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Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):621-6. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385704.

The macrobiotic diet in chronic disease.

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Functional Medicine Research Center, MetaProteomics, LLC, Gig Harbor, WA 98332, USA.


The macrobiotic diet is a low-fat, high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate, mainly vegetarian diet. It is associated with a lifestyle system and a spiritual philosophy of life. Unlike many diets, the composition is not fixed and may be altered depending on a person's health status, among other considerations. Studies indicating lower serum lipid levels and blood pressure in people following a macrobiotic diet than in the general population suggest it to be an effective preventive strategy for cardiovascular disease. Many of its components suggest macrobiotics would be a valuable approach to cancer prevention. On the other hand, it has been the subject of controversy, especially with respect to its use in patients suffering from malignancies. Several remarkable anecdotal case reports have supported a therapeutic effect in patients with advanced cancers. However, to date, the few studies attempted have been inadequate to prove effectiveness and further research is warranted. Concerns include potential delay in conventional treatment for cancer, risks associated with nutrition deficiencies, and social limitations related to the complexities of strict adherence to this diet. Many aspects of currently popular dietary recommendations such as eating locally grown, in-season, fresh, organic foods are legacies of the macrobiotic lifestyle and diet.

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