Does eating ice cream for breakfast make you smarter?

Does eating ice cream for breakfast make you smarter?

Indulging in ice cream for breakfast may sound absurd to you, but a recent study claims eating the sweet treat in the early a.m. may actually improve cognitive function.

A Japanese professor made the assessment after examining the brain activity of clinical trial participants after they ate ice cream directly after waking up. Compared to the group who had not consumed ice cream, the individuals had quicker reaction times and information processing capabilities.

Krista Ryan, clinical outcomes nurse in heart and vascular quality at the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center, explains why this was the case.

“Any high sugar treat will create an energy and alertness boost—especially when compared to not eating at all. The important difference between ice cream and a balanced, nutrient-dense breakfast can be found some time after the initial post prandial period. That is, ice cream will initially spike blood sugar levels, leaving many people with sluggish energy levels and mental fogginess after the ‘sugar buzz,’” she says.

Diets high in refined sugar have been linked to poor cardiovascular health. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that a heavy sugar diet increases chances of death for people of all weights. The study found that individuals for whom 25 percent of their daily caloric intake was sugar were two times more likely to die from heart disease compared to people whose caloric intake was less than 10 percent of added sugar.

Put down that ice cream carton – Krista offers this balanced breakfast idea:

  • Healthy pancakes:
    • One egg
    • One banana
    • 1 tbsp almond butter

Mash up the banana. Mix the ingredients and cook just like a typical pancake. For a carbohydrate boost or to thicken the consistency, feel free to add oats to the batter. “Eggs offer protein, fat and vitamins, almond butter provides protein and fat and banana offers a natural sugar boost without the ‘buzz,’” she says.

“Or, if you’re looking for an ice cream alternative, try blending banana and almond butter. Pour it into a container and freeze. Feel free to add cocoa powder or fruits, too,” she says.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.