LIFESTYLE

Eating Ice Cream For Breakfast Makes You Smarter, Scientist Claims

But is it too good to be true?

24/11/2016 6:10 PM IST | Updated 05/12/2016 5:12 PM IST
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Eating ice cream for breakfast can make you smarter and improve your performance in tasks, a Japanese scientist has claimed. 

Yoshihiko Koga, a professor at Tokyo’s Kyorin University, carried out a series of trials in which participants completed mental exercises on a computer. 

He found participants’ performances improved after eating ice cream immediately after waking up.

Although Chunky Monkey fans may welcome his findings, British nutritionists have warned against incorporating ice cream into your morning routine.

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Prof Koga split participants into two groups and asked both to complete a series of mentally challenging tests on a computer immediately after waking up.

One group was instructed to eat ice cream before starting the tests and the other was not.

Prof Koga monitored the brain activity of participants and found the ice cream-eaters had an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, The Telegraph reports.

These waves are linked to increased levels of alertness and Prof Koga found participants who ate ice cream had a better overall performance than those who had not.

To test whether the cold nature of ice cream was behind the results, Prof Koga repeated the test with cold water instead of ice cream. 

While cold water was found to improve participants’ performances slightly, it did not have as noticeable an effect as ice cream, he said.  

Despite the findings, British nutritionists are sceptical about Prof Koga’s conclusions.

Nutritionist Jo Travers, author of The Low-Fad Diet, told The Huffington Post UK there are “a few reasons why eating ice cream might perk you up in the mornings”.

“For one, it is pretty novel to have ice cream for breakfast and this might cause some excitement in our brains,” she said.

“There is nothing exciting about cold water for breakfast so I’m not surprised ice cream was more stimulating.

“Another thing is that your brain will be receiving nutrients when you eat ice cream, including glucose - it’s preferred fuel - and that might also have an affect on reaction times.”

Nutrition consultant Charlotte Stirling-Reed, from SR Nutrition, also told HuffPost UK she “certainly wouldn’t” recommend ice cream for breakfast.

“It’s possible that the effect of the sugar from the ice cream could have had an affect on the brain in the morning in these participants,” she said.

“However, it’s better to go for a slow release food in the morning to give you sustained energy rather than a quick peak of energy which you’re more likely to get with ice cream.”

Instead, she recommended eating a breakfast of porridge and fruit, salmon or scrambled free range egg on toast, or whole grain, low sugar breakfast cereals. 

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