FOR many Brits eating late is just part of life.
Between office work, going to the gym and meeting friends at the pub, dinner often takes a back seat.
Yet eating after 9 p.m. can have disastrous consequences for our health, according to a study.
Those who routinely eat after 9 p.m. and don’t leave two hours between eating and sleeping are 25 percent more likely to develop cancer than those who do.
Experts at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that this is because your metabolism starts to slow down in the evening, but when you eat it speeds up again.
This affects the 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.
Spanish researchers looked at the diet and lifestyle of 621 patients with prostate cancer, 1,205 people with breast cancer and 2,193 people who had no cancer.
They found that those who went to sleep two or more hours after eating reduced their risk of cancer by 20 percent.
Conversely, those who went to bed within two hours of eating increased their 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 percent.
Meanwhile, the popular condiment olive oil has been found to reduce your risk of cancer.
It found that people who drank more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day had a 17 percent lower risk of dying from the disease.
Prof Manolis Kogevinas, who led the study, said: “If confirmed, these findings will have profound implications for recommendations for timing of the last main meal.
“The impact may be especially important in cultures like those of southern Europe where people eat 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.”
She said more research is needed to add that the animal data shows “profound implications for food metabolism and health.”
The findings are published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Some experts believe that by matching your food to your circadian rhythm, you can help maximize weight loss, energy and overall health.
How to Match Your Eating with the Circadian Rhythm Diet?
1. Eat with the sun
Experts say you should only eat when the sun is up. This is because some scientists believe that the sun determines our circadian rhythm.
Our rhythm expects us to eat during the day when the sun is shining (because in history we also had no electricity and light bulbs for a long time) and fast at night.
Ideally, this means there should be 12 hours between your last meal of the day and the first of the next day.
This is a lot like intermittent fasting – which has been shown to be effective for shedding the pounds.
2. Eat more early and less later
Make breakfast and lunch the biggest meals of the day and dinner the smallest.
You should get about 75 percent of your food before 3 p.m.
3. Eat your dinner for breakfast or lunch
Try eating foods for breakfast or lunch, such as a bowl of pasta or some chicken with vegetables.
This is because eating more at breakfast will keep you full throughout the day, which means you’re likely to snack less
Here’s an example of what a day after this diet might look like:
- For breakfast, whole wheat pasta with vegetables such as broccoli or kale
- For lunch, salmon with vegetable sides like carrots
- For dinner a large salad with various vegetables, walnuts and pumpkin seeds
A recent study even disproved the idea that your metabolism is controlled by your circadian rhythm.
Scottish researchers have found that the time you eat has no effect on weight loss.
They found that metabolism burns just as many calories in the evening as it does in the morning.
The only benefit of eating more in the morning is that you’ll feel less hungry later in the day, which could mean snacking less, researchers say.