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How does the timing of dinner affect cancer risk?
As more and more people have contracted cancer in recent years, medical professionals are looking intensively for ways and means to protect us from cancer or to improve the treatment of cancer. Researchers have now found that eating dinner at least two hours before going to bed is associated with a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer.
In their current investigation, scientists at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that early dinner or an interval of at least two hours between eating and bedtime was associated with a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "International Journal of Cancer".
Having dinner at the right time reduced the risk of cancer by 20 percent
In particular, people who eat their dinner before 9 p.m. or stop eating at least two hours before going to bed have a 20 percent lower risk of breast and prostate cancer compared to people who eat after 10 p.m. or quickly afterwards the experts go to bed after their dinner. These were the main conclusions of a new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). The study is the first to analyze the relationship between the risk of cancer and the timing of meals and sleep.
The time of food intake has mostly not been taken into account
Previous studies on the link between diet and cancer have focused primarily on dietary patterns, such as the effects of red meat, fruits and vegetables, and the relationship between food intake and obesity. However, many factors have been neglected or simply under-examined, which affect the daily act of eating, explain the doctors. These include, for example, when to eat and the activities people do before and after meals.
Current study also took into account the chronotype of the participants
The aim of the new study was to assess whether meal times could be associated with the risk of breast and prostate cancer (two of the most common cancers worldwide). Breast cancer and prostate cancer are also among the most cancers associated with night shift work, circadian disorder and changes in biological rhythms, the scientists explain. The current study assessed each participant's lifestyle and chronotype (an individual attribute that correlates with preference for morning or evening activity).
What questions did subjects have to answer?
The study included data from 621 cases of prostate cancer and 1,205 cases of breast cancer, as well as data from 872 men and 1,321 control women randomly selected from primary health centers. The questions for the test subjects target, for example, the time of eating, sleeping habits, eating habits, compliance with the recommendations for cancer prevention and their so-called chronotype.
Results are particularly important for people in southern Europe
"The results underline the importance of evaluating circadian rhythms in studies on nutrition and cancer," study author Manolis Kogevinas of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health said in a press release. The results will impact cancer prevention recommendations that don't currently consider meals, the expert added. The effects could be particularly important in cultures like Southern Europe, where people often eat late at night.
Time of sleep affects the ability to metabolize food
"More human research is needed to understand the reasons for these results, but everything indicates that the time of sleep affects our ability to metabolize food," study author Dora Romaguera of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health said in the press release . Evidence from animal experiments has shown that the timing of food intake has a profound impact on metabolism and food health, Romaguera adds. (as)