Between working at the office, going to the gym and catching up with friends at the pub, dinner often takes a back seat.
However, eating after 9pm could be doing disastrous things to our health, a study has revealed.
Those who regularly eat after 9pm and don’t leave a two-hour gap between eating and sleeping are 25% more likely to get cancer than those who do.
The experts at the Global Health Institute of Barcelona found that this was due to the fact that your metabolism starts to slow down in the evening, but eating will speed it up again.
This will have an impact on your body’s internal clock, known as your circadian rhythm, which is thought to increase your chances of developing prostate and breast cancer.
Previous studies have suggested that eating out of sync with your circadian rhythm can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
The Spanish researchers analyzed the diet and lifestyles of 621 prostate cancer patients, 1,205 people with breast cancer and 2,193 people who did not have cancer.
They found that those who went to bed two or more hours after dinner reduced their cancer risk by 20%.
Conversely, those who went to sleep two hours after eating, increased the risk of cancer by 25 percent.
Most research on diet and cancer looks at how foods can increase or decrease your chances of developing the deadly disease.
Recently, experts found that eating common carbohydrates, such as bread, can increase the risk of breast cancer by 20%.
Meanwhile, the popular seasoning olive oil has been found to reduce the risk of cancer.
It found that people who took more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day had a 17% lower risk of dying from the disease.
Professor Manolis Kogevinas, who led the study, said: “If these findings are confirmed, they will have profound implications for recommendations for the timing of the last main meal.
“The impact could be particularly important in cultures such as those in southern Europe where people eat dinner late.”
Dora Romaguera, who also worked on the study, said: “Everything seems to indicate that the timing of sleep affects our ability to metabolize food.”
He said more research is needed to add that the animal data show “profound implications for food metabolism and health.”
The findings are published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Some experts believe that by aligning your food with your circadian rhythm, you can help maximize weight loss, energy, and overall health.
How to align your diet with the circadian rhythm diet
1. Eat with the sun
Experts say it should only be eaten when the sun is out. This is because some scientists believe that the sun sets our circadian rhythm.
Our rhythm expects us to eat during the day when the sun is shining (because for long periods of history we also didn’t have electricity and light bulbs) and fast at night.
Ideally, this means there would be 12 hours between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day.
This is very similar to intermittent fasting, which has been shown to be effective for weight loss.
2. Eat earlier and less later
Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals of the day and dinner your smallest.
You should get about 75 percent of your nutrition before 3 p.m
3. Eat your dinner for breakfast or lunch
Try eating dinner foods for breakfast or lunch, such as a bowl of pasta or some chicken with vegetables.
This is because eating more for breakfast will keep you fuller throughout the day, which means you’re likely to eat less
Here’s an example of what a day after this diet might look like:
- For breakfast, wholemeal pasta with vegetables such as broccoli or kale
- For lunch, salmon with sides of vegetables like carrots
- For dinner, a big salad with mixed vegetables, walnuts and pumpkin seeds
A recent study debunked the idea that your metabolism is controlled by your circadian rhythm.
Scottish researchers have found that the time you eat has no impact on weight loss.
They found that the metabolism burns as many calories in the evening as in the morning.
The only benefit to eating more food in the morning is that you’re less hungry later in the day, which could mean you eat less, according to researchers.