The Macrobiotic Lifestyle, Food List & Health Benefits

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The Macrobiotic Lifestyle

The macrobiotic diet is based on the Buddhist ideas for longevity and health. It’s the view that each person is largely influenced by their environment and social interactions as well as the geography and climate of the place they live.

  • Macrobiotics is an holistic lifestyle—you try and eat and live in harmony with nature.

The macrobiotic diet stresses the importance:

Macrobiotic Diet Foods

  • A macrobiotic diet prioritizes locally grown foods which are prepared in a natural manner.

Following macrobiotic diet foods also means taking extra care in the way the foods are being prepared and cooked. There is a strong emphasis on eating foods that are baked, boiled and steamed and using little to no fried and ultra-processed foods.

Macrobiotic Diet Food List

  • Whole grains, vegetables, fermented soy, nuts, soups, seeds, beans and many types of fruits are the main composition of a macrobiotic diet.

  • White fish.

  • Other natural food products can also be incorporated in the diet.

When conforming to and utilizing the macrobiotic foods people are further encouraged to condition themselves to eat slowly and chew food thoroughly.

The Macrobiotic Diet & Individuality

The composition of a macrobiotic diet can be altered in order to suit an individual’s needs, with consideration of their particular health status.

This allows those with specific conditions, or even dietary requirements or preferences, to fine-tune their diet whilst still adhering to macrobiotic principles and recommendations.

Foods Not Included In The Macrobiotic Diet

Since a macrobiotic diet strongly recommends that foods must be eaten in their most natural state (i.e. as close to raw as possible), ultra-processed foods are out.

Other foods that are out:

  • Red meats.

  • Dairy products.

  • Sugar.

  • Caffeine.

  • Refined flour.

  • Alcohol.

  • Poultry.

  • Zucchini and potatoes are also not be included in the macrobiotic diet.

Since the macrobiotic lifestyle aims to achieve balance in every aspect of life, foods that are highly-concentrated and over stimulating should also be eliminated from the daily diet.

Macrobiotic Diet Benefits

Macrobiotic Diet Weight Loss

There’s said to be macrobiotic diet benefits, with weight loss being one of them.

Indeed, the macrobiotic diet can be effective with weight loss, especially if eating much of your food raw because cooking can increase the available calories in food.

It should be noted however that raw food is less healthy for you, for nutritional, antioxidant, and other reasons.

As such, eating much of your food raw is inadvisable, so this purported macrobiotic diet benefit doesn’t really stand up because you certainly don’t need to eat your food raw to achieve weight loss.

Other Macrobiotic Diet Benefits?

There’s other claimed benefits to the macrobiotic diet, from complimentary cancer treatment (even cure) to helping with diabetes, but these claims don’t really stand on their own two feet either.

  • While the macrobiotic diet is being studied for its cancer benefits there’s no evidence to say it works, and it would make more sense if the ketogenic diet were to be more effective anyway since many cancer cells do not use ketones for energy.

  • Any assistance with diabetes is almost certainly due to a reduction in fat mass, something which the macrobiotic diet with its emphasis on raw food will be good at. But, first, see above for our rebuttal to raw food, and second, fat loss itself results in increased insulin sensitivity, and therefore probable attenuation of type 2 diabetes, so claiming this is an actual ‘macrobiotic diet benefit’ is misleading.

  • A further problem with the macrobiotic diet, touched on above, is that it can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, so one would be well advised to find ways of getting these nutrients back in their diet if they do decide to go down the macrobiotic diet route.

  • Diets can also have their own complications with stress, and the more strict the diet the more stress that can result, so trying to achieve any macrobiotic diet benefits can bring along its own set of problems.

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The Bottom Line On The Macrobiotic Diet?

It is difficult to dismiss out of hand any diet that promotes the consumption of organic and locally grown foods with the exclusion of ultra-processed ingredients, and many things about the diet are healthy, such as its focus on wholegrains and fruit and vegetables. 

But the macrobiotic diet has its own set of complications and issues, and considering that one does not need to go to these extremes to reap the sought after benefits, the macrobiotic diet would appear to be a bad idea for most people.

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