Ice cream for breakfast, is it too good to be true? According to Yoshihiko Koga, a professor at Tokyo’s Kyorin University, it’s not. He claims that people who eat ice cream for breakfast have faster reaction times and are better at processing information, Excite News reported.
Professor Yoshihiko Koga is an expert in psychophysiology which studies the interaction between the body and the mind. His research mainly focuses on the effect of certain foods and scents on stress as well as anti-aging. According to Excite News, Professor Koga has found that people who eat ice cream for breakfast have increased brainwave activity.
The Japanese scientist asked his test subjects to eat a few spoonfuls of ice cream in the morning and had them complete mental exercises on a computer right after they consumed the frozen treat. After examination of the data, he found that his subject’s brains exhibited an increase in high-frequency alpha waves which are associated with concentration, relaxation, and mental coordination.
In a separate study, he analyzed the brain waves and mental alertness of those who had a more normal breakfast and discovered that when compared to the ice cream group, this group did not show an improvement when it comes to processing new information.
When Professor Yoshihiko Koga realized that the effect of improved mental alertness could be due the cold temperatures that send a shock through the brain to wake it up and make a person feel more alert, he set up another experiment where he asked volunteers to have ice-cold water upon waking. He reported that people who had drunk the cold filtered water did show some level of increased mental performance and alertness. However, the effect was not as pronounced as with the ice cream eaters. To the Professor, this was clear evidence for ice cream’s brain-boosting powers.
Professor Yoshihiko Koga hasn’t been the first to make the connection between ice cream and a mental boost. The Telegraph reported on a 2005 study where neuroscientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London scanned the brains of volunteers as they ate vanilla ice cream and saw immediate results. The British researchers found that consuming ice cream activated the same pleasure spots of the brain that are also activated when people win money or listen to their favorite piece of music.
Not long after the story that claimed eating ice cream for breakfast will make you smarter went viral on the internet, Business Insider published their side of the story. They said that there is just no good reason to believe there’s any truth to this claim.
First, besides the four-paragraph article on the Japanese website Excite News, there is no other link to be found to the original study by Professor Yoshihiko Koga. Furthermore, Excite News mentioned that the research was conducted in partnership with a mysterious, unnamed sweets company, which will undoubtfully gain by the news that sugary treats for breakfast are healthy.
Katie Barfoot, a Nutritional Psychology Doctoral Researcher at Reading University, said that a possible explanation for increased alertness is the mere presence of consuming breakfast versus not consuming breakfast. She added that our brain needs glucose to function, and a high glucose or sugary meal, such as ice cream, will aid mental capacity considerably compared to a fasted brain.
However, this does not condone eating dessert for breakfast. According to Katie, a study which explores the interaction between the consumption of low and high GI foods, while including a fasted group, would establish a better understanding of this increased mental capacity.
Nonetheless, various new sites have repeated the claim based on one dodgy Japanese study without even mentioning the very real dangers of sugar on our health. So while it is a fun story, the Natural News team does not recommend eating sugary treats such as ice cream for breakfast.