What's better for breakfast, ice cream or chocolate cake?

Would any devoted, health-conscious grandparent allow his/her grandchild to eat ice cream for breakfast?  Maybe not--with one exception, my cousin,  life-long journalist Ron Cohen.  In fact, the title of his recently published memoir is, evidently, a response to a hopeful grandchild: "Of Course, You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast."  


I hear you shouting objections. Okay, if not ice cream, how about chocolate cake  for the day's start.? And not  just for kids.  For parents and grandparents, too.  What follows is a discussion of the research on these delightful breakfast foods.  How did oatmeal manage to lose its lead?


Onward to the science. Then, l'll conclude with a brief discussion of  the author.




When my daughter sent me a copy of Ron's book ( the cover showing two youngsters eating

ice cream), I had two thoughts: 1) This indulgent grandfather must be very beloved.   2) If the kids become obese teenagers, will they blame him?  After all, these days, sugar and fat are dubbed the enemies of both good health and glamorous looks.  So why in the world would you choose to serve your kids ice cream for breakfast?  Here are the reasons online articles mention:


Just a few spoonsful of ice cream may improve "mental performance and alertness,"  so (for example) a student may process information better. Tests of brain activity revealed that people who ate ice cream first thing in the morning had an increase in high-frequency alpha waves, which are associated not only with higher levels of alertness but also with a reduction of mental irritation, according to research was conducted by Kyorin University's  Professor Yoshihiko Koga. It was summarized on many U.S. websites. 


Would something else cold do just as well?  The study showed that cold water would also stimulate brain function but not as much as ice cream. 


I must, with sorrow in my heart and stomach, tell you that at least one online author (Rafi Letzter) labeled this delicious breakfast recommendation "fake news."  It seems to me that's unfair to the researcher, who did, in  fact, find the above-described outcomes. Reluctantly, I've listed  Rafi's  article in my "sources" below. You can read  every word and even post his piece in your kitchen if you want  to. I sure didn't do either.


If Rafi convinces you that you don't want ice cream for breakfast to be a daily event in your kitchen, at least celebrate the holiday.  Yep, there is one, in the U.S.A. and many other countries around the world.  It's usually on the first Saturday in February or another February date.  See Wikipedia for more info about this holiday. 


CHOCOLATE CAKE (or just plain-old chocolate):


Another study (discussed on from the grapevine.com) says that eating chocolate regularly can improve brain function.  This particular website encourages readers to consume chocolate by posting, along with the article, a scrumptious photo of a gigantic piece of chocolate cake. Perhaps a brownie or a candy bar would do the brain as much good.


Why, you ask?  The researchers found that frequent consumption of chocolate is associated with better cognitive performance, as measured by a battery of neuropsychological tests.  The cognitive benefits they found included improved memory and  better abstract reasoning.  The study was conducted by Syracuse University in New York.  The subjects of the study were 968 people whose ages ranged from 23-98.


Yet another study  (conducted in Israel at Tel Aviv University) mentioned on From the Grapevine makes these two points:  1) Employees who ate chocolate cake every morning were better workers than those that didn't. 2) Surprise! The same study found that eating chocolate cake regularly might help people to LOSE weight.  Why?  "The body converts food and energy more efficiently in the morning, so that piece of cake is less likely to end up on the waistline."  Caveat: the chocolate breakfast must be eaten before 9 a.m. The study leader said, "Eating a higher-calorie breakfast in the morning reduces cravings throughout the day and prevents late-night snacking."


I  can't promise you that a chocolate breakfast will take off inches and pounds. Nevertheless, I'm going to take a short break from my computer now. It's almost 9 a.m.; perhaps I should take  a breakfast break and enjoy some chocolate cake a' la mode.


To learn more about other benefits of eating chocolate, consult the following Shelf Life Advice articles:






Still not convinced? To  find even more articles on this topic, type the word "chocolate" into the search box.




I can't resist ending with a brief plug for  Ron Cohen's book.  Read it; you'll like it.  It's downright cheerful, what we need these days. It's not primarily about his grandchildren; it's for them (and dedicated to them), to better acquaint them with their very lively and loving grandfather.


 Ron takes readers through the joyous and hectic life of a rather typical,  mildly mischievous boy and young man who morphs into a well-known journalist and, eventually, bureau chief of UPI's Washington, DC office.  HIs biographical sketches take readers through some of the major events of the 20th century--including political conventions, national elections, and assassinations--from the perspective of  the folks that write the news. Moreover, to please our Board scientists and additional Shelf Life Advice enthusiasts, there's even a chapter about food safety.  It's #37, "Bratwurst  and Briefs."


Ron Cohen's book would make a fine gift choice for any adult of any gender.




Cohn, Ron. "Of Course You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast! A Journalist's Uncommon Memoir" Trafford Publishing, June, 2017.


volcanoshakes.com "Ice Cream for Breakfast"



wikipedia.org  "Ice Cream for Breakfast Day"



from the grapevine.com "Chocolate Cake for Breakfast..."



tipsforhome.net "Research Shows That Eating Chocolate Cake For Breakfast Is Good For the Brain and the waistline"



businessinsider.com "A viral story that claimed eating ice cream for breakfast will make you smarter points to a bigger problem in health journalism"



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