Eating Ice Cream for Breakfast Provides Mental Boost

January 23, 2017

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. series / ˈsɪər iz / (n.) – a sequence of things that belong to a certain group
Example: My favorite author released a series of fantasy novels.

2. rule out / ˈrul aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to eliminate something from a list of possible reasons or options
Example: After examining the food, the doctor ruled out food poisoning as the cause of her illness.

3. display / dɪˈspleɪ / (v.) – to show
Example: He displayed great joy when I told him the good news.

4. scan / skæn / (v.) – to examine the inside of a body part using a piece of equipment
Example: The doctor scanned his stomach to see what’s causing the pain.

5. rouse / raʊz / (v.) – to cause someone or something to become active
Example: Coffee helps rouse her every morning.


Read the text below.
Eating ice cream for breakfast can improve people’s alertness and mental performance, a scientist claims.

Yoshihiko Koga, a professor at Kyorin University in Tokyo, conducted a series of experiments to see the effects of starting the day with ice cream. In his study, participants were required to eat three spoonfuls of ice cream immediately upon waking up in the morning. Afterward, they were asked to complete a number of mental exercises using a computer.

The results of the exercises showed that compared to another group who did not eat ice cream, participants who ate the dessert exhibited faster reaction times and better information-processing skills.

To rule out the possibility that the participants’ reactions were simply the effect of ice cream’s coldness, Koga repeated the experiment and replaced ice cream with cold water. Results of the second experiment showed that the participants who drank cold water also displayed increased alertness and mental performance. However, the level of alertness they showed were lower than those who had ice cream.

Aside from boosting mental performance, ice cream may also improve a person’s mood, according to a previous study carried out by Unilever ˈyu niˈli vər /, a multinational consumer goods company.

To investigate how ice cream affects the brain, neuroscientists from the Institute of Psychology in London scanned the brains of the participants while they were eating vanilla ice cream. The scans showed that eating ice cream roused the part of the brain that is activated when people feel happy and pleased, suggesting that eating ice cream may be able to cheer people up.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is your opinion on the study conducted by Professor Koga? Discuss.
·         If ice cream proves to have positive mental effects, would you eat or recommend it for breakfast?

Discussion B

·         Do you think that certain kinds of food can really improve people’s mental performance? Why or why not?
·         Aside from food, what other factors can affect people’s mental performance?

January 23, 2017