Nightly fasting may help reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence

Over 2,000 female early stage breast cancer survivors without diabetes participated in the University of California at San Diego’s “Women’s Healthy Eating and Living study from 1995 to 2007. Researchers learned about the women’s eating and sleeping habits and found that the average breast cancer survivor did not eat for 12.5 hours each night and morning including the time they were asleep. When they compared the women that did not eat, or “fasted,” for 13 hours or more to women who fasted for less than 13 hours, they found that those who had shorter fasts had a 36% higher risk of getting breast cancer again. Also, they found that adding more hours to the fast improved blood sugar control and time sleeping at night.

What does this information mean to you, or how can you use it?

Getting good sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health, and eating right before bed can keep you from getting good sleep. Think about your eating and sleeping habits. They are different on the weekends for most people, but ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

  • When do I normally stop eating each night?
  • When do I go to bed and wake up?
  • When do I start eating in the morning?

While there may not be anything special about 13 hours, this is a great goal to work toward. If you are snacking late at night, is it because you are hungry, stressed, bored or just doing it out of habit? Try to space out the time between your last meal or snack of the day and breakfast a thirty minutes or one hour at a time. Going 13 hours without eating does not prevent you from getting cancer, but this study shows that it may have some big benefits.



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