A Japanese Scientist named Yoshihiko Koga, who is a professor at Tokyo’s Kyorin University and specialises in psychophysiology, has made a discovery which could change the way we look at dessert—specifically ice cream. Professor Koga studies the link between food and stress levels, which led him to perform a series of tests in order to determine the effects of eating ice cream for breakfast.
In the test, one set of test subjects ate ice cream first thing in the morning and the other set of test subjects did not eat anything. The test revealed that the subjects who ate ice cream upon waking showed a remarkably higher increase in high-frequency alpha waves in the brain, than those who ate nothing.
Alpha waves are responsible for alertness and are linked to lowered mental irritation; lowered mental irritation leaves the subjects feeling relaxed and stress free. This is a clear indication that eating ice cream for breakfast improved the subjects’ focus which would result in a higher standard of work.
Sceptics could argue that these effects are only present because ice cream is cold and the sudden contact with something cold does have a “pick me up” effect on the brain. Professor Koga set out to disprove this criticism and performed the test again.
This time one test group drank an ice cold glass of water for breakfast and the other test group did not eat or drink anything. The test group who drank the cold water did show a slight increase in mental awareness and focus; however, the increase was not as drastic, nor as impressive, as that seen in the test subjects who ate ice cream for breakfast.
There have been other sceptics who have argued that the test subjects, who experienced increased brain function, only experienced these effects because they ate breakfast—versus the other test subjects who performed the test in a fasted state. The argument that a fasted brain does not function at the same level of a brain which has been fed could hold true.
It is well-known that ice cream contains sugars and has a high glycemic index (G.I.). When food is considered high G.I., it is absorbed into the blood very quickly and spikes the blood sugar levels. A spike in the blood sugar level increases energy levels which could be responsible for ice cream’s effect on the brain. But does ice cream really make you smarter than eating a different, low G.I., breakfast?
In order to draw a definitive conclusion on the specific benefits of ice cream, Professor Koga would have to perform another series of tests with three sets of test subjects: one set of test subjects would eat ice cream for breakfast, another test group would eat a low G.I. breakfast, and another test group would eat nothing. Those test results should reveal the specific benefits of eating ice cream for breakfast in place of another breakfast.
Ice cream has been linked to the pleasure receptor in our brains, which fires up when we eat it, and this could also be responsible for the increase in brain function. It is evident that eating ice cream for breakfast has a positive effect on the brain, however, ice cream is not considered a healthy breakfast option, by nutritionists, and the benefits that it has on the brain would not be matched by the effects on the waistline and overall health. There have been other tests in which subjects have lost weight when eating cake for breakfast, so indulging a craving early in the morning could have many more benefits than one would have thought.