Ice cream: Science says it’s what’s for breakfast

Burt's Eye View

I’ve championed ice cream for breakfast for years.

“But why can’t I have a banana split this morning, Mom? Bananas are fruit. Ice cream’s got milk. Eggs, too, I think. And chocolate’s made from beans. It’s healthy.”

“Shut up and eat your oatmeal, kid.” Mom wasn’t terribly cheerful when slammed by the logic of four kids before her morning tea.

Now science claims I’m even more brilliant than I knew. A professor at Kyorin University in Mitaka, Japan, says eating ice cream right after waking up can improve alertness and mental performance.

The university compared brain activity in people who gobbled ice cream immediately after getting out of bed against those who listened to my mom. Ice cream connoisseurs processed information better and showed less mental irritation.

Hey, they ate ice cream for breakfast. What’s to be irritated about?

Moose Tracks in the morning makes wonderful news, especially for me. I’m one of roughly 12 people in the entire United States who gags on coffee and tea.

“No coffee?” a server gasps in mid-pour. “How do you function?”

“Do I look like I’m functioning?” I growl. My body stumbles out of bed at 7. My brain refuses to crawl from beneath the covers until noon.

I don’t recall such grogginess as a kid. Not after we discovered sweetened cereals, anyway.

“No, you may not have another bowl of Cap’n Crunch.”

“But Mom, it’s fortified with eight essential vitamins and iron. You wouldn’t want me to run short of essential vitamins and iron, would you?”

“I’ll risk it,” she said. “Now come down off that ceiling and get ready for school.”

I grew up in the dark ages when sugar was a good thing. Our cupboards were filled with breakfast foods like Sugar Pops, Sugar Smacks, Sugar Frosted Flakes and Super Sugar Crisp.

Today, these day-dawning staples have been replaced by Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Frosted Flakes and Golden Crisp. And shredded wheat.

That’s because we’ve discovered that too many sugar-infused foods tend to play nasty tricks on the body, such as make it puff up like one of those balloons free inside each box. Then your brain bogs down in a sweetened swamp of sludge.

“Oatmeal,” my doctor said. “Oatmeal makes a sensible daybreak dish for a responsible adult.”

I’m not sure which tasted worse, the word “responsible” or the word “adult.”

This is why I am totally embracing the scientific research that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt — or at least proposes a tantalizing hypothesis — that ice cream’s what’s for breakfast.

It’s just possible, Kyorin University professor Yoshihiko Koga warns, that it might have nothing to do with the ingredients “in the sense that ice cream is a treat that triggers positive emotions and added energy.”

I’ll risk it.

Probably the only thing better than a bowl of ice cream as soon as you crawl out of bed would be to be served your frozen delight while still under the covers. I suggested this plan to my wife.

“Wonderful,” she said. “I’ll take mocha swirl. What time will you be serving me?”

“I changed my mind,” I sputtered. “You’re too smart already.”

— Snap, crackle and pop Cole’s ice cream dreams at or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.