Why Airline Food Can be Bad for Your Health

In-flight meals has taken on a bad reputation for the past few years, with the prejudice is warranted for a number of reasons. With bland meals laden with unnecessary calories, along with the increase in appetite being in the air brings, flying on a plane can ruin your diet regardless of whether or not you are tempted by the food they offer.

There are exemptions to this, of course. Singapore Airline’s famous Suite Class has received nothing but good word-of-mouth from passengers. Various individuals have complimented on the amazing service by the crew and the fantastic meal options whether in business or economy class. Such cases are rare, however, and airline foods still are dominated with lots of raised issues and concern.

People are still divided over the idea of consuming airline food while in flight, even if airline food has mostly improved its quality over the years. In a book entitled Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating, research suggests a number of reasons behind why in-flight meals can be bad for you.

1. There’s more sugar
Professor Charles Spence, together with other inflight food experts, issued warnings regarding the 15 to 20 percent more sugar added to the meals we eat while in the air to give it the same taste perception. Factors like low cabin air pressure and dry air contribute to our inability to properly taste food, which is why a lot of airlines opt to add sugar content if it means less dissatisfied passengers.

2. You’re eating due to boredom
With limited things to do while in flight— like watching inflight entertainment in a cramped space or listening to others snore, food turns into an appealing distraction. Particularly when it’s free, most passengers would ask for second servings of desserts, alcoholic drinks, and fruit juices. When you are convinced there’s nothing better to do anyway, you tend to develop a mindset you might as well eat.

3. The meals aren’t fresh anymore
Most inflight meals are generally prepared between 12 to 72 hours prior to the time they are served on the plane. They are reheated again merely a few hours before consumption, giving it a sense of being ‘newly cooked’, but it is indisputable how the quality of these meals change over long periods of stalling. Now you don’t have to wonder anymore why your chicken lunch option looks undercooked, unappealing, and just plain sad.

4. You’ll feel bloated
Passengers often refuse free airplane food because they hate the effects it has on the body after landing. Yes, this may be impractical considering you’ve paid for these meals, but it could not compensate the unsatisfactory feeling it brings to people afterwards. For instance, eating salty, stale food at thousands feet up in air usually just bloats you. It may also lead to indigestion which then leaves you feeling awful upon arrival. Because of this, some people choose to snack prior to their flight and keep their stomachs full.

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