What does eating dinner early have to do with cancer risk? It is the question many people may ask when they first read the headline of this story.
The answer lies in a recent medical study conducted by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health in Spain. Their findings are very interesting and may have lasting implications for those who love to binge eat before sleeping.
The Relationship Between Food and Cancer
There is a significant amount of research that goes into understanding the relationship between food and cancer. And it is with good reason, as the foods we eat (and how much we eat) go a long way towards determining our health later in life.
For instance, some studies show that eating red meat increases the chances of getting certain cancers. Adding more vegetables to one’s diet can reduce cancer risk across the board, while the link between obesity and an increased risk of cancer is well researched too.
The most recent study that came from the Global Health Institute in Barcelona looked at the impact of meal timing and two cancers: prostate and breast cancer.
Meal Times, Prostate Cancer and Breast Cancer
There are previous studies that indicate those who work night-shifts or alter their biological clock may be more likely to suffer from prostate or breast cancer. So there is some indication that these two cancers are sensitive to what people do during particular hours of the day.
For the specific study, 621 men with prostate cancer and 1205 women with breast cancer were studied. There was a control group of 872 males and 1321 women who did not have cancer.
Lifestyle assessments were made to see when people ate and slept. And the findings may shock some people.
Cancer Risk Goes Up With Later Meals
Those who ate at 9pm or earlier, or at least two hours before they slept, had a 20 percent less chance of developing breast or prostate cancer. That is in comparison to those who ate at 10pm or later, or slept within two hours of eating.
A New Standard or an Outlier?
As with any study, it begs the question about a new standard. Is it time for people to start considering what time they eat dinner and how soon after they go to bed? Or is the study an outlier? The truth is that without more testing, one cannot know.
Animal studies have shown us in the past that when food is eaten has a big impact on its metabolism and general health. But there will need to be many other studies in different forms to give us an indication to the merits of these findings.
Those who are concerned about their health may want to take a few precautions, regardless of the eventual findings of other studies. It may be best to start eating dinner an hour or two earlier.
And those who have a habit of consuming a big meal after a long day and going right to bed may want to change that habit.