35% Obesity Rates Amongst US Adults – and the Airlines Don’t Help…

We have over 35% obesity rates amongst US adults – continuing to grow.  And the airlines don’t help matters…


Here I am again – ranting on the airlines. But why not? As a traveler and a person who cares about what I put in my body, why shouldn’t I? I pay significantly to travel, and I assume that at least a small part of what I invest goes toward the food they serve on these flights? Except that I don’t use this part of my investment – so why not give me the the option to opt out in favor of a less expensive flight? I don’t care if it’s $10 less – not that airline food is worth $10 – but it’s less than the amount I am already paying these (insert adjective here) airlines.

And why don’t I use this investment the airlines are calling a meal? Because it’s garbage! It’s not FOOD! And on my 11-hour flight home from Europe today, I decided to take pictures. I mean, Michelle Obama is on a quest to change food in schools. Why shouldn’t airlines provide healthier food options to their customers?  Oh right, they don’t REALLY care (as stated in my last blog on the topic); they just make promotional videos saying they care.

So knowing I wouldn’t eat the airplane food, my husband Michael decided he would pick what looked like the better of the 2 menu options – the chicken and the vegetarian (typically pasta) option. We would ask for both, and he would eat the one that looked better. For me, it would be an opportunity to check out the ingredients (and take pictures for you).


The 2 trays were set down in front of us: chicken and rice, and lasagna. So we both began to examine these trays. Michael very quickly determined there was little for him to eat here either – and he is much less discriminating than I. To me – at first sight, I noticed that the only difference on each of these trays were the entrees. On the side of each, there was a stale looking piece of bread wrapped in plastic, a package of crackers, a scary looking piece of crumb cake – also in plastic wrap, a piece of Laughing Cow cheese, a ‘salad’, and ‘salad’ dressing. The lasagna looked like – well, bad frozen lasagna from the grocery store (with a bunch of over-processed ingredients), and the chicken and rice had an awful lot of rice and a rubbery piece of chicken (we poked it with the plastic fork).


Then I noticed the second thing. There were a heck of a lot of white flour based products sitting on these trays, and very few vegetables. In fact, that salad was made of 98% iceburg lettuce (essentially 0% nutrition), a small slice of tomato, and 3 radicchio leaves. I’ll get to the salad dressing in a minute. This tray looked like US FDA food subsidies at work in the airline industry – with the bulk of investment funding highly-processed wheat products, and essentially zero investment being put into fruits and vegetables that deliver the maximum nourishment to our blood, our organs and our cells that give us life.


I picked up the various packages to look at the ingredients. And the camera came out almost immediately as I decided to share this with you. First, I looked at the salad dressing. First ingredient: water. Second ingredient: soybean oil (another highly subsidized and GMO-rich crop). And there were a few things like balsamic vinegar and sugar, salt, spices, but then we got into the things that made no sense at all: maldextrin, modified food starch, yeast extract, soy lecithin, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate… Why? And Michael asked me this as I was thinking it: Why does it need to have all of those things in it??? We just came from Italy. Salad dressing consists of good olive oil and balsamic. Maybe a little sea salt and pepper. Why not just that as an offering instead of this over-processed chemistry experiment?


I looked at the bread. No ingredients listed. It was clearly one of those ‘breads’ that could sit in that package for months and look pretty much the same. No ingredients listed on the cake – although it scared me a little to think of what they might be. On the plane journey to Europe, I looked at the cake they served on that flight, and (I took a picture then too) there were something like 50 ingredients in this tiny little piece of ‘Double Chocolate Crunch Bar’ – most of which were chemically modified nonsense. Does anyone ever go to the market and ask to buy some monocalcium phospate to feed their family? How about some mono or diglycerides? Think about that? Is that what you really want to be feeding the people you care about? Oh yes – that package told me it had 0g of trans fat, so now am I supposed to think the soybean oil, the palm oil and the artificial flavors are healthy?

Come on airlines – get it together. As I have said before, stop with the big money propaganda videos telling me how great you are, and start caring about your passengers again – it’s been a while – your paying customers. You’re becoming profitable again because you have cut so many service-oriented programs that keep your customers happy. How about helping to keep them healthy? The least you can do is stop supporting the poisoning of these people, many of whom just don’t know (yet) how to see what they are truly consuming.

Oh great – you just offered us an ice cream on top of it all. 

Ah yes – and later in the flight, boxes of potato chips and some more processed (ham?) & cheese in between a big piece of bread.

How about some carrots or a nice, crunchy green apple someday instead like they offered in my German hotel room?  The least you can do is give us an option!  Or give me back my $10, because I am pretty sure that most of us would prefer the option NOT to pay for what we won’t eat!  


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