Written by Edzard Ernst and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Macrobiotic diet

Abstract and key points

The macrobiotic diet is essentially a specific vegetarian form of nutrition and life-style. A typical macrobiotic diet would consist mainly of whole grains, cereals and cooked vegetables. Some types of fish are allowed but only in moderation.

  • The origins of the macrobiotic diet reach far back into history.
  • Despite many claims to the contrary, there is no reliable evidence that it prevents or treats cancers effectively.
  • The strictest forms of macrobiotics can cause malnutrition.

Popularised in the 1970s by Michio Kushi, it is now often promoted for the prevention and treatment of cancer. There are, however, no clinical trials of macrobiotics for cancer treatment, nor are there reliable epidemiological data to suggest that this diet is effective for cancer prevention. The strictest forms of this diet can lead to severe malnutrition.

Citation Edzard Ernst, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Macrobiotic diet [online document]. http://ws.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Dietary-approaches/Macrobiotic-diet. February 8, 2017.

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