What is the macrobiotic diet?Peangdao/shutterstock
This eating approach is inspired by Zen Buddhism: It involves finding a “yin and yang” balance in not only the foods you eat, but in how you cook your food and even how you live your life. “The macrobiotic diet is a predominantly vegetarian diet high in fiber and complex carbohydrates and low in fat,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, LDN. “It is specifically marketed to prevent disease and promote optimal health.” The diet consists primarily of whole cereal grains (especially brown rice) along with beans and some vegetables. Thinking of going vegetarian? Here are six ways to get there.
Weight loss and health issuesRobert Przybysz/shutterstock
Many people turn to the diet to lose weight and help with other health issues such as diabetes. Research suggests that including more plant-based sources like whole grains, beans, and vegetables can reduce the risk of chronic disease, including reducing the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance, heart disease, and high blood pressure. There is even some evidence that the diet can help reduce hormonal levels associated with higher risk of breast cancer. As far as weight loss goes: “There has not been research specifically on a macrobiotic diet for weight loss, although weight loss is likely given its low-calorie nature,” says Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD. Because the diet encourages people to cut out processed foods and sources of sugar, many find that they naturally shed pounds.