In my last post I provided a list of the foods and drinks that you should definitely avoid when flying. And it might seem that after going through that list that your options are so limited that you’re better off eating nothing. Guess what, you could be right.

A study, published in The Journal of Science in 2008, revealed that fasting up to 16 hours before flying can actually help to prevent jet lag.  The study was done on lab rats and has not been directly linked to humans yet, but the explanation behind the findings definitely makes sense: Usually, it’s light that triggers an internal clock that controls when we eat and sleep, as discussed in a previous post about the circadian rhythm. But according to the study, a second clock, which is based on hunger, seems to override the first when the body senses that food is in short supply. So researchers believe we might be able to faster adjust to time zone changes by manipulating this second clock.

Basically, if you make your body think it’s starving, you’ll be able to remain awake and alert until dinner time in your new destination, which would then reset your body’s original circadian rhythm based on the light.

Have you ever tried this method? Let us know if it worked for you.

Author: Derek Giannetti
Derek Giannetti, a guest contributor to the Healthy Travel blog, is an upcoming junior at Ursinus College where he plays football and studies Exercise and Sports Science. Upon graduation, Derek hopes to pursue a career in Health and Physical Education.

Photo by Gin Fizz.


About The Author


  1. I’ve been flying by air for years on a monthly basis and never experienced the jet lag. On the other hand, I rarely eat during flights! 🙂

  2. This actually makes perfect sense after I read it. If it helps with jet lag, I’m definitely going to attempt it in my next flight. I’m hoping to hit Japan next year, so this should definitely come in handy! Thank you 🙂

  3. This article would help a lot of travelers handle jet lag. If info is true, taking morning flight would be easier because there is nothing in stomach before travelling.

  4. Interesting tactics. Never thought of that approach but there is logic in the theory. Jet lag can be tricky especially when you travel east since you are “losing” time

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