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Jul. 22 2010 - 9:48 am | 120 views | 1 recommendation | 5 comments

Science(ish): Gorging on ice cream DOES help you forget heartbreak

Chocolate ice cream

Memory eraser? Image via Wikipedia

Why is this not on every front page in America? Instead it’s oil spills and the economy. But this item actually affects lives:

Diana Kerwin of Northwestern University and colleagues studied 8,745 normal post-menopausal women ages 65 to 79 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, a massive federal study examining a host of health issues.

For every one-point increase in a woman’s body mass index (BMI), her score on a 100-point memory test dropped by one point, the researchers reported last week in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

via the The Check Up: Washington Post

Unfortunately, most of the reports covering this story missed the real news. Just read NaturalNews.com’s conclusion: “Either way, experts recommend that overweight people strive to lose weight as part of a healthy overall lifestyle.” Yeah fine fine, but think about what’s really been proven in this study: Gorging on ice cream does indeed help you forget heartbreak.

Now, this won’t be cheap and it won’t be easy, but here’s the formula. Let’s say you score 80 on your memory test, which means you remember that time your ex promised to always be honest about his/her feelings, so that if any real problems in the relationship started to arise for him/her, it would not come as a surprise. In fact you can’t stop remembering that, right?

Okay, let’s say you’re 5 feet 5 inches and weigh 145 pounds. Your BMI is 24.1, according to the NIH, unless you are a man and then it’s another number. Your memory is going to need a lot of degrading, at least a 10-point drop. So get serious. Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream is 540 calories per cup. If you sit still all day, eat three regular meals that cover the base 1,380 calorie intake needed, you could get to a 34.1 BMI index in a month by eating about 16 cups of chocolate ice cream per day. (I am not a medical professional, please consult a doctor to verify these numbers.)

If you are a post-menopausal woman, that is.

I am not, which might explain why this study does not apply to me. As I have mentioned before, I spent the past year losing weight. I am now 72 pounds lighter than I used to be, which means I’ve dropped 11 points on the BMI. That has not stopped me from getting three parking tickets in a MONTH because I keep forgetting to re-park the car after the street sweeper goes by.

But I’m being the typical killjoy blogger now. And you’re probably feeling like this did not help your heartbreak at all, but you’re wrong there. I bet it never occurred to anyone before to eat ice cream after a bad breakup and that’s got to be good for something.


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  1. collapse expand

    Congrats on your weight loss..that’s the story!

  2. collapse expand

    I don’t need no heartbreak to get me to eat ice cream at night ha@!

    You may want to consider pumping some iron now, weight will go up because the new muscle is heavier than fat but as long as you start out moderately, you will get new energy, nothing like unsolicited advise yea? I use the schools gym because it is free, I figure it’s a fringe benefit I can use now, they even have an Olympic size pool, I invite the hotties to go swimming too but no luck yet! :)

    • collapse expand

      Well, you’re burning lots of calories waiting for those hotties Joey, so it’s fine to eat ice cream until they do arrive.

      Actually, that’s really good advice. Because I’m such a statistics kind of guy, I need concrete measurements for motivation. And so another friend was telling me to work on the proper percentage of body fat now, which is exactly your advice and apparently — according to data that came out last year — really important for health because people who carry weight on their waist are more prone to health problems.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    About Me

    About 10 years ago, this lady in her 80s told me a childhood story about the day her mom tied her to a post on the porch. It was punishment for riding her tricycle past the curb at the end of their block. In the middle of the story she said to me, 'Wait, mom didn't tie me to the porch, she tied the tricycle to the porch. I just remembered that.' I've been fascinated by memory ever since.


    To make a living during those 10 years, I wrote about religion, politics and people for The Kansas City Star and National Catholic Reporter. I also delved deep into memory by teaching over 2,000 retired Midwesterners how to write their life stories. Now I am putting those two things together -- I'm reporting on memory from science, social and personal perspectives. I am also earning my MA in Journalism at NYU.

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