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Biblical Daniel Fast Tested

January 24, 2013 by Michael Greger M.D. in News with 5 Comments

Researchers recently set out to replicate the “Daniel Fast,” the biblical nutrition trial outlined in Daniel 1:8-16.

In my last blog post Poultry Paunch, I featured results from the EPIC study, one of the largest studies ever performed. The gold standard, however, is an interventional study where you put people on a certain diet and track what happens. It’s easy to get people to make little changes, but increasingly we’re seeing evidence that to see big changes in our health, we need to make big changes in our diet. Moderation kills: check out my videos Heart Attacks and Cholesterol: Dying Under Normal Circumstances and Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

People who want to lower their risk can certainly tweak their diet, but those who want to eliminate their risk or reverse disease really have to take healthy eating seriously. How are public health professionals going to get folks to commit to a healthy diet? Maybe by telling them the bible told them so.

In Daniel, Chapter 1, verses 8-16, the prophet best known for his lion’s den rather than his budding role as nutritional scientist resolved not to defile himself with the king’s meat. When this was met with resistance, Daniel proposed a test: round up some test subjects, put them on a plant-based diet, and see how they do. And what do you know! They ended up looking healthier and better nourished, so Daniel got to stick to his veggies. As I note in my 2-min. video Tightening the Bible Belt, though the King James version uses the word “vegetables,” the original Hebrew version can translate into a broader definition. 2700 years later, researchers at the University of Memphis decided it was time to try to replicate the study. Watch my 2-min. video Biblical Daniel Fast Put to the Test to find out the results.

Can the drop in biomarkers of inflammation they found in the study actually translate into an improvement in inflammatory disease progression though? See Dietary Treatment of Crohn’s Disease and Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis. The decrease in inflammation is likely a combination of the anti-inflammatory effects of many plant foods (Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell) and the pro-inflammatory effects of animal foods (see the 3-video series ending with Dead Meat Bacteria Endotoxemia). The improvement in antioxidant capacity is also not unexpected given the different Antioxidant Power of Plant Foods Versus Animal Foods.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my 2012 year-in-review presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: dentist_jo / Flickr

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Dr. Michael Greger

About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

View all videos by Michael Greger M.D.

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  • Stroke Belt RN

    “How are public health professionals going to get folks to commit to a healthy diet? Maybe by telling them the bible told them so.”

    Sounds like you might be onto an effective motivational approach for those of the evangelical christian persuasion, which is the predominant tribe in my neck of the woods (Texas).

    The heaviest lift in public health isn’t having the information and behavior modifications we know will lead to better health outcomes (leading the horse to water), but getting people to internalize it and fully incorporate it (getting them to drink the water).

    This may be a way of presenting the water hole so it seems more of a spiritual oasis to those who value the christian spiritual ethic above straight-forward science. And that is a very large cohort in these times, in more ways than one.

  • moon

    Hi
    I love your articles. However the print is too small to read for an oldie. Normally i cud spread the page to make the print bigger and readable on my samsung tablet but not for
    your articles. Hope you cud kindly do something to help seniors reading your articles as it is very tiring for my eyes. Tq. Best regards.

  • Nikita

    And then there’s Genesis 1:29, where God tells Adam and Eve what He’s given them to eat – and it doesn’t include any meat or animal products. It’s strictly plant based. Somehow this is conveniently ignored by most.

  • DanielFaster

    Of course veganism is at the very heart and soul of Judaism, and animal products are to be consumed only when absolutely necessary:
    http://www.jewishveg.com/jv.html
    http://www.bmv.org.il/v/vegan.html

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