Should a serving of cookies and cream be on your breakfast table?
Considering all the scary images that the words “clinical trial” can conjure up, the participants in a recent experiment carried out by Yoshihiko Koga must have felt pretty lucky. Koga, a professor at Tokyo’s Kyorin University, is a specialist in psychophysiology, including the potential stress-relieving and anti-aging benefits of food choices.
As part of a joint study with a major Japanese confectionery producer, Koga had a group of test subjects eat ice cream right after waking up in the morning. The immediate effect, no doubt, was to make Koga every participant’s best friend. Of greater scientific importance, though, was that the subjects’ brains exhibited an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are connected to enhanced alertness and reduced mental irritation.
Ice cream for breakfast sounds like a kid’s dream come true, but Koga’s results suggest benefits for working adults as well. After their morning ice cream, participants were made to do a series of exercises using a PC, and displayed faster reaction times and superior information processing capabilities compared to the ice cream-less control group.
Of course, ice cream, by its very nature, has to be served freezing cold, so some might speculate that the morning mental boost was simply the result of shocking the brain into an awakened state with a low-temperature stimulus. So Koga repeated the experiment, subbing cold water for ice cream, and while he did notice some mental benefits, the effect was smaller than what he’d observed in the ice cream group.
However, Koga has yet to announce any concrete connection between the brain boost the ice cream provides and any specific ingredient found in the treat. As such, it’s possible that the same effect could be produced by starting the day with some other sort of pleasurable activity, such as light exercise, a quick video game session, or reading RocketNews24.
It’s also worth noting that Koga isn’t recommending you roll out of bed and plow through a whole carton of Häagen-Dazs (no matter how tempting that new banana caramel cookie flavor sounds). The experiment participants were given three spoonfuls of ice cream for their morning ration, so you might need to gauge your willpower before trying to repeat Koga’s results.
Scientists have yet to determine the mental benefits of following Casey on Twitter, but he assures you that they’re immense.