The Macrobiotic Diet
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler’s educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Jay W. Marks, MD
Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
What is a macrobiotic diet?
Macrobiotic diets combine the concepts of Buddhist spirituality and certain
dietary principles with the goal of balancing spiritual and physical wellness.
Macrobiotic diets aim to avoid the “toxins” that come from eating dairy
products, meats, and oily foods. A macrobiotic diet consists largely of whole
grains, cereals, and cooked vegetables.
Are macrobiotic diets overly restrictive?
Early versions of macrobiotic diets could be quite
extreme, for example, requiring the consumption of only cooked whole grains and
limited beverages. Currently, macrobiotic counselors do not recommend these
extremely restrictive diets. A specific macrobiotic diet prescription is determined for an individual,
taking into account his or her age, sex, level of physical activity, and native
Is the concept of macrobiotics a recent development?
The macrobiotic philosophy and diet were first described
by the Japanese philosopher George Ohsawa, who began teaching his philosophies
of health and dieting in the 1930s. In the 1960s, the philosophy of macrobiotics
was brought to the US. Interest in the diet increased in the 1980s following a
book written by physician Anthony Sattilaro, who believed that a macrobiotic
diet helped treat his own prostate cancer.