It’s every American’s God-given right, and expectation, to completely abandon a diet or healthy eating habits once a national holiday or major sporting event rolls around. Paleo? Low-carb? Forget it: Whip up something with cheese, add a different kind of cheese, slap on some (preferably smoked) meats, top it with some token veggies, and you’ve got the makings of a great game-time feast.
It's also the perfect recipe for a nice, fat, food obstruction that'll send you to the hospital, says a study from the University of Florida. Researchers looked at 11 years’ worth of data from the St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston and found an obvious pattern of people seeking treatment for some kind of food-related emergency during or after big events, and greater percentage of medical attention for food being lodged in the esophagus.
Of course, most of the people who couldn’t eat their food properly were men, and the day with the biggest amount of chokers was on Thanksgiving Day, and not the Super Bowl, though the pigskin showdown was also linked to a high amount of lodged-food incidences. Overall, 38 people had to have emergency work done on them, and 37% of that was due to food impaction in the esophagus. The most commonly caught-up foods: turkey (50%), chicken (a respectable 29%), and beef (21%).
“We think the main message here is for people to be aware and not to, for lack of a better term, overindulge,” said Asim Shuja, M.D., study lead and gastroenterologist at the University of Florida. “Not only the amount of food you're eating during the holiday or event, but the size of the portion you're eating can have a tremendous impact.”