It seems that at this time of year everyone has to do some traveling. Whether it’s just across town to visit friends for a New Year’s Eve party, or flying halfway around the world to get back home for Christmas, using some form of transportation is most likely unavoidable.
For those of us who need to travel by plane to get to our destinations, it can be quite an ordeal, especially if a long-haul flight is necessary. Going through time zones, airport delays, and sleep deprivation all contribute to jetlag that doesn’t make our holidays any cheerier. Did you know, that aside from the usual culprits, the food you eat onboard your flight could also be contributing to your jetlag? Now, a former flight attendant who regularly worked long-haul flights has revealed why she swears by not eating while up in the air. The founder of the luxury travel firm Indagare, Melissa Biggs Bradley, spilled the secret in an interview with Bloomberg:
“Ten years ago, it was [a cabin crew member] on Singapore Airlines on what was, at the time, the longest flight in the world (17 hours from Singapore to New York).
“She told me that her tried-and-true trick was not eating in-flight. Basically, at super high altitude, your digestive system shuts down completely. Someone said to me it’s like being under anesthesia.”
“So when you get off the plane, everything restarts and [your digestive system] has so much more work to do and so it makes you more tired.”
You would think that someone with so much in-flight experience would know a thing or two, but scientists have clapped back, claiming that there is little evidence to back up her claims. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been hungry on every overseas flight I’ve ever taken. Surely that’s a sign my digestive system hasn’t shut down. Although, it could be that many of us are just forcing down food simply because we’re locked in a big steel tube and we’re just bored? Then again, nutritionists have contradicted Ms. Briggs’s claims. Registered dietitian Carolyn Pallister reacted by saying the following:
“Suggestions that your digestive system shuts down during a flight has no scientific foundation. By restricting yourself and not eating for long periods of time on a long flight you are likely to feel weak, shaky, and could even suffer from headaches and low mood.”
If you think about it, Ms. Pallister has a point. Besides, if your digestive system really shuts down, why would they put a bathroom on the airplane? Surely having to go and relieve yourself on a flight is a sign everything is working as normal. Being forced to sit for so long does mean you burn fewer calories, and airplane food isn’t always the best quality. Perhaps it would be best to scale back on your food intake, but don’t eliminate eating altogether. It’s easy to stick a few granola bars and a banana in your carry-on luggage. Just be sure to check with both airline regulations and border control in your destination country. You don’t want to end up paying a big fine because you snuck an orange past customs! For ideas on how to prepare your own healthy meals that are airplane ready, check out the video below. These meals will surely be more appetizing than whatever the airline is serving: