People who eat two hours before going to bed have a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer as opposed to those who hit the sack immediately after dinner, says a new study.

The study monitored 621 people who had prostate cancer and 1,205 who had breast cancer, as well as a control group; 872 male and 1,321 female patients without cancer.

“What we know from experimental studies is that we are conditioned to function in different parts of the day,” said Manolis Kogevinas, a professor heading the research.

“We, not only humans but all living organisms, have developed throughout time functioning differently in day and night.

“Previous research has shown that breast and prostate cancer risk are associated with night-shift work and the disruption of circadian rhythm, or a person’s sleep-wake cycle.”

In 2007, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer acknowledged that night-shift work, which upsets the circadian rhythm, can increase the risk of cancers.

The report has been greeted with mixed reaction from experts.

“The results of the study are fairly consistent with previous research,” said Catherine Marinac, a research fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“Population-based studies have found that people who 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.”

The Barcelona Institute of Global Health study was published in the International Journal of Cancer.



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