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How to Lose Weight on the Daniel Fast

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
How to Lose Weight on the Daniel Fast
Dive into plant foods. Photo Credit: Fotosearch/Fotosearch/Getty Images

The Daniel fast is a biblical diet meant to promote health and encourage weight loss through healthy eating. It's modeled after the vegetarian eating regimen of biblical prophet Daniel during his fast. People typically follow it for 21 days to get a jump start on weight loss. The way you lose weight on the Daniel fast is by lowering your calorie intake.

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What the Science Says

Reducing your overall calorie intake not only promotes weight loss but improves your overall health, according to a study published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. Researchers evaluated the effect of 21 days on the Daniel fast on antioxidant status and cellular stress. They found that the Daniel diet led to a reduction in calories, a higher antioxidant intake and lower cellular stress. A separate study found that the 21-day Daniel fast improved metabolic risk factors such as cholesterol, insulin and inflammatory markers. The study was published in the September 2010 issue of the journal Lipids in Health and Disease.

Eliminate the Unhealthy Stuff

The first step to losing weight on the Daniel fast is cutting out high-calorie, unhealthy food, according to the book "Daniel Fast" by Susan Gregory. Dieters following this plan eliminate added sugar, fast food, junk food and overly processed foods, which often contain artificial chemicals. These foods lack nutrients and typically contain too many calories, as well as too much salt, sugar and saturated fat, according to the "Daniel Fast." Eliminating these foods greatly decreases your overall daily calorie intake, according to Gregory.

Eat Abundant Plant-Based Foods

Plant foods such as fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and rich in nutrients. Dieters following the Daniel fast can enjoy vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy oils such as olive, peanut and sesame. Shop and plan ahead so that you have vegan meal ideas for the 21-day fast. The Daniel fast encourages you to choose brightly colored fruit and vegetables and try plant foods that you haven't had before.

Eliminate Animal Foods

In the Bible, Daniel avoided all animal foods during his 21-day fast. Animal foods are higher in calories and fat than plant foods and increase inflammation and cellular stress, according to Gregory. Removing animal foods during the 21-day fast helps reduce your calorie intake to promote weight loss. Dieters avoid all meat, dairy, fish and any other food made from animals. Many Americans eat too many animal foods, advises Gregory. If you add them back after the fast, try cutting back and choosing lower-fat options.

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