One discovery that’s giving nutritionists and dieticians the shivers comes from a Japanese scientist who is claiming that eating ice cream for breakfast can improve a person’s mental performance. The study, which was carried out by Yoshihiko Koga, who is a professor at Kyorin University, Tokyo, tested the mental responses of participants who ate ice cream immediately after waking up. Here’s what they study discovered.

Mental Exercises

The Telegraph reports that professor Koga gave the participants ice cream and observed them in clinical trials. After eating the ice cream, the group was then put through a series of mental exercises using a computer.

According to the study, the group that had woken up to an ice cream treat exhibited better brain performance, faster reaction times, and were quicker at processing information compared to the group that didn’t consume ice cream. Professor Koga monitored their brain activities and reports that the results revealed “an increase in high-frequency alpha waves,” which are associated with the increased levels of alertness and a reduction in mental irritation. And to prove that the increase in high-frequency alpha waves was not as a result of the brain being shocked by the low temperature of the ice cream, professor Koga replaced the ice cream with cold water.

While participants who took cold water showed an increase in brain activity, it was not as pronounced as those caused by ice cream.

The Ice Cream Myth

Scientists are warning against adopting this diet fad. Jo Travers, a nutritionist, and author of the Low-Fad Diet says that there might be a few reasons explaining the increase in brain performance after eating an ice cream breakfast.

  • First, the thought of having ice cream the first thing when you wake up in the morning is exciting. This will definitely stimulate our brains and the anticipation will cause an increase in brain activity.
  • With regards to the group that drank water instead of eating ice cream, Jo Travers reports that there’s nothing exciting about drinking water as the first treat of the day.
  • Lastly, Jo adds that ice cream provides your brain with glucose, which is the more preferred fuel, and that might have an impact on your reaction times.

When you closely analyze what ice cream does to your body, you can understand the sudden spike in alertness and mental capabilities. The sugar in the ice cream is sure to have an effect on your brain. Krista Ryan, who is a clinical outcomes nurse in heart and vascular quality at the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center, further explains that “Any high sugar treat will create an energy and alertness boost – especially when compared to not eating at all.” The major disadvantage of a sugar-loaded breakfast is that the spike in blood sugar levels is only momentary, and will leave you feeling fatigued, sluggish and with mental fogginess the rest of the day. Unlike having ice cream or other high-sugar diets for breakfast, a nutrient-dense food will leave you feeling satiated and energetic throughout the day.

What Ice Cream Does to Your Health

This study should not be an excuse to eat ice cream, especially if you’re concerned about your health. One of the key criticism that this study fails to mention is the overall effects of ramping up your body with highly refined sugars. While the short-term effects of the cold and sugary ice cream will perk you up, doing this regularly will take a toll on your waistline and health. Here are some of the effects of ice cream on your health:


The initial energy boost provided by the sugar in ice cream may seem exciting. Sadly, this is only short-lived, and once it wears off, it creates an imbalance in blood sugar levels, which can leave you feeling depressed. This could lead to poor concentration, blurred vision, fatigue, and irritability.

Weight Gain

You don’t need to read internet stories or watch the news to know that the rate of obesity is soaring. A high sugar drink or food only increases your cravings for more glucose. This will drive you to consume a high number of calories, leading to weight gain.

High Risk of Developing Acne

Highly refined carbs, including sugary drinks and foods, have been shown to increase your chances of developing acne. Since ice cream is made from a highly processed sugar, it has a high glycemic index and will raise your blood sugar compared to foods with a low glycemic index. Plus, foods with high sugar content quickly spike your insulin and blood sugar levels. This increase androgen secretion, inflammation, and oil production, all of which are likely to trigger acne.


Research shows that there is a direct link between excessive sugar intake and diabetes. Over consumption of sugar also leads to insulin resistance, which causes blood sugar levels to rise, increasing your risk of diabetes.

Food for Thought

Eating ice cream for breakfast should not be advocated in the health and nutrition world for the simple reason that sugar is never good for our health. With the world fighting to reduce obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, all of which may cause early deaths, such incomplete and one-sided studies should be buried and forgotten. To keep your health at optimal levels, always eat fresh fruits and vegetables to get the whole nutrients and fiber, which play a huge role in your overall health and wellbeing.

All images by Pixabay


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