The macrobiotic diet in cancer

L. H. Kushi, J. E. Cunningham, J. R. Hebert, R. H. Lerman, E. V. Bandera, J. Teas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Macrobiotics is one of the most popular alternative or complementary comprehensive lifestyle approaches to cancer. The centerpiece of macrobiotics is a predominantly vegetarian, whole-foods diet that has gained popularity because of remarkable case reports of individuals who attributed recoveries from cancers with poor prognoses to macrobiotics and the substantial evidence that the many dietary factors recommended by macrobiotics are associated with decreased cancer risk. Women consuming macrobiotic diets have modestly lower circulating estrogen levels, suggesting a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be due in part to the high phytoestrogen content of the macrobiotic diet. As with most aspects of diet in cancer therapy, there has been limited research evaluating the effectiveness of the macrobiotic diet in alleviating suffering or prolonging survival of cancer patients. The few studies have compared the experience of cancer patients who tried macrobiotics with expected survival rates or assembled series of cases that may justify more rigorous research. On the basis of available evidence and its similarity to dietary recommendations for chronic disease prevention, the macrobiotic diet probably carries a reduced cancer risk. However, at present, the empirical scientific basis for or against recommendations for use of macrobiotics for cancer therapy is limited. Any such recommendations are likely to reflect biases of the recommender. Because of its popularity and the compelling evidence that dietary factors are important in cancer etiology and survival, further research to clarify whether the macrobiotic diet or similar dietary patterns are effective in cancer prevention and treatment is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume131
Issue number11 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Macrobiotic Diet
neoplasms
diet
Neoplasms
Research
Diet
Phytoestrogens
therapeutics
plant estrogens
Survival
vegetarian diet
dietary recommendations
disease prevention
chronic diseases
eating habits
breast neoplasms

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Life change events
  • Macrobiotic diet
  • Neoplasms
  • Vegetarianism
  • Yin-yang

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

Cite this

Kushi, L. H., Cunningham, J. E., Hebert, J. R., Lerman, R. H., Bandera, E. V., & Teas, J. (2001). The macrobiotic diet in cancer. Journal of Nutrition, 131(11 SUPPL.).

The macrobiotic diet in cancer. / Kushi, L. H.; Cunningham, J. E.; Hebert, J. R.; Lerman, R. H.; Bandera, E. V.; Teas, J.

In: Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 131, No. 11 SUPPL., 2001.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kushi, LH, Cunningham, JE, Hebert, JR, Lerman, RH, Bandera, EV & Teas, J 2001, 'The macrobiotic diet in cancer', Journal of Nutrition, vol. 131, no. 11 SUPPL..
Kushi LH, Cunningham JE, Hebert JR, Lerman RH, Bandera EV, Teas J. The macrobiotic diet in cancer. Journal of Nutrition. 2001;131(11 SUPPL.).
Kushi, L. H. ; Cunningham, J. E. ; Hebert, J. R. ; Lerman, R. H. ; Bandera, E. V. ; Teas, J. / The macrobiotic diet in cancer. In: Journal of Nutrition. 2001 ; Vol. 131, No. 11 SUPPL.
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