The Need for Additional Daniel Fast Research

When considering fasting for religious purposes, one can clearly document the spiritual benefits associated with this discipline. However, only a relatively small number of scientific studies have documented the health benefits of religious fasting. This is particularly true as pertaining to Christian fasting, for which only a handful of studies have been conducted. For a detailed review of literature focused on religious fasting, please see the article below.

Trepanowski JF, Bloomer RJ. The impact of religious fasting on human health. Nutr J. 2010 Nov 22;9(1):57.

The fact that so few studies have been conducted focused on religiously motivated fasts as pertaining to health outcomes is surprising, as thousands of individuals undergo fasts each year, with multiple anecdotal reports of improved health and well-being. Indeed, the literature related to caloric restriction and other forms of non-religious “fasting” such as “alternate day fasting” and “dietary restriction” has provided an abundance of evidence in support of such regimens for the improvement of health related outcomes. This clearly highlights the important role that dietary intake plays in regulating overall health.

Our work with the Daniel Fast has yielded similar effects as other “fasting” approaches, but may have greater potential in terms of long-term compliance. This hypothesis is based on the fact that, unlike other fasting methods which restrict overall calorie intake, the Daniel Fast approach allows individuals to consume as much food as they would like each day (of course, food choices are often modified as compared to their typical intake). Due to the ad libitum nature of the Daniel Fast plan, overall compliance to the fast has proven excellent—which is encouraging when considering the adoption of such a regimen long-term.

From a data perspective, our laboratory-based evidence corroborates the anecdotal reports of improved health outcomes provided by thousands of individuals partaking in the usual 21 day fast. These encouraging findings have served as an impetus for our investigation in this area, and we plan to continue in this line of work in order to more fully elucidate the biochemical and health-related effects of the Daniel Fast.

We welcome input from investigators and clinicians who share a similar interest in the Daniel Fast—possibly collaborating with us in this line of inquiry. We also welcome input from non-scientists and those who may have participated in a Daniel Fast and are interested in sharing their experience. Please see Ongoing Research and Published Research for information pertaining to our work.