Macrobiotic diets improve diagnosis?

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Question from Sue: What are your feelings about macrobiotic diets and their usefulness in improving a cancer patient's diagnosis?
Answers - Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. There are 2 great papers on this subject. (van Gils CH et al. "Consumption of Vegetables and Fruits and Risk of Breast Cancer." JAMA, Jan. 12, 2005. 293(2):183-193 and also Kushi LH et al. "The Macrobiotic Diet in Cancer." 11th Annual Research Conference on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer. Washington, D.C. July 16-17, 2001.) The biggest concern with this diet is that it's highly restrictive and the potential for vitamin and mineral deficiencies is great. Before embarking on a macrobiotic diet, seek counseling from a registered dietician and discuss your plans with your physician. A modified macrobiotic diet may be reasonable. The macrobiotic diet is a step-wise progression in restricting food components. It's primarily raw vegetables and brown rice.

Because a diet is something that you do every day and every night, day after day, week after week, month after month, the diet you follow is one that you have to be able to enjoy and sustain over time. This is very hard to do if you ask yourself to take on an extreme diet or one that's highly restrictive. It can feel like punishment. It's not fun to eat one way and have all your friends and family eat all the good stuff around you. It's important to think in terms not of diet, but of healthy eating habits, not losing sight of the enjoyment of food.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Nutrition and Weight featured Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. and Marisa Weiss M.D. answering your questions about nutrition and weight.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2005.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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