food

So it turns out ice cream for breakfast can have big health benefits.

This morning I rocked up at work and chucked my oats into the microwave to make some porridge with blueberries sprinkled on top. Because it’s healthy. And everyone knows a nutritious breakfast is the best way to get your day off to a good start, right? Right?

According to a new study, I would’ve been better off scoffing down a few scoops of neapolitan ice cream.

Yes, ice cream – that cold, delightful delicacy usually reserved for one very important ‘meal’ only: dessert.

Japanese professor Yoshihiko Koga from Kyorin University in Tokyo conducted an experiment in which subjects were required to eat three spoonfuls of ice cream immediately after waking up (seriously, where does one sign up for this dream job highly important contribution to society?). (Post continues after gallery.)

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The (now very happy) subjects were then required to complete mental exercises on a computer.

The delicious result?

Compared to the poor buggers who didn’t get to consume any of the icy goods, or anything at all for that matter, the ice cream eaters were shown to have not only better information processing capabilities but quicker reaction times too.

Plus, brain waves measured during the experiment showed those who’d eaten the ice cream had an increase in alpha waves which are linked to relaxation and concentration.

ice cream
Image: iStock.
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So basically we can all conclude that ice cream makes you more intelligent. The end.

Uh, I urge you not to read past this point if you’ve already bulk bought a 10 litre tub of creamy goodness...

To check if cold temperatures, not ice cream alone, were the key to better mental alertness, Professor Koga conducted the same test but with cold water. While the subjects did show promising signs it was less pronounced as it was with ice cream. Ice cream - one, cold things - zero.

This, however, could have just been down to the fact that the lucky ice cream eaters had something, anything, for breakfast. 

On The Well, Robin Bailey speaks with Bec Sparrow about her complex relationship with what she chooses to - and what she chooses not to - put in her mouth.

"A possible explanation [for increased alertness]... is the simple presence of consuming breakfast vs. not consuming breakfast," Katie Barfoot, a Nutritional Psychology Doctoral Researcher at Reading University, told The Telegraph UK.

“Our brain needs glucose to function, and a high glucose meal will aid mental capacity considerably compared to a fasted brain. This, however, does not condone eating dessert for breakfast. A study which explores the interaction between consumption of low and high GI foods, whilst including a fasted group, would establish a better understanding of this increased mental capacity."

Ugh, experts and their annoying facts. Post continues after gallery.

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Don’t lose faith in the powers of ice cream just yet. In 2005, neuroscientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in London decided to scan the brains of people eating vanilla ice cream.

Unsurprisingly, they found it had an instant effect of parts of the brain that activate when people feel pleasure.

Can you imagine the results had they been given peppermint choc chip flavour?

Farewell porridge, it’s been nice knowing you.

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