Does ice cream for breakfast make you smarter?

It seems unlikely, but it makes a good headline, as many news outlets have learned in the last week.

Websites from Yahoo! to Newsweek to Refinery29 have taken a study from Japanese website Excite News, published Nov. 17.

I must confess I can't read Japanese, and Google Translate --try as it might -- can't be perfect in changing grammar forms from one language to another. But it appears the study suggests ice cream moved the brain out of a relaxed sleep state into a more alert state.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the study shows those who ate ice cream immediately after waking showed "faster reaction times and better information-processing capabilities" than their control group counterparts.

Professor Yoshihiko Koga from Kyorin University in Japan conducted the study, and tried to replicate the ice cream bump with ice-cold water, thinking it was the temperature that shocked the brain into a jump start. But The Telegraph reported that while water did provide a slight boost, it did not reach the same level as ice cream.

Katie Barfoot, a nutritional psychology doctoral researcher at Reading University, told The Telegraph that the simple fact that the ice cream group had eaten something for breakfast may have helped.

""Our brain needs glucose to function, and a high glucose meal will aid mental capacity considerably compared to a fasted brain," she said. "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."

Now, it's fair to question studies and stories written about them, because the standards for publishing are often unknown, and publicity often incentivizes pushing limits to publish before more solid conclusions are made.

But it's also fair to use this as a reason to treat yourself. Mornings are hard.

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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