New study links meal time to cancer risk

Eating your final meal of the day too late can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Meal times linked to cancer risk

According to a study that was conducted at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain, eating your final meal of the day too late can increase the risk of developing cancer.

Having an early supper or leaving an interval of at least two hours before going to bed are both associated with a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer.

Specifically, people who take their evening meal before 9pm or wait at least two hours before going to sleep have an approximate 20 per cent lower risk of those types of cancer compared to people who have supper after 10pm or those who eat and go to bed very close afterwards.

The study is the first to analyse the association between cancer risk and the timing of meals and sleep.

Previous studies of the link between food and cancer have focused on dietary patterns – for example, the effects of eating red meat, fruit and vegetables and the associations between food intake and obesity.

However, little attention has been paid to other factors surrounding the everyday act of eating: the timing of food intake and the activities people do before and after meals.

Recent experimental studies have shown the importance of meal timing and demonstrated the health effects of eating late at night.

The aim of the new study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, was to assess whether meal timing could be associated with the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, two of the most common cancers worldwide.

Breast and prostate cancers are also among those most strongly associated with night-shift work, circadian disruption and alteration of biological rhythms.

The study assessed each participant’s lifestyle and chronotype (an individual attribute correlating with preference for morning or evening activity).

The study included data from 621 cases of prostate cancer and 1205 cases of breast cancer, as well as 872 male and 1321 female controls selected randomly.

The participants were interviewed about their meal timing, sleep habits and chronotype, and completed a questionnaire on their eating habits and adherence to cancer prevention recommendations.

“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 metabolise food,” said ISGlobal researcher Dora Romaguera.

How long a gap do you leave between eating and sleeping at night? Will you consider eating your dinner earlier now?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    25th Jul 2018
    Polly Esther
    25th Jul 2018
    hahahhahaha I'll agree with you on this one, MICK :-)
    PS I admit, not often I see your point of view, but, every one is entitled to have one, right or wrong. Couldn't help throwing that in MICK. PS again "keep up the stirring" it can become hilarious.
    25th Jul 2018
    Facts are only hilarious for those who cannot refute them Polly Ester. You are probably referring to my campaign against the current business owned government but it is what it is and people believe or otherwise....but the facts are pretty well irrefutable. That's why the trolls do not debate but rather trash and come back with Labor and Union nonsense.
    Glad you liked the above. Short and sweet. Cheers.
    25th Jul 2018
    Keep it going Mick. I like hearing the truth no matter who is involved .
    25th Jul 2018
    Normally I 100% agree with you, MICK, but I don't see this article's claims as "BS". I can see reasons why its claims could be valid.
    1st Aug 2018
    Agree Mick
    25th Jul 2018
    “Further research in humans is needed in order to understand the reasons behind these findings"
    Ah, of course someone needs, funding from the government , to pay for their investment mortgage/s. Any excuse should suffice for some hand-out.
    If all the numerous researching found all the cures, then all the pharmaceutical giants would go bust. So, that can't be allowed.
    25th Jul 2018
    If you don't fund genuine research, we don't continue to grow knowledge.
    26th Jul 2018
    We will dig out all the minerals from our planets and moons in our galaxy first...before they admit that many cures were discovered as early as 1958...but were not made public because that would collapse the pharmaceutical industry.
    25th Jul 2018
    It’s a bit sparse. Was there any food difference between the meal taken early and the meal taken late? For instance was the late meal a takeaway or greasy spoon because they were too tired to cook?
    25th Jul 2018
    Yes Triss, what's on the plate has more relevance than the time it was put there!
    25th Jul 2018
    In that case the majority of people in Barcelona would have cancer as they do not start to go out to dinner till about 10.00 pm.
    26th Jul 2018
    Anyone with gastric reflux will tend to eat early to maximise the time between eating and getting horizontal, so can they show a relationship between reflux and a reduction in these cancers? The cynic in me says that if they can reflux is probably associated with an increase in a different type of cancer. If we're not careful we can end up chasing our tails trying to avoid cancer by reacting to all of this new information that we are confronted with on a regular basis. I gave up smoking nearly thirty years ago, eat as modestly as I can and drink a glass of red wine a day - bugger it, I think I'll get the Harley out and go for a ride.
    Ted Wards
    26th Jul 2018
    Does anyone else see the irony in this article? Most of Europe dont eat until 9 pm, especially Spain!
    26th Jul 2018
    Exactly. Barcelona does not come alive till late in the evening.
    1st Aug 2018
    Stresses of variable Shift working (eg: restaurants, Public Transport etc etc) & disrupted sleep patterns far more relevant to illness than when & what one eats. Many of these hard-workers (been there/done that) are switched from a nite shift to a morn shift the next day...often lucky to have 2-3hrs sleep after 2hrs to wind-down & far more if prior shift was a bug*er!!

    Tags: health, cancer, food,

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