If you eat dinner late in the evening, then you may want to reconsider. A new Spanish study found that late-night dinners are associated with a higher risk of bladder and prostate cancer.
The study looked at 621 patients with prostate cancer, 1,205 with breast cancer, along with 3,193 men and women who were controls to determine if the timing of meals was associated with a higher cancer risk.
Participants were interviewed to inquire about the timing of meals, sleep, and chronotype – a person’s preference for performing activities during the day or night.
They also completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire to look at dietary habits and adherence to cancer prevention recommendations.
The researchers found that participants who waited two or more hours after a meal to sleep had a 20 percent reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer compared to those who ate a meal and went to sleep.
Eating dinner prior to nine p.m. was also found to reduce cancer risk compared to consuming dinner after 10 p.m.
Further cancer risk reduction was seen among participants who engaged in more cancer prevention recommendations along with those who were morning people versus nighttime.
Lead author of the study Manolis Kogevinas explained, “Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer. [The findings] highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer.”
Last author Dora Romaguera added, “Further research in humans is needed in order to understand the reasons behind these findings, but everything seems to indicate that the timing of sleep affects our capacity to metabolize food. Animal experimental evidence has shown that the timing of food intake has ‘profound implications for food metabolism and health.'”
Currently, cancer prevention guidelines do not factor in the timing of meals, but the new findings could offer greater prevention tips for individuals to further reduce their risk of certain types of cancers.
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