Caution to late eaters: New study links meal times to cancer
We've long known what you eat matters. When you eat matters, too.
For decades, you’ve probably heard the advice to eat hours before heading off to bed. This folk wisdom has mostly been applied to losing weight, avoiding acid reflux, and getting a good night's sleep. Now a new study offers an even more profound piece of evidence as to why an early dinner is essential: it reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
The study, conducted at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health—if you’ve ever been to Spain, you know that most restaurants don’t open for dinner until 8 pm—found that those who eat dinner before 8 pm (or at least two hours before bedtime) experience a 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of developing the types of cancer listed above.
There have long been correlations between types of diets and cancers. Lead author Manolis Kogevinas, an ISGlobal researcher, wanted to better understand if dining according to a daily rhythm influences the disease. He comments:
Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer. [The findings] highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer.
Of course, there are many variables as to why cancer manifests. Fans of the Occam’s Razor theory of disease have to recognize that cancer rarely has a singular cause; a combination of variables often contributes to its onset. For this study, the researchers investigated data from 621 cases of prostate cancer and 1,205 cases of breast cancer, alongside 872 male and 1,321 female controls between the years of 2008-2013.
They note that in 2007 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified shift work as likely carcinogenic to humans (based on animal trials). (The control group for the above study never worked late shifts.) For workers who work late or overnight, their chronotype is negatively affected by this adaptation to their body’s circadian rhythm.
Specifically, considering that humans evolved with a diet that required intermittent fasting, the consumption of late-night meals has been associated with elevated leptin and glucose levels as well as systemic inflammation. Based on their results, the researchers found that the longer the space between your last meal and sleep, the less likely you were to develop these cancers.
Kogevinas remarked that the results “will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account,” adding that, “the impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe, where people have supper late.”
He believes cancer researchers and organizations must now consider the timing of meals into their recommendations moving forward, pending further research, of course.
Pay attention to the decisions made by the provinces.
- China leads the world in numerous green energy categories.
- CO2 emissions in the country totaling more than all coal emissions in the U.S. have recently emerged.
- This seems to be an administrative-induced blip on the way towards a green energy tipping point.
NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.
Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!
And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"
All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!
If you want to be a better and more passionate communicator, these tips are important.
If you identify as being a socially conscious person in today's age of outrage, you've likely experienced the bewildering sensation when a conversation that was once harmless, suddenly doesn't feel that way anymore. Perhaps you're out for a quick bite with family, friends, or coworkers when the conversation takes a turn. Someone's said something that doesn't sit right with you, and you're unsure of how to respond. Navigating social situations like this is inherently stressful.
Below are five expert-approved tips on how to maintain your cool and effectively communicate.
Calling all big thinkers!
- The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled for Oct. 23 at 11 pm E.T.
- The odds of any one ticket winning are about 1 in 300 million.
- This might be a record-setting jackpot, but that doesn't mean you have a better chance of winning.
Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.
- Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
- Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
- The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
Money makes the world go 'round. Unfortunately, it can make both children and adults into materialists.
- Keeping a gratitude journal caused children to donate 60 percent more to charitable causes.
- Other methods suggested by researchers include daily gratitude reflection, gratitude posters, and keeping a "gratitude jar."
- Materialism has been shown to increase anxiety and depression and promote selfish attitudes and behavior.
The Boring Company plans to offer free rides in its prototype tunnel in Hawthorne, California in December.
- The prototype tunnel is about 2 miles long and contains electric skates that travel at top speeds of around 150 mph.
- This is the first tunnel from the company that will be open to the public.
- If successful, the prototype could help the company receive regulatory approval for much bigger projects in L.A. and beyond.
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