STOP eating before 9 p.m.! A recent study titled “Effect of mistimed eating patterns on breast and prostate cancer risk (MCC‐Spain Study)” concludes that people who eat dinner before 9 p.m. have a 20 percent lower risk of breast and prostate cancer compared to those who eat dinner after 10 p.m.
This analysis was published in the International Journal of Cancer on July 17. 621 cases of prostate cancer and 1,205 cases of breast cancer were examined by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain. Also, a group of more than 2,000 men and women (who did not have cancer) were also taken into account.
All the findings were based on information about lifestyle, chronotype, meal timing, sleep habits, and more by filling out questionnaires. No one ever thought that prostate cancer can be related to the fact that we eat late at night or sleep immediately after dinner. So, compared to those who ate after 10 p.m., those who ate their last meal of the day before 9 p.m. were found to have a 20 percent lower risk of breast and prostate cancers. Time from supper to breakfast was not associated with risk in either cancer.
A similar protection was observed in subjects sleeping immediately after supper compared with those sleeping two or more hours after supper. Adherence to diurnal eating patterns and specifically a long interval between last meal and sleep are associated with a lower cancer risk, stressing the importance of evaluating timing in studies on diet and cancer.
According to recent results, timing meals later at night has also a negative impact on weight, insulin and cholesterol levels and affects fat metabolism, and hormonal markers implicated in heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.
Another study made by the researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania offers the first experimental evidence of the metabolic consequences of consistent delayed eating compared to daytime eating. Nine healthy weight adults underwent two conditions, one of daytime eating (i.e., three meals and two snacks between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) for eight weeks and another of delayed eating (i.e., three meals and two snacks eating from noon to 11 p.m.). The investigators have found that when participants ate later, compared to the daytime condition, weight increased. Other measures including insulin, fasting glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels have been affected.
“While lifestyle change is never easy, these findings suggest that eating earlier in the day may be worth the effort to help prevent these detrimental chronic health effects,” said Kelly Allison, Ph.D., senior author on the study.
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about a quarter to a third of the commonest cancers are attributable to excess body weight, physical inactivity and poor diet, making these the most common causes of cancers after smoking. If timing is proven to be a signiﬁcant modiﬁer of these effects then it would be important to also deﬁne eating and sleep time as one of the recommendations.
5 simple ways to stop eating late at night
- Identify the cause of the problem! Maybe you don’t eat what your body needs during the day and when night comes you use food to curb emotions such as sadness, anger or frustration even when you’re not hungry.
- Use a routine! Structured eating and sleeping times will help you spread your food intake over the day so that you’re less hungry at night.
- Break associations! A lot of us tend to eat while watching TV or playing on iPads or laptops at night. Stop doing this and enjoy your meal!
- Ask yourself: Am I really hungry?
- The last, but not the least: eat breakfast! It’s the most important step for combating nighttime food cravings.
You already have the awareness, so you’re on the right road to solve this problem! Think about your health and don’t forget that you are what you eat.
If you’d like to set up a free consultation with Dr. David Samadi about prostate cancer, please use the contact form available here. Thank you!