Macrobiotic Diet

Macrobiotic diets have been described by the American Medical Association as “one of the most dangerous dietary regimens, posing not only serious hazards to the health of the individual but even to  life itself.”

The Government expert used to tell people to not drink water, which isn’t good, and to avoid fruit—so much so that it resulted in modern-day cases of scurvy.

Health Visit. 1979 May;52(5):205.

Cult diets: a form of child abuse.

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Am J Public Health. 1974 Jan;64(1):11-8.

Food zealotry and youth: new dilemmas for professionals.

Frankle RT, Heussenstamm FK.

PMID: 4357413 PMCID: PMC1775

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Pediatr Clin North Am. 1977 Feb;24(1):189-201.

Food faddism.

Robson JR.

Compared to the SAD the standard American diet, it’s got a lot of things going for it. Only a quarter of the saturated fat intake, less than half the sugar intake. A very respectable fiber intake, two-and-a-half times the national average, but actually taking in more sodium. So, while the macrobiotic diet is an anti-inflammatory diet—has a negative dietary inflammatory index score, as opposed to the pro-inflammatory American diet—some of the most anti-inflammatory foods are herbs and spices. So, instead of adding all that sea salt and soy sauce, the macrobiotic diet could be improved by using natural seasonings instead.

randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover studies of kale, and show that it suppresses the after-a-meal increase in blood sugars. Eat a meal of white rice, chicken, and eggs and get a big spike in blood sugar—though significantly less adding just a tablespoon of dried kale powder, as opposed to some kind of placebo powder (though the effect is visually exaggerated by their y-axis shenanigans).

And macrobiotic diets use whole grains, which can significantly improve insulin sensitivity compared to refined grains, which may be due in part to all the wonderful things fiber can do to help our good gut bacteria thrive—which could potentially lower inflammation, and decrease diabetes risk. But you don’t know…until you put it to the test.

Just three weeks on a strictly plant-based diet composed mostly of whole grains, vegetables, and beans and… they got about a 10% drop in blood pressure, a whopping 35% drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol, and a 38% drop in fasting blood sugars—in just 21 days. Were these changes statistically significant? Here’s some three-month P values for you.  Those are my kind of P values. In other words, yes, the changes were significant in every possible way.

, Mario Pianesi, a strictly plant-based diet based mostly on whole grains and vegetables, with legumes and some seeds, and decaf green tea as the preferred beverage. Look at these extraordinary numbers: a near 40% drop in fasting blood sugars; near 27% drop in LDL cholesterol in 21 days.

Zen macrobiotic diets. JAMA. 1971;218(3):397.

Sherlock P, Rothschild EO. Scurvy produced by a Zen macrobiotic diet. JAMA. 1967;199(11):794-798.

Lerman RH. The macrobiotic diet in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Pract. 2010;25(6):621-626.

Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(6):933-40. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.1055369. Epub 2015 Jul 25.

Nutrient Composition and Anti-inflammatory Potential of a Prescribed Macrobiotic Diet.

Harmon BE1, Carter M, Hurley TG, Shivappa N, Teas J, Hébert JR.

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Despite nutrient adequacy concerns, macrobiotic diets are practiced by many individuals with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. This study compared the nutrient composition and inflammatory potential of a macrobiotic diet plan with national dietary recommendations and intakes from a nationally representative sample. Nutrient comparisons were made using the 1) macrobiotic diet plan outlined in the Kushi Institute’s Way to Health; 2) recommended dietary allowances (RDA); and 3) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010 data. Comparisons included application of the recently developed dietary inflammatory index (DII). Analyses focused on total calories, macronutrients, 28 micronutrients, and DII scores. Compared to NHANES data, the macrobiotic diet plan had a lower percentage of energy from fat, higher total dietary fiber, and higher amounts of most micronutrients. Nutrients often met or exceeded RDA recommendations, except for vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium. Based on DII scores, the macrobiotic diet was more anti-inflammatory compared to NHANES data (average scores of -1.88 and 1.00, respectively). Findings from this analysis of a macrobiotic diet plan indicate the potential for disease prevention and suggest the need for studies of real-world consumption as well as designing, implementing, and testing interventions based on the macrobiotic approach.

PMID: 26212923 PMCID: PMC4596721 DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2015

Harmon BE, Carter M, Hurley TG, Shivappa N, Teas J, Hébert JR. Nutrient Composition and Anti-inflammatory Potential of a Prescribed Macrobiotic Diet. Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(6):933-940.

Carroll HA, Davis MG, Papadaki A. Higher plain water intake is associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk: a cross-sectional study in humans. Nutr Res. 2015;35(10):865-872.

Li M, Fan Y, Zhang X, Hou W, Tang Z. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ Open. 2014;4(11):e005497.

Kondo S, Suzuki A, Kurokawa M, Hasumi K. Intake of kale suppresses postprandial increases in plasma glucose: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Biomed Rep. 2016;5(5):553-558.

Lappi J, Kolehmainen M, Mykkänen H, Poutanen K. Do large intestinal events explain the protective effects of whole grain foods against type 2 diabetes?. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(6):631-640.

Pereira MA, Jacobs DR, Pins JJ, et al. Effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity in overweight hyperinsulinemic adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;75(5):848-855.

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J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:856342. doi: 10.1155/2012/856342. Epub 2012 Oct 14.

Medium- and short-term interventions with ma-pi 2 macrobiotic diet in type 2 diabetic adults of bauta, havana.

Porrata-Maury C1, Hernández-Triana M, Rodríguez-Sotero E, Vilá-Dacosta-Calheiros R, Hernández-Hernández H, Mirabal-Sosa M, Campa-Huergo C, Pianesi M.

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In Cuba, the Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet has shown positive results in 6-month assays with type 2 diabetic patients. The objective of this study was to assess the influence of this diet at short and medium terms.


Sixty-five type 2 diabetic volunteers were included for dietary intervention, institutionally based for 21 days and followed later at home, until completing 3 months. 54 of them stayed until assay end. Before intervention, and after both assay periods, they were submitted to anthropometric records, body composition analyses and measurements of serum biochemical indicators, glycemic profile in capillary blood, blood pressure, and medication consumption; food intake was evaluated by the 3-day dietary recall.


During the intervention, the energy intake was 200 kcal higher at instance of more complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber and despite less fat and protein. Blood pressure and serum biochemical indicators decreased significantly in both periods; the safety nutritional indicators (hemoglobin, serum total proteins, and albumin) showed no variations. The global cardiovascular risk decreased and insulin consumption dropped by 46% and 64%, in both periods, respectively.


The Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet was a successful therapy at short term and after 3-month home-based intervention, for type 2 diabetics.

Porrata-Maury C, Hernández-Triana M, Rodríguez-Sotero E, et al. Medium- and short-term interventions with ma-pi 2 macrobiotic diet in type 2 diabetic adults of bauta, havana. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:856342.

Porrata-Maury C, Hernández-Triana M, Ruiz-Álvarez V, et al. Ma-Pi 2 macrobiotic diet and type 2 diabetes mellitus: pooled analysis of short-term intervention studies. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2014;30 Suppl 1:55-66.

Soare A, Khazrai YM, Del Toro R, et al. The effect of the macrobiotic Ma-Pi 2 diet vs. the recommended diet in the management of type 2 diabetes: the randomized controlled MADIAB trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014;11:39.

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