Here’s some news that will be as unsurprising to you as it will be utterly delightful: Eating ice cream for breakfast apparently gives you a significant boost to your mental performance and your alertness.
On the face of it, though, this seems like a no-brainer. Only monsters dislike ice cream, and if we could, we’d eat it as often as possible. We know this would be bad for us, but what if we had a little for breakfast instead? Isn’t that better than just boring toast? It’d certainly put a sugary spring in our step, so to speak.
However, after a little digging through the wilderness of the World Wide Web, it appears there’s more to this story than a simple cognitive quick-fix. As was pointed out by Business Insider when this marvelous-sounding piece of information went viral last year, the original study that the claim is based on cannot be found – at least not in English.
Despite being espoused by tabloids and broadsheets and online media outlets up and down the planet, everyone seems to be citing just one website – Excite.co.jp – without finding a link to the study itself. Try as we might, we can’t find it either, which makes us a little more suspect. Considering the claim is doing the rounds online again, we thought we should probably clarify that.
According to various reports written last year, Kyorin University professor Yoshihiko Koga – who does exist – has apparently claimed that there’s a scientific basis to it too. In what must have been a rather thrilling experiment to be involved in, participants were mandated to eat three spoonfuls of ice cream first thing in the morning.
They were then asked to complete a number of mental exercises, and compared to a control group, those that ate ice cream had a faster reaction time. They even appeared to demonstrate an increase in specific neural activity tied to concentration and mental coordination.
Koga reportedly tried giving one group very cold water to drink to shock them into being more alert, and although it made some difference, ice cream appeared to be the greatest stimulant.
Here’s the kicker: The control group didn’t eat a “normal” breakfast – they didn’t actually eat breakfast at all. So it seems more likely to us that the reason the ice cream group did better was because they actually ate breakfast, and had the energy required to complete the tasks as normal.
So what we have here is a missing study that, if real, seems pretty flawed. We hate to break it to you, but it looks like you shouldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast after all – unless you want a pricier dental bill, that is.