Clean Diet

Counter Cancer with the Dinner Clock

Can eating dinner earlier help prevent certain cancers? Research suggests yes.

Dining earlier could be the answer to preventing certain cancers, according to a new study in the International Journal of Cancer. The research has found that eating two hours before going to bed or eating before 9 pm reduces the risk of both prostate and breast cancer by approximately 20%. This compared with individuals who ate after 10 pm or one hour or less before sleeping. 

Researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) interviewed a control group of women and men as well as breast and prostate cancer patients on their meal and sleep patterns. They found that cancer risk decreased as time between meal and sleep increased. The cause could be due to the circadian disruption of a later eating hour, this being any change to the regular biological patterns (mental and physical) that our bodies have been designed to follow in a 24-hour period. These disruptions in our circadian sleeping and eating patterns cause changes in glucose, insulin, leptin and cortisol rhythms, leading to increased levels of inflammation and cardiometabolic risk. ISGlobal researcher Dora Romaguera, is quick to point out: “Further research 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.” 

Try For Yourself: Set up a routine dinner hour for you and your family, allowing at least 2 hours before bedtime. And take it to the table: Sitting down for dinner is important for proper digestion and social well-being.