Holiday Garb. The Aerobatics Crew Dressed in White
Should you take off after a glass of milk and a slice of cheesecake? Dairy products rule the Jewish holiday, ‘Shavuot’, but the pilots of the force know that there are clear rules of what they should and should not eat before flights. Do cheesecakes pass the Aerial Medical Unit’s test?
In the spirit of Shavuot, thousands in Israeli homes whiff the wonderful scents of cheesecake and other baked goods. But can IAF pilots enjoy this opulence, or are they supposed to avoid dairy before takeoff? The Aerial Medical Unit has all the answers.
“Dairy is definitely an important addition to a meal”, explains the dietician of the clinical division of the unit, Sivan Abott-Barkan. “The protein in dairy products supplies a variety of minerals and vitamins, the most important of which is calcium. Adequate calcium consumption is crucial for bone and dental health at every age and at every stage of life, including amongst pilots”.
Depends on the Cheese
“That said, we don’t recommend consuming regular milk and curd before flying”, adds Sivan. “In some of the planes, at takeoff the air pressure alters and the body needs to get rid of extraneous gas. Milk and curd can increase the amount of gas and cause problems in the digestive system. That said, every sandwich with cottage cheese, “Tzfat” cheese or American cheese is openly accepted.
The recommendation is to enjoy dairy products as an addition to the meal, while the main component of the meal should consist of complex carbohydrates. Incorporating protein into the meal allows long-term satisfaction–at least until the pilots’ feet meet the ground again.
What is important is not to consume large amounts of fatty cheeses before taking off, since the large fat quantities can weigh the pilot down”.
Cheesecakes–yes or no?
“Before flying, it is recommended to satisfy hunger with carbohydrates and sugar”, says Commander of the Aerial Medical Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Yuval. “Cheesecake has these components, and it also brings a smile to the face of the pilot”.