I spend much of my clinical time talking to patients about nutrition and helping them choose what to eat.
As always, I challenge my knowledge to do better for my patients and my family.
As of late, the conversation on eating has shifted a bit not only on the what to eat but also on when to eat.
Here’s the deal; it turns out the earlier your meals, the less likely you will get prostate cancer or breast cancer based on this new study.
- Case-controlled based study conducted in 12 Spanish regions in 2008–2013
- 1,738 breast and 1,112 prostate incident cancer cases
- People working night-shift (which increases prostate and breast cancer risk) were excluded from the study to control for the possibility of night shift work being the cause of cancer and not nighttime eating
CONCLUSION: Those who ate their last meal of the day before 9 p.m. was found to have a 20 percent lower risk of breast and prostate cancers than compared to those who ate after 10 p.m. or went to bed right after dinner, those
Dr. Geo’s take on Late Night Eating for Cancer
This is not the first study suggesting against late night eating for disease prevention.
In a group of over four hundred overweight participants, late eaters had a more difficult time losing weight compared to early eaters despite having similar age, appetite, hormones values, food intake, sleep duration, etc.
Another study observed that those who ate late at night had 55% higher risk of heart disease compared to the early eater.
Interestingly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which I trained in as well, digestion is a yang activity, and nighttime is yin – doing a yang activity doing yin time contributes to disease in TCM.
The ill effects of eating late are not necessarily what I want to hear as nighttime eating can feel soooo gooood.
Here are some holistic but realistic tips:
- Know that doing the right things, i.e., exercising, last meal early, taking good supplements it’s not supposed to be always fun, but its essential to do if the goal is to live longer and function optimally. Some pain, psychological or physical is OK.
- Life happens. Sometimes is a toss-up between coming home late from work and not eating or having a meal with your family even though it’s 10 pm. I would opt with eating with my family, eat light and not eat again for 12 to 16 hours later (intermittent fasting). Implement this same advice with late-night dinner meetings and holidays.
- Eat less protein at night and more carbs. Yeah, I know this is tough to do at a steakhouse and anti-paleo but here’s the story; protein gives you energy, carbs have a calming effect by secreting more serotonin, a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin. Now, if you eat too many carbs, especially processed carbs (i.e. bread, pasta, etc.) you will have a carb hangover the next morning – that awful, dragging feeling as if you downed ten shots of tequila. Eat small portions of whole carbs like sweet potato, rice, etc.
- Get to bed early. The longer you’re up, the more you will want to eat.
- Take the dietary supplement, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) if you crave food at night. Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to serotonin, and it has been my experience it reduces cravings at night. There might be some sleep benefit there as well.
You only get one shot at living your best life. You don’t always have to like doing the right things – do them anyway. Don’t eat after 8 pm, most days of the week. Change is good. Purposeful, smart pain is good too. Enjoy the benefits. Trust the process. Also, often what is good for prostate (and breast cancer) prevention is also good after the diagnosis of these diseases as well.
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The CaPLESS Retreat is coming in September to help prostate cancer (CaP) thrivers live their best life by implementing science-based lifestyle practices. I to connect with you there. There is limited space.