Diet review: Macrobiotic diet

The macrobiotic diet, of Japanese origin, is a high fiber, low fat, vegetarian diet. The diet includes 50 to 60% staple grains as the main food, with 25% for vegetables, preferably raw, several servings of fruits and nuts, and a small portion of legumes.

The diet also mentions special soups with a small percentage of refined oil used for cooking. The soups, popularly known as Miso and Shoyu are fermented soyabean soups, soyabean being a prime ingredient in this diet. The diet also propagates that food should be chewed well and eaten slowly for aiding good digestion. Here's a detailed review of the macrobiotic diet.

How does the macrobiotic diet work?
The strength of this diet is based on its constituents as it is very low in saturated fats and processed foods and very high in natural and complex carbohydrates. This makes it rich in naturally occurring phytoestrogens and antioxidants and provides essential fats for the body. This increases our body's immunity against diseases, particularly against breast cancer and atherosclerosis. Food if eaten slowly and chewed properly ensures excellent digestion.

What can one eat while on the macrobiotic diet?
You can consume:
Whole grains, especially brown rice: 50%-60%
Vegetables : 25%-30%
Beans: 5%-10%
Fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, miso soup: 5%-20%
Soup (made with the above ingredients): 1-2 cups/day
Fruit can be consumed several times a week.
Cooking oil is typically unrefined vegetable oil.

You cannot consume:
Sugar, honey, molasses, chocolate, carob, and other sweeteners are avoided.
Coffee and chocolates
Refined flours

Advantages of the macrobiotic diet
The macrobiotic diet emphasizes healthy foods such as fiber-rich whole grains, vegetables, and beans. It is low in saturated fat and high in phyto estrogens. It is low sugar. It is believed that eating more of foods which are natural and raw keeps the body cleansed and increases our natural immunity. It is generally low in calories and keeps our weight in balance. It promotes healthy eating habits.

Disadvantages of the macrobiotic diet
The Macrobiotic diet is considered by some nutritionists to be too restrictive. Lack of energy may result from inadequate protein, resulting from a complete ban on animal protein and lowered dairy protein. This kind of diet cannot be administered for children, pregnant women and people with medical ailments. The prime reason is that due to imposed restrictions it becomes deficient in certain foods and thus lacks certain nutrients in appropriate quantities. This may lead to malnutrition or retarded growth in children and health complications in pregnant women and sick people.

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