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Late dinners may increase risk of breast, prostate cancer: study

September 13, 2018

Barcelona, Spain — Eating dinner close to bedtime may increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer, a recent study led by Spanish researchers suggests.

The researchers looked at data from 1,205 people who had breast cancer, 621 who had prostate cancer and two control groups of 1,321 women and 872 men who had never worked a night shift. Participants were questioned about sleep habits, chronotype and the timing of their meals. They then completed a food frequency questionnaire.

Participants who went to sleep at least two hours after dinner had a 20 percent lower risk for breast and prostate cancer than those who went to bed immediately after eating. Researchers found similar results for participants who had dinner before 9 p.m., compared with people who ate after 10 p.m.

“If the findings are confirmed, they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations that currently do not take meal timing into account,” Manolis Kogevinas, lead author and research professor at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, said in a July 18 press release. “The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe where people tend to have supper late.”

The study was published July 17 in the International Journal of Cancer.