Why a floating breakfast may be fancy, but not healthy!Updated on: 18 September 2021, 15:46 pm IST
If you’re a social media junkie, chances are you’ve had your fill of people’s travel diaries with those ‘oh so fancy’ snapshots of the floating breakfast experience. Offering that ‘luxury’ element has become quite a tick in the box activity for tourists at resorts and villas across the world. And among travelers, the trend has made quite a splash! But let’s take a moment to contemplate whether eating in a swimming pool is really a good idea or not?
What is a floating breakfast?
The name says it all, but just to give you a primer, it is an evolution of the ‘breakfast in bed’ concept at hotels to ‘breakfast in the pool’. These are mostly popular in places like Bali, Greece, Thailand, Maldives and Fiji, which have picturesque azure blue water and upscale resorts which have private plunge pools, et al.
You get toasts, cornflakes, cold cuts or sandwiches, fruits, coffee/tea and what not in a large platter or basket, all aesthetically placed and topped with accessories. All in all, the idea is to make it a perfect ‘Insta-worthy’ shot when you stand beside it in the pool with your best swimwear on.
The concept has been around for a while, but it has gained more traction especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, given how tourists have been heading to places like Maldives, and preferring to avoid buffet dining.
Is it worth it?
Yes, some of the most exotic locations promise the most breathtaking morning views along with the ‘breakfast in the pool’, and it all feels like it’s really worth it. But perhaps for one time!
For starters, a travel enthusiast who has experienced it first-hand, tells us that it’s a pain to try and hold on to the tray with one hand, and eat with another. Or else, it floats!
But since we’re here to deliberate on the ‘healthy’ quotient of a floating breakfast considering how we have been conditioned not to swim or go into the water after a meal, we got in touch with two nutrition experts.
Acclaimed nutritionist Kavita Devgan sets the record straight: “Even though floating breakfast seems like a novel relaxing idea, it isn’t necessarily good for our health.”
“Swimming isn’t the best way to settle a full stomach. In fact, it is best to get into the pool at least an hour after you eat something. Plus, most likely if you eat as you move about in the pool, what you eat is not likely to be digested well.”
Since time immemorial, there has been a lot of concern about combining swimming and eating in water.
Functional Nutritionist Manjari Chandra steers attention to the physiological aspect of how the body focuses all its energy and resources to digest, assimilate and absorb food as efficiently as possible.
Therefore, she says, “Eating itself is not just an act to satisfy hunger but it is also to nourish the body and the mind. With more and more focus on intuitive eating and mindful eating, it is always a good idea to eat in a setting where you can monitor and control the type and amount of food consumed. That is the reason there has been advice to not mix food with pleasure and watching television.”
Is it a health hazard?
There’s nothing wrong with gorging on a floating breakfast as long as it is limited to once or twice.
Chandra explains, “A water body such as a swimming pool can be a serious source of infection with various waterborne bacteria.”
- Eating in a swimming pool increases your chances of food-borne infections such as Clostridium, Pseudomonas, Escherichia coli (E. coli).
- Also, the pool water has chemicals such as chlorine, bromine, hydrochloric acid. These chemicals are added to disinfect or kill microorganisms in the water.
“The swimming pool water is not meant for drinking because of these chemicals. Eating in the pool may cause a person to consume the pool water, taking in these harmful chemicals,” Chandra says.
All in all, she concedes that while social media pictures of breakfast in the pool look highly appealing and desirable, looking at the health aspect and the associated chance of infection, “the concept is not a viable or preferred one”.
To float or not to float?
Devgan has a last, health-friendly word: “Breakfast is a very important meal. Sit and eat, and then float as much as you want!”