The macrobiotic diet has been defined as a way of eating based on the principle of Yin and Yang, seeking physical and emotional balance through food. This approach to nutrition is based on eating locally grown organic foods, vegetables, whole foods, and reducing fats, sugars, and processed foods. All consumption must maintain a balance between the components and the energy contribution that it represents for the person. Prohibit certain foods with the purpose of improving, controlling or curing diseases.
There are various variants of more or less strict macrobiotic diets, some that prohibit only foods of animal origin (thus it would be more like a vegetarian diet), others that eliminate dairy products, coffee, and other stimulants, aromatic herbs, meats, and processed foods and even others that they are going to ban everything except the consumption of cereals, water, and some fruits and vegetables.
Most important features
The main foods allowed on this diet are whole grains, vegetables, algae, and legumes. Complementary foods include fish shellfish and fruits. The conventional composition of the macrobiotic diet is:
50%-60% whole grains
5%-10% legumes and seaweed
Indications for following a macrobiotic diet
Specific recommendations are given, such as that the water should come from a well or well, and it is indicates which foods from each group should be consuming and which are not recommending. For example within the group of vegetables, regular, occasional, or occasional consumption. avoid following yin and yang criteria or classifying foods as “cold” or “warm”:
Usual Consumption: Pumpkins, acorns, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, dandelion roots and leaves, green and Chinese cabbage, kale, leeks, parsley, parsnips, radishes, rutabaga, chives, turnips, and watercress.
Occasional consumption: celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, romaine lettuce, shiitake mushrooms, Swiss chard, water chestnuts… Avoid asparagus, avocado, eggplant, fennel, green and red bell peppers, bananas, potatoes, spinach, or tomatoes. As with the vegetable group, comparable indications are given for all food groups. In addition, other criteria are such as:
Whenever possible, food should be organic. Supplementation with vitamins and minerals is not recommended. Meals must be prepared with special cooking techniques; The use of microwaves or electricity for cooking is not recommended. The foods that are allowed depend to some extent on where you live if you have cancer and where you are.
Benefits of the Macrobiotic Diet
It has a number of advantages such as:
- Eliminate processed and ultra-processed foods, which help reduce the consumption of trans fats, added sugars, refined flours, and sodium.
- As well as the reduction of red meat and alcohol.
- These are positive qualities of the macrobiotic diet. However, remain in the background due to the risks that it may entail, especially when strict variants are followed without any scientific basis.
Disadvantages of the Macrobiotic Diet
The strict macrobiotic diet, with a strong spiritual component, may include:
Very nutritional deficiencies. Also, some followers of the macrobiotic diet claim that it can help prevent and cure cancer. Which is far from the truth. Although it is true that a diet rich in good quality fiber and complex carbohydrates can help prevent it. Due to its nutritional deficiencies, it can also harm its evolution.
On the other hand, research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the macrobiotic diet can cause delayed physical growth and psychomotor development because it is deficient in protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamins of the complex B. .in its strictest versions.
Some principles of the macrobiotic diet are healthy, such as promoting the consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, as well as avoiding refined and processed foods. However, this diet is unnecessarily strict and restricts many healthy foods based on pseudoscientific criteria. Therefore, it is not recommendes as a preferable diet. Especially the stricter variants, and it is strongly discouraged in infants, children, or pregnant or lactating women according to the ssgnews.