It sounded like some good news at last: Supposedly, a study by Kyorin University professor Yoshihiko Koga showed that eating ice cream right after waking up could result in improved alertness and mental performance. An article about the study that was published on Japan’s Excite News website claimed the study compared brain activity in people who had been given ice cream immediately after waking up with those who had not eaten ice cream. The study is said to have found that people who had consumed ice cream for breakfast showed better reaction times and were able to process information better than those who did not have the ice cream.

This news was repeated over and over again online, including in publications such as Newsweek and the International Business Times. The story originally took off after showing up in UK’s Telegraph newspaper, although the original article pointed out that eating ice cream for breakfast goes against almost everything we know about nutrition. The Telegraph’s article explained that the alertness might be attributed to the simple fact of eating breakfast, or to the glucose content in ice cream. As Rafi Letzter pointed out in Business Insider, “Cold and sugar will perk you up. But make regular meals of them and you’ll ruin your health.” He complains that since the Telegraph story hit the internet, other websites and reporters have repeated the claims, often without key details or any evidence that they’ve actually read the science they’re writing about.

“Science reporters, editors, and readers should make it clear in the strongest possible terms: This isn’t just a silly diversion,” he says. “It’s a kind of fake news, it degrades the institution of journalism, and it makes it harder for the public to tell scientific facts from sugar industry-fueled nonsense.” By the way, Yoshihiko Koga really is a professor at Kyorin University’s School of Medicine—but from what we could find his articles tended to have exciting titles like, “Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 presenting as psychosis.” READ MORE