So one of my big changes in eating due to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment (keeping alcohol to about 2 glasses a week, ramping up the veggies, no beef plus less pork, berries and broccoli almost every day, etc) has been to try to keep as long a time period as possible between evening eating and breakfast eating (I don’t count lattes as “breakfast eating” which is possibly a fallacy, but that’s a different problem).

The JAMA article was inspired by rodent studies, and so tested self-reported sleep/eat times in a cohort of about 2413 women.

“The cohort of 2413 women (mean [SD] age, 52.4 [8.9] years) reported a mean (SD) fasting duration of 12.5 (1.7) hours per night. In repeated-measures Cox proportional hazards regression models, fasting less than 13 hours per night (lower 2 tertiles of nightly fasting distribution) was associated with an increase in the risk of breast cancer recurrence compared with fasting 13 or more hours per night (hazard ratio, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.05-1.76).”

So eating my dinner at 6..and then snacking until 9pm, waking up and eating breakfast at 8:00 am wasn’t the healthiest of patterns. I’ve been trying to cut off eat by 8pm because I’m an early riser (5am or s0) and can just barely keep from eating until about 8am most days.

I was happy to see that the latest study (hospital in China) found that the worst results were in women who ate between 10pm – 2am… maybe all those midnight donut runs to Little Italy in Cleveland in high school weren’t such a good idea….

“Eating at night after 10 pm was significantly associated with breast cancer with an adjusted OR of 1.50 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–2.12, P = 0.02), and the associations were stronger in women who had the longest duration of nighttime eating (≥20 years) (adjusted OR = 2.28 (95% CI 1.13–4.61, P = 0.02) and who ate late (midnight to 2 a.m.) (adjusted OR = 2.73, 95% CI 1.01–6.99, P = 0.04). Interestingly, nighttime eating was only associated with breast cancer among women who consumed staple foods (OR = 2.16, 95% CI 1.42–3.29, P < 0.001) but not those who ate vegetables or fruits as nighttime meals. The significant association between nighttime eating and breast cancer was observed among women with body mass index (BMI) <25 (OR = 2.29, 95% CI 1.48–3.52, P < 0.001) but not among women with BMI ≥25.”

Interesting to see that the results hold true for those not overweight or obese, but those of us overweight/obese folks can still eat at night? Not sure what those results mean.

However, the studies suggest that regulating glucose in the blood and inflammation, and providing long stretches of “fasting” actually help control our chances of getting cancer. I know of several cases of women who self-reported going into very tight dietary/caloric restrictions during chemotherapy to try to “kill” the cancer cells…I’m not so sure that’s the safest/healthiest approach to treatment and not sure the research is there to back it up, but not eating at night by any account is probably a healthy choice.