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Why Is Airplane Food So Bad?

From the Show: Health Radio
Summary: According to a study, eating food while on an airplane influences how it tastes.
Air Date: 9/25/15
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Robin Dando, PhD
Robin DandoThe bulk of Robin Dando's training prior to joining Cornell has been in Physics, Physiology and Neuroscience.

He works on the basic interactions between your body and the food you consume, and how this shapes your preference. The mammalian taste system consists of many complex events which take a simple receptor activation at the taste bud, to a rich and emotional response such as that elicited by our favorite foods.

As yet little is known about the true nature or depth of these interactions. Dando's lab uses state of the art biological techniques to elucidate the nature of some of these processes, and how they can in turn be swayed by factors such as our body's physiology, an illness, or even by our mood.
Why Is Airplane Food So Bad?
Whether it's for vacation or for work, traveling can be an exciting time.

However, if you're stuck on a long flight, you may have to suffer with the dreaded airline food.

Why does airplane food always seem to taste so bad?

In a recent study by Cornell University, 48 people were handed a variety of solutions that were filled with five basic tastes; bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and savory.

First the participants tasted the solutions blindfolded, and then again but with headphones that had roughly 85 different noises that mimicked sounds of a plane (jet engine, etc.).

Researchers found that when an environment has loud noise, the taste of your food can be compromised. In the study, there wasn't that much of a change in how the salty, bitter, and sour solution tasted, but researchers found there was a difference in how the sweet solution tasted.

Listen in as Robin Dando, PhD, shares why food always tastes different on an airplane and the other factors that can influence how you perceive taste.