay much closer attention to what you eat on game day.

A study released in 2000 at an American Heart Association conference found that eating a very large meal can quadruple your risk of suffering a heart attack two hours after eating.

Drinking too much, even in the short term, can lead to elevated blood pressure, anemia, drowsiness and impaired judgment.

Also, remember, it is just a game. The stress of the game can raise blood pressure, causing your body to release hormones and -– in people who are susceptible —- can precipitate heart attack.

What are some ways that we can still enjoy the big game but stay healthy?

For one thing choose healthy snacks. Certainly, its OK to have some of the traditional fare, but work in a few more healthy choices as well. Limit alcohol to one or two drinks –- you will feel better and you will not consume lots of empty calories.

When you start eating, hit the veggie tray first, and try to fill up on that before going for the other options.

And when you get thirsty, don’t just rely on beer and soda. Alternate an alcoholic beverage with water, which will limit your consumption and will also help you avoid a hangover (usually due to dehydration).

Plan exercise before the big game. A pre-game work out can jump start your metabolism and help you burn calories during the game.

Make sure to eat normally throughout the day and don’t show up at the party starving so that you will not over-indulge.

Always choose a designated driver.

While alcohol contains lots of “empty calories,” drinking too much, even in the short term, can lead to elevated blood pressure, anemia, drowsiness, and impaired judgment.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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