Nutrient Composition and Anti-inflammatory Potential of a Prescribed Macrobiotic Diet

Nutr Cancer. 2015;67(6):933-40. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2015.1055369. Epub 2015 Jul 25.


Despite nutrient adequacy concerns, macrobiotic diets are practiced by many individuals with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. This study compared the nutrient composition and inflammatory potential of a macrobiotic diet plan with national dietary recommendations and intakes from a nationally representative sample. Nutrient comparisons were made using the 1) macrobiotic diet plan outlined in the Kushi Institute's Way to Health; 2) recommended dietary allowances (RDA); and 3) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010 data. Comparisons included application of the recently developed dietary inflammatory index (DII). Analyses focused on total calories, macronutrients, 28 micronutrients, and DII scores. Compared to NHANES data, the macrobiotic diet plan had a lower percentage of energy from fat, higher total dietary fiber, and higher amounts of most micronutrients. Nutrients often met or exceeded RDA recommendations, except for vitamin D, vitamin B12, and calcium. Based on DII scores, the macrobiotic diet was more anti-inflammatory compared to NHANES data (average scores of -1.88 and 1.00, respectively). Findings from this analysis of a macrobiotic diet plan indicate the potential for disease prevention and suggest the need for studies of real-world consumption as well as designing, implementing, and testing interventions based on the macrobiotic approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Diet, Macrobiotic*
  • Diet, Western
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Micronutrients