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

Macrobiotic diet

Does it work?

There are no clinical trials or reliable epidemiological data available to suggest that this diet is effective for cancer prevention.5;12. Vegetarian diets seem to confer some protection against cancer but it is unclear whether this effect also extends to the macrobiotic diet.13 Such a postulated effect could most likely also be achieved by diets that are more nutritionally balanced and less complex to prepare. 

There are a number of anecdotal reports of cure of established cancer through adherence to a macrobiotic diet;3,8 but to date these reports have not been confirmed in clinical studies. 10,12,14

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

References

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  3. Lerman RH. The macrobiotic diet in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Pract 2010; 25: 621-6.
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  23. Dagnelie PC, Vergote FJ, van Staveren WA et al. High prevalence of rickets in infants on macrobiotic diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1990; 51: 202-8.
  24. Salmon P, Rees JR, Flanagan M et al. Hypocalcaemia in a mother and rickets in an infant associated with a Zen macrobiotic diet. Ir J Med Sci 1981; 150: 192-3.
  25. Sherlock P, Rothschild EO. Scurvy produced by a Zen macrobiotic diet. JAMA 1967; 199: 794-8.
  26. Kirby M. Danner E. Nutritional deficiencies in children on restricted diets. Pediatric Clinics of North America 2009; 56: 1085-103.