Skip to main content

Are late-night meals affecting our health?

Is your late night meal delivering cancer on a plate? Are late night meals affecting your health?  A new study suggests timing of late night meals is linked to cancer risk.

Modern lifestyles have profoundly changed our eating habits. Our food consumption is now often out of step with our circadian rhythms.

We eat to fit into our busy lifestyles, rather than adjusting our lives to our eating needs.  How many of us have late night meals and go to bed soon after eating? 

A body of evidence now suggests that this mismatch,  or 'mistiming',  can  profoundly affect our health.

Lifestyles driving eating habits. 

Experimental and epidemiological evidence shows that long term disruption of endogenous circadian rhythms, in particular due to exposure to light at night, may be associated with a wide range of common diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and type 2 diabetes.  Now this new study provides some evidence to show that this extends to our night-time eating habits.

From an evolutionary perspective, intermittent eating patterns with periods of fasting would have been the norm in early humans.  Food was primarily consumed during daylight, and with long hours of overnight fasting.

Modern conveniences and lifestyle have stretched this so that we are now eating way past daylight hours.  The idea is that this has decoupled our food consumption and digestion from our natural biological clocks, our circadian rhythm. 

New study in Spain

The new study published in the International Journal of Cancer  reveals that eating an early supper and having a long interval between the last meal and sleep are associated with lower breast and prostate cancer risks.

The study included 621 cases of prostate and 1205 of breast cancer with 872 male and 1321 female population controls. Participants were interviewed on timing of meals and sleep, and they completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire.

Risk of breast and prostate cancers

Compared with individuals sleeping immediately after supper, those sleeping two or more hours after supper had a 20% reduction in cancer risk for breast and prostate cancer combined and in each cancer individually. A similar protection was observed in individuals having supper before 9pm compared with supper after 10pm.

The findings stress the importance of evaluating the body’s internal clock—or circadian rhythms—in studies on diet and cancer, and the need to develop dietary recommendations for cancer prevention that focus not only on type and quantity of food intake, but also on meal times.

“If the findings are confirmed, they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations that currently do not take meal timing into account” says lead author Dr. Manolis Kogevinas, of ISGlobal, in Barcelona.
The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe where people tend to have supper late.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maternal depression can impact child mental and physical health

Maternal depression has been repeatedly linked with negative childhood outcomes, including increased psychopathology.  Now, a new study shows that depression in mothers may impact on their children's stress levels,  as well as their physical and mental well-being throughout life.

In the study, published in the journal  Depression & Anxiety,  the researchers followed 125 children from birth to 10 years.

At 10 years old, the mothers’ and children’s cortisol (CT) and secretory immunoglobulin (s-IgA)—markers of stress and the immune system (see below)—were measured, and mother-child interaction were observed.
Psychiatric assessment  The mothers and children also had psychiatric diagnoses, and the children's externalising and internalising symptoms were reported.



Internalising disorders include depression, withdrawal, anxiety, and loneliness. They are often how we 'feel inside', such as  anger, pain, fear or hurt, but may not show it.  In contrast, externalising symptom…

Palm Oil production killing the planet

Bad trade and bad products are killing our planet. We have said this before on The Thin End. There is no better example than that of palm oil. It is used ubiquitously in so many products, and its production is a major factor destroying rainforests and threatening precious species.

Demand for palm oil is 'skyrocketing worldwide'. It is used in packaging and in so much of our snack foods, cookies, crackers, chocolate products, instant noodles, cereals, and doughnuts, and the list goes on.
Bad for the planet So, why is this so bad for the planet?

The oil is extracted from the fruit of the oil palms native to Africa. It is now grown primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia, but is also expanding across Central and West Africa and Latin America.

Palm oil production is now one of the world's leading causes of rainforest destruction, and this is impacting adversely some of the world's most culturally and biologically diverse ecosystems. Irreplaceable wildlife species like t…

Clear blue lakes turning murky in USA

New research reveals that many lakes in the continental United States are becoming murkier, with potentially negative consequences for water quality and aquatic life. These are the findings of a study published in Limnology and Oceanography.

From blue, clear lakes to greenish brown In the 5 years between 2007 and 2012, the dominant lake type in the United States shifted from clear, blue lakes to greenish-brown, murky lakes. Blue lakes declined by 18% while murky lakes increased by 12%. 



Overall, “blue” lakes decreased by ~ 18% (46% of lakes in 2007 to 28% in 2012) while “murky” lakes increased by almost 12% (24% of lakes in 2007 to 35.4% in 2012).  So, the majority of lakes are now murky.

Regionally, murky lakes significantly increased in the Northern Appalachian, Southern Plains, and Xeric ecoregions.

In the Northern Appalachians, blue lakes decreased by 41.4%, brown lakes increased by 17.8%, and murky lakes increased by 26.8%. In the Northern Plains, green lakes significantly increas…