Eating Late Night Dinners May Increase our Risk of Cancer

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by Nils Osmar. July 7, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

A recent study suggests that the timing of our meals — in particular the last meal of the day — may be a factor in increasing or decreasing our risk of cancer.

According to the 2018 study, people who eat dinner earlier appear to reduce their risk of cancer compared to those who eat closer to the end of day. 

The study found that greater the time gap between our last meal and bedtime, the lower our odds of cancer.  

The authors speculated that this may be being related to a  misalignment with our circadian rhythms, which regulate many aspects of our health and metabolism.

The study was published in July 2018 in the  International Journal of Cancer, and had over 2,500 participants of both sexes.

Here’s a quote from it:

“In this study we found that meal timing was associated with prostate and breast cancer risk —— and that adherence to diurnal eating patterns and particularly early suppers and a longer supper‐sleep time interval were associated with a lower cancer risk. 

“This is, to our knowledge, the first epidemiological study showing long term health effects associated with mistimed eating patterns.”

Correlation doesn’t always suggest causation. There could be other factors that weren’t accounted for in this study.  

But one reason some researchers are paying attention to this study is that there’s a well-established connection between late night eating and obesity, which is also associated with a greater risk of cancer. According to Catherine Marinac, a research fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: 

“Population-based studies have found that people that eat late at night have higher rates of obesity and worse metabolic profiles. Disruption of your body clock and reduced ability to process glucose are possible mechanistic factors linking late-night eating to cancer risk.”

Nothing in this post is intended as, or should be taken as, medical advice.


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