A couple of months ago, I read a few articles about a research study that indicated that eating ice cream for breakfast could make you smarter. You might have read the stories, too, as they were all over Facebook (and other social sources) for a couple of days at the end of last year. I also saw a couple of articles that pointed out that ice cream might not be the healthiest breakfast and questioned the validity of the study. The reports of the study said that researchers found an increased alertness and reaction time amoung subjects that ate ice cream for breakfast vs subjects that did not. They also gave some subjects cold water, which elicited an increased alertness, but not to the point that the ice cream did.
One study is not enough to really recommend eating ice cream for breakfast, but it makes sense that a cold, sugary food would help you to wake up and give you a burst of energy soon after waking up. In the spirit of research, I decided to have a little fun and run my own (decidedly non-scientific) test to see how I felt. I decided to eat just one scoop of ice cream each morning for breakfast – usually with (black) coffee, which I always have in the mornings – for two weeks and see how I felt. I did not eat any of the breakfast foods I might usually reach for in addition to the ice cream, but waited until close to lunch to eat anything else.
Immediately, I liked the novelty of the project. As much as I love toast, it was fun to look forward to a scoop of ice cream in the morning. I mixed things up with different flavors, as well as with store-bought and homemade ice creams. Several mornings I had an affogato instead of a scoop of ice cream with coffee on the side. I mostly ate vanilla, mint chocolate chip, cookies n’ cream and coffee ice cream during my trial.
While ice cream is high in fat and relatively high in sugar (compared to some breakfast options, though many premium ice creams don’t have as much sugar as you might think), the cold was the main difference between having a sweetened latte and ice cream for breakfast. I felt that the cold did perk me up and give me a little bit of a boost in the morning. The boost was definitely an improvement over mornings where I skip breakfast, and I did generally feel like I “woke up” sooner than with some other breakfast foods. Surprisingly, the ice cream was also very satisfying and held me over very well, even though I ate consistently small portions.
This is completely anecdotal evidence, but I actually think that the ice cream turned out to be a pretty good morning option for me. I felt energized, yet sated, when I indulged in ice cream and I think it improved my morning mood. I don’t think I’ll give up eggs, toast and oatmeal completely, but I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to treat myself to a scoop of ice cream for breakfast instead. Especially if I have a particularly good flavor in the freezer.