November 29

Obesity pasta survey

14  comments

MD and I went to Dallas to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with our kids and grandkids. On the way we flew American Airlines from LA to DFW. We had upgraded to first class with miles, and during dinner I noticed something and decided to do a little walking around survey.
What I’m going to report is not scientifically accurate; it is only an observation. As such, I don’t know what conclusions, if any, can be drawn, but I do think it is interesting.
The dinner offerings were either a pasta salad or a chicken breast with vegetables. The two people sitting directly across the aisle from MD and me were extremely overweight, and I noticed that they both ordered the pasta salad. I got curious, so after everyone was served I got up under the guise of going to the restroom, wandered by all the first class passengers, and tallied what they were eating.
There were 22 first class seats and there were 12 people occupying those seats who were obviously overweight. All of those 12 overweight people were eating the pasta salad. Of the 10 non-obviously overweight people, 9 were eating the chicken and vegetables, 1 was eating the pasta salad.
Based on this limited study, we can say that at least on this particular flight overweight people preferred pasta. We can’t draw any cause or effect conclusions from this, but I do find it interesting.


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  1. Of course all the obese people were eating pasta salad like good, obediant boys and girls. Their nutritionalists/doctors told them they needed to eat more salads to lose weight. Duh Doc, don’t you know anything?
    Hi Hellistile–
    Silly me.  How could I have forgotten.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  2. Fantastic i do things like this all the time..albeit not in First Class.
    Do you know De Waals stuff ? Surely you must.
    After reading many of his books in Africa i often walk around looking at folks stuffing their/our gullets and end up with the rather strange yet concrete feeling i am watching a bunch of addicted primates noshing as much sugar, in whatever form, as they/we can get into our demented gobs.
    Giving them/ourselves a ‘good metabolic bludgeoning’ !
    Hi Simon–
    Believe it or not, but I’ve never read a Frans de Waal book.  Give me some enlightenment.  Which one is the best to start with?
    Cheers–
    MRE

  3. Makes sense. I would have probably ordered the pasta salad when I was overweight, too. Now that I’m low-carbing I would obviously get the chicken and veggies.
    I assume they didn’t feed the regular class passengers?
    Hi Victoria–
    Uh, the regular class passengers could pay $4 for a snack pack.  God only knows what it had in it.  Thank God we’ve got a lot of miles to use for upgrades or I might have found out. (We flew back coach, and we were offered a snack pack for $4, but we declined.)
    Cheers–
    MRE

  4. Sir,
    The Ape and the Sushi master is good, Chimpanzee Politics is ace, Bonobo the Forgotten Ape is beaut (and deeply sad given they were the last of the GA’s to be discovered, closest genetically to us, some of the most peaceable mammals known to man and likely the first GA to become extinct as they basically only live in the Congos(DRC Congo not Brazaville) and they are displaced and of course eaten.
    Our Inner Ape is goodly and there are perhaps another 7
    Hi Simon–
    Thanks for the recommendations.  I’ll order a couple up and slot them in behind Pinker’s The Blank Slate.
    Best–
    MRE

  5. MMMMMMmmmmmm….Snack pack!
    Sounds awesome! I rarely fly, but when I do, I bring some cheese.
    Hi Lyndsey–
    Smart move with the cheese.  When we know we’re going to be flying coach, MD and I always bring jerky and nuts.  Makes a good snack and is easy to carry.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  6. here’s a low carb traveler’s tip for Newark airport – there’s a Gallagher’s steakhouse in terminal C. I always do my best to arrange my travel so that I have time for a good steak there before I get on the plane – that way I really don’t care what kind of mess they serve as “meals” on the plane…
    the only problem is that you have to use a dinky plastic knife to carve up your steak…
    Hi Mrfreddy–
    Thanks for the tip.  They give you plastic knives in the restaurant…?
    Cheers–
    MRE

  7. Yes, the food in Coach is worse than awful for low-carbers – all processed, all high carb. Requesting a special meal is a thing of the past (although a few years back I found out the hard way the a Diabetic meal was not low carb). This summer we flew from San Diego to the UK, but could only get frequent flyer seats in First/Business class for myself & son (my husband bought a seat in Coach because it was paid for by the organization that had invited him to speak). Up front, we ate very well and were treated like royalty (especially on Swiss Air). In back, my husband had surly flight attendants (maybe they aren’t fed, either) and the worst possible food options (which were also in skimpy portions, even on the overseas segment). I brought my cheese desert back to him :-). He flies a lot to international scientific meetings and isn’t always able to upgrade on the long journeys, so I prepare a few bags of nuts & jerky in the event that he is stuck without many good options. If they ban those, he is hosed.
    Of course, now my 8 yo son has the “good life” up front in the plane etched in his brain and won’t shut up about it whenever flying is mentioned. He had better not get used to it. The ff miles won’t go far if we use them that way all the time :-(. He did notice and comment that many of the fellow passengers up front left their trash all over place. That got a smile/smirk from one of the “surly” flight attendants.
    Ciao,
    Anna
    Hi Anna–
    We avoided that mistake when our kids were still at home–we never, ever let them fly first class because we knew what would happen.
    MD and I never trade in our miles for free tickets; we always use them to upgrade.  They last a lot longer that way and we continue to collect the miles for future upgrades.  And we also have only credit cards that give us miles, so we can add to our stash whenever we spend for anything.  I’ll tip my hat to your husband because I refuse to make a transcontinental flight unless I go at least Business Class.  We plan way ahead and set our trips based on availability.  If someone wants one of us (or both) to speak, First or Business Class to get there is part of the price.
    On coach, which we do fly often domestically, we always take our own nuts and jerky.  The last domestic coach flight we took (back from Dallas) we dined magnificently on nuts and bloody marys.  We would indeed be hosed if those were banned.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does stuff like this! It’s always revealing to compare people’s physiques with what’s in their grocery carts, for example.
    This illustrates a problem with high carb foods–they tend to be calorically dense. Most people would be shocked to find out how many calories and g of carbs are in a large bowl of pasta or breakfast cereal, for example.
    Hi Paul–
    They would be even more shocked to find out how much sugar all this pasta and cereal converted to in their own GI tracts. It’s easy to get the equivalent of 10-20 teaspoons of sugar in such a meal. When you consider that a normal blood sugar represents only one teaspoon of dissolved sugar, you realize what a metabolic load all this pasta and cereal puts on your pancreas. No wonder diabetes is at epidemic proportions.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  9. The snack packs usually consist of all carbs (if it’s breakfast) or 75% carbs (other meals). On the last flight I took on United I managed to get pepperoni slices, a tiny block of cheese and a small cup of sugar-free applesauce out of the five-dollar snack pack, chucking the crackers, pretzels and cookies. And that was the “healthy” box. Insert eyeroll here.
    Hi Patricia–
    Eyes rolled on cue.  The last time I had a ‘healthy’ breakfast snack pack I got a large muffin, a banana, a box of Special K, and a granola bar.  Try counting the carbs up in that mess.  I should have opted for the ‘unhealthy’ pack–I probably would have gotten a boiled egg.
    Cheer–
    MRE

  10. I’ve seen the snack packs. I don’t remember exactly what was in them, but none of the stuff was low-carb friendly. I bring my own food now.
    I’ve never flown first class but it’s on my list of “thing to do before I die.”
    Hi Victoria–
    If you want to fly first class at a substantial discount, fly somewhere on Spirit Airlines.  They are based in Detroit, but fly all over the place.  Their first class tickets are cheaper than most airlines coach tickets.  You have to book through Spirit, though, because Travelocity and the other ticket outlets don’t book Spirit flights.  MD and I fly them whenever we can and have always had good experiences.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  11. ” They give you plastic knives in the restaurant…?
    Cheers–
    MRE ”
    yes they do… being in terminal C at Newark, after the security screening, yes, sadly, you have to gnaw thru your steak with a sad little plastic knife. The knife they give you is a sturdy one, but its not really up to the task… but given the situation, you take what you can get and you are damn gratefull… a lovely steak and a nice glass of wine makes the flight just a bit more pleasant, of course
    Hi Fritz–
    I suppose a plastic knife is a small price to pay for decent food beyond the security gates.
    Thanks for the info.
    MRE

  12. I didn’t even begin liking pasta until I began gaining weight, come to think of it. Dr. E. many cures for diseases such as yellow fever were cured by observations.
    Did you ever blog about coconut oil?
    Hi Mary–
    I can’t help but thinking of the Yogi Berra quote: “You can see a lot just by looking.”
    I don’t know if I’ve ever posted specifically on coconut oil, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a few times.  It’s one of the mainstays of our cooking.  MD uses it for everything.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  13. I’m grinning thinking about all of us getting on one flight with our homepacked boiled eggs … major sulfur smell :-). Banned on future flights for sure!
    Anna
    Hi Anna–
    I probably wouldn’t try it.  Unless forced, of course, by some new TSA idiocy that resulted in a ban of my jerky and nut staples.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  14. Continuing the “overweight people and what they eat” theme, I was grocery shopping Saturday night when I passed by a morbidly obese woman getting into line with her basket. I tried to look and see what she was buying. I could only make out one item – a HUGE tub of whipped topping. Yike – a trans-fat and sugar nightmare! No wonder she was obese. I’ll bet anything the rest of her basket was also full of carbohydrate frankenfoods.
    My purchases – beef, vegetables, eggs, and bacon. 🙂
    Hi Victoria–
    I always like to compare what’s in shopping carts to the people pushing them whenever I can’t get out of going to the grocery store with MD.  Overweight people always seem to have their carts loaded with just what we all know keeps them overweight: carbs, carbs, carbs.
    Best–
    MRE

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