Early Supper Associated With Lower Risk of Breast And Prostate Cancer


Source: Barcelona Institute for Global Health

Summary: A new study concluded that 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.


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 eating: the timing of food intake and the activities occurring before and after meals. Recent experimental studies have shown the importance of meal timing and demonstrated the health effects of eating late at night. Specifically, people who take their evening meal before 9 p.m. or wait at least two hours before going to sleep have an approximate 20% lower risk of those types of cancer compared to people who have supper after 10 p.m. or those who eat and go to bed with a little interval, respectively. Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in a new concluded that 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. The study findings were published in the  International Journal of Cancer.

Early supper associated with breast and prostate cancer risk. Credit: ISGlobal

The study included data from 621 cases of prostate cancer and 1,205 cases of breast cancer, as well as 872 male and 1,321 female controls selected randomly from primary health centres. The participants, who represented various parts of Spain, were interviewed about their meal timing, sleep habits and chronotype and completed a questionnaire on their eating habits and adherence to cancer prevention recommendations. The 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. The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe, where people have supper late.

SGlobal researcher Dora Romaguera said, “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.”


More Information:  Manolis Kogevinas et al, “Effect of mistimed eating patterns on breast and prostate cancer risk”, International Journal of Cancer (2018). doi.wiley.com/10.1002/ijc.31649


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