Doctor's Note

Also see the prequel video, Tightening the Bible Belt. Can the drop in biomarkers of inflammation 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 (see Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell), and the pro-inflammatory effects of animal foods (see the three-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.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts:  Stool Size and Breast Cancer RiskBiblical Daniel Fast Tested; and Mushrooms and Immunity.

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  • See the “prequel” in Friday’s video-of-the-day Tightening the Bible Belt. Can the drop in biomarkers of inflammation 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.

    If all these neat studies intrigue you as much as they do me, make sure to subscribe to my videos (for free) by clicking here.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Isn’t great to know that everytime you say something, even in jest, you will offend someone!?
      Rhetorical Question.

      • Drbill

        That is for sure! ;(

      • Slim_Langer

        I agree, it’s a b*tch when someone else is right … and pride just won’t let you admit it. But if you say prejudicial things, it’s likely that eventually someone’s gonna call you on it. Take care.

  • Elpoo

    Thanks so much for your great presentations at Toronto’s Vegetarian Festival. So interesting and entertaining! 

    •  I agree! Dr. Greger makes the presentation so much more lively. Great to have you Doc and thanks for cheerfully posing for photos with us. You’re welcome back to Toronto any time!

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      I love your screen name!  Any reference to a diet high in fiber?

      • Elpoo

        Ha! No, it’s a nickname from when I was a teenager. But going vegan has certainly made me a much…um… happier person.

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          So what you are saying is, that you have learned to ‘Go with the flow’!

          • Elpoo

            Fibre is my friend.

  • Slim_Langer

    I’m not from Tennessee and evidently you’re not from Tennessee — but the last cynical swipe strikes me as really petty, and uncalled for. If we’re following a WFPB vegan diet, we’re all human and we’ve all taken some social knocks for it, but it allows us to be on the high road in terms of both moral philosophy/ humane issues AND health science. What call is there for this? It doesn’t help to be negative.  All the best.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Point of view is from ones perspective.

      We all have different perspectives and that is what makes the world so fascinating.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Personally, I love Dr. Gregers ‘Bible Banging’.  Tenessee is in the bible belt isn’t it? 
      Nothing like a little flaggelation to get the blood flowing.

    • Carolyn

       I do live in TN and am a vegan and know several people who have done the Daniel Fast. It was my first experience with people in TN wanting to know how to cook vegan dishes. (I shared as many recipes as I could think of with them.)

      I am not sure that my friends here in Tennessee would take his comment all that badly. The fact that their devotion to their religion supercedes health concerns is not so different from statements by ethical vegans that becoming vegan for reasons of health isn’t good enough. (There are lots of reasons to be vegan. We should open our tents wide.)

      To the doctor’s question: Many people do this fast as part of a committed religious practice. From what I can tell the norm here is for a church group to do it once a year. At least one person I know became a complete vegan after doing the Daniel Fast and improving his cholesterol and other blood markers. (He had coronary heart disease and diabetes and was therefore motivated.) Others might do the fast longer. Or do it intermittently. I always know that a Daniel Fast is on when my cookbooks are suddenly in demand again.

      I’ve been a veg*n for 37 years and I’ve seen a lot of people move in and out of vegetarianism. From what I can tell, the people who do the best at sticking to it have many reasons to do it (ethical, environmental, compassionate, religious, health, etc.)

      • Slim_Langer

        I like this. Of course I looked up the helpful paper that was cited in this review, and the University researchers themselves have (at least educational) ties to the south and we want to encourage them. If we are vegetarian, then vegan, then low-fat WFPB we are a minority of a minority of a minority, so we should be objective and open and look for friends everywhere. The lesson of Daniel’s experiment was available to critical eyes thousands of years before any modern reseach and it was preserved for a long time — just because of the “bible-thumpers.”

    • Just2eve

      It’s not being negative at all.  He’s being a scienific realist.  You have heard of the “placebo effect”, correct?   It means our emotional expectations and biases make a significant difference on what we experience.  In this case, many ppl are biased against vegan diets, and yet, the reverse is true, many ppl, esp in the “bible belt” are biased in favor of bible ways. 

    • Paddycakes

      OK, Jesus.

  • Thea

    So interesting!  I’m not a big fan of “the bible told me so”, but if helps some people “see the light”, I guess it is a good tool to use.

    What is really helpful about this study, from my perspective, is that it is yet one more rigorous study showing benefits of the whole plants foods-based diet.  Go science!

  • I live in Israel and we eat a lot of vegetables in our diet but also eat
    a lot of chicken products not so much beef but mostly chicken eggs and
    diary products. its been a week now and i try eating a whole food (whole
    pasta, red rice, etc) and fruits vegetables and nuts. my BMI is high I
    weight 92kg and my length is 1.80m and in the past 4 mounts i lost 7 kg
    cause i started eating less and running. so my question is for a vegan
    starter like me after running nutritionist say you need to eat proteins in
    the first 15min after you finish running and my question is what to eat
    as a vegan if i want to avoid eggs and meat products? thanks in advance  

    • Drbill

       Dear Eliran Vegh,
      The protein from spinach, broccoli, Kale is plenty-sufficient and of such high quality that it may be the protein-of-choice, If you are brain-washed that you need more quantity protein, (I am not convinced you do), you may add the soy-greenbeans [Edamame]…only an ounce will easily meet your protein requirements. You do not need anything that egg or meat based nutrients provide. This plant based lifestyle really works once we have at least 1-2 years eating solely plant based nutrients.

      •  thanks alot

        • Sonjevity1

           In addition to what Drbill recommends, you can eat whatever beans and peas are available in Israel. Potatoes have a bit of protein as well.

  • carmen @Vegan_Nurse

    i am a vegan in tennessee (and a nurse!) ! glad they are trying something different to get my neighbors on the right track!

  • Rathatcher

    As part of Dr. Greger’s Tennessee fan base and daily podcast viewer, I must say he’s probably right about acceptance of the “v” word in these parts, unless that word is Vol. More Daniel Fasts, faith-based health outreach are needed along our widening Bible Belt.  Thanks to University of Memphis and Dr. Greger for spreading the good word in the deep south!

  • happyv

    I am from Texas and a vegan and a church goer and would be pleased and a little amazed to see the folks here giving this a try, church people eat very badly in the health department and need some education as how much this diet can help them with their many health problems.

  • jackson

    Actually, before Daniel’s trial with a vegan diet, God revealed to Adam the original vegan  diet  for mankind- fruits, nuts, grains and seeds.( See 1:29)

    After man’s fall, he was then given permission to also eat the herbs of the field (Gen 3:18)

    It was not until after the flood was man given permission to eat animal flesh, and then only from animals categorized as clean; but never blood.(Gen  9:3-4

    Not to  ever eat blood or animal fat (Lev 3:17).

    • Hannah colorsrfun

      IKR I remember when I first read Genesis 1:26-31, after I had read other scriptures that were related to food, caring for one’s health,
      respecting others food choices and so on…and I realized that God was calling me to take command of my health! A plant-based diet is a perfect diet, and that’s exactly the kind of one that God provided us at the start. One’s health shouldn’t be the center of one’s life, but it should be a part of one’s life. So many people think that a change in lifestyle is like, dangerous or something. But, I think we are each and all called to care for the world, for ourselves, for each other. And in that same passage, God commands us to “have dominion over” or to care for all the creatures of the earth. Eating in a healthy way seems to be part of that. I look forward to the day when there will be no animals being killed unnecessarily; no people dying from various causes; no sin and destruction. Just think, how beautiful the world will be after Jesus returns to clean all the sin out!

  • jackson

    Should read Gen 1:29 for man’s orginal diet.

  • Djalger

    Thank you Dr. Greger for  all of your research. My husband and I are vegans and are enjoying the plant-based foods plus are able to do various exercises at our ages, 78 and 77. Our friends and relatives don’t think they need to change their diets even though we give them these facts. Anyway, we are looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco next month. 

  • Kirbonite

    yeah… Jesus is more important than science here in the south for sure.

  • Bible Reader

    Daniel 10:3 says Daniel routinely ate meat and drank wine when not fasting. You might want to read till the end of the book before using the Bible to defend your claims. It doesn’t.

    • Michael Foote

      You raise a good point that sometimes when we read on we get the “rest of the story.” However I looked at Daniel 10:3. The NIV shows: “I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips.” The KJV shows: “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth.” The ESV shows: “I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth.” I don’t see how this translates into “Daniel routinely ate meat and drank wine.”

  • Sharon

    I have done the Daniel fast many times..It is the best I have ever felt in my life..

  • BeeKay

    It’s interesting to check the Biblical account for more dietary detail.

    The Hebrew youths were questioned because it was thought that they would become malnourished if they continued not partaking of the King’s rich, fatty etc table foods. Which seems to indicate that they had been all along eating a plant-based diet. All they had to prove was that continuing to eat their own way would keep them robust and healthy. Which indeed was demonstrated during their test period.

  • Thatmelissachick

    As Christian and a Vegan, I know that I receive disdain from my fellow Christians for my dietary choices. This is without ANY provocation from me, just from their observations of my choices of food at events. These same Christians will go on a Daniel fast and feel pretty righteous about it. Dr Daniel’s little dig at the end may sting, but I am in strong agreement (except for the Tennessee part, I encounter this in my life no matter the state I am in when it comes from my fellow Christians.)

    • Hannah colorsrfun

      don’t let what others say bother you. everyone has a right to their own food choices. the next time your friends make fun at you for abstaining from animal-based products and provoke an argument, abstain from the argument but keep in mind this: Romans 14. =)

  • pkreflects

    Love the human psychology reference at the end. It is so true. One could invite someone over for vegan salad, peanut butter sandwiches, etc for lunch and they would never realize they were eating vegan until unless the label was given to the meal. Once the “V” word is used, then the panic sets in and the questions start like where do you get your protein, etc.

  • AR

    Could I get some reference in Dr.M. Greger homepage about fast and/or starvation impact on human health?

  • Kat

    There almost seems a little snarkyness in the way he talks about the Bible and cooperative residents of Tennessee.

  • Wade Patton

    Well i didn’t realize a “fast” could include food. Hmph. When I fast, it’s from all calories (and quite short-12 to 18 hours).

  • Paula Lynn Cross

    This is my second time doing a 10 day Daniel Fast in a few months. Both times my inflammation flared up. In fact, during this second time I discovered a sensitivity to nightshades (potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes). I have carpal tunnel and bursitis in one shoulder. The more I eat the Daniel diet, the more these have acted up. For the last few days I’ve felt puffy and stiff, lethargic and a couple of times my feet were on fire while my hands were hot, too. The way I feel is the same as when I spend a few days eating things that have sugar, wheat and pork. I’m so discouraged to feel so bad eating good foods. It occurs to me that it’s possibly detox symptoms. I get how the acids being pulled out of my hands and feet tissues (shoulder as well) will cause some pain but why are they on fire? I do take magnesium and even spray with transdermal mg. I take fish oil. I obviously have leaky gut so I take bentonite clay and chlorella. I’m also on Olive Leaf to build my immune system. Has anyone else experienced flare ups on Daniel Fast?

  • john tiffany

    I recently heard of a recent study that found that when a human fasts new cells will appear in the brain–or was it rats? Anyway I usually hear the brain cells of an adult do not divide. What is the truth of this? They may have been non-neuronal cells. Anyway, how about synapses? And how about the heart and kidneys? I have heard they –like the brain–do not regenerate, but what if one is fasting?

  • Tommy

    I watched a lot of your videos but I never saw a video about fasting. I saw once a really good documentary (unfortunately just in German/French) that discussed all the benefits of fasting. Are there any (recent) studies on this topic or could you make a video about this. I think that would be interesting (not just for me.)

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hey Tommy sorry I don’t have much to add but my reply about fasting can be found here and Hemo’s reply may also be helpful. I am against fasting because I feel like a healthful diet is more important. Water fasting can be extremely dangerous in uncontrolled environments without doctors approval. A quick search on PubMed shows fasting for one day may have some benefits to reducing heart disease, however, I would never suggest it do the lack of research. Water fasting seemed to help those with hypertension, but this was conducted in a controlled environment within a clinical study. There is far more research on the efficacy of plant-based diet for hypertension and heart disease.