It’s generally accepted that a healthy diet will reduce your risk of cancer, but new research suggests when you eat may be just as important as what you’re eating when it comes to keeping you well.
A study has found that breast cancer survivors are less likely to suffer a recurrence if they fast at least 13 hours overnight.
That is, if you’re an early riser who eats breakfast at 7am, it’s worth considering an early dinner too, say before 6pm.
The study published by JAMA Oncology last week, analysed data from 2,413 early-stage breast cancer patients, aged 27-70 at the time of diagnosis.
By examining when the women were eating over a 24-hour period, researchers established those fasting less than 13 hours were 36 per cent more likely to have their cancer return.
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No link was found between fasting less and increased risk of death, however, either from breast cancer or other causes.
“Prolonging the length of the nightly fasting interval may be a simple, non-pharmacologic strategy for reducing the risk of breast cancer recurrence,” said the authors, led by Ruth Patterson of the University of California in San Diego.
“One reason we feel positive about this as a potential dietary behaviour is how simple it is,” Patterson told the Washington Post.
“It’s easier than saying reduce your calorie intake by 500 a day, which requires changes in how you shop, where you eat out, and can be very burdensome.”
Several things could be responsible for the findings, for example, eating late at night can result in a bad sleep and can affect the way sugar is regulated by the body.