Chris Pratt did the Daniel fast diet — but what is it?

Earlier this year, Chris Pratt told his Instagram followers that he was doing the Daniel Fast program, which he described as “21 days of prayer and fasting.” We have to admit that the Lego Movie star is looking pretty good these days, so we tapped registered dietician Margarete Carneiro to get the skinny on this ancient regimen—including whether or not it’s good for you.

So, what is it?The Daniel Fast diet is an eating plan inspired by a biblical figure named Daniel from the Old Testament. In the story, Daniel forgoes rich foods (“I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth”) and has “nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Today, followers of the diet eliminate animal products, caffeine and alcohol and focus on plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It’s basically a vegan diet—with more restrictions. Most people follow the diet for either 10 or 21 days (depending on which Bible verse they choose to follow), while some stick to the plan long-term. 

But is it healthy? According to Carneiro, studies have shown that the Daniel Fast diet (and plant-based diets in general) could decrease body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation in the body) as well as improve insulin function. She also likes that the diet doesn’t have any calorie restrictions. So far, so good. 

Are there any downsides to the diet? It’s worth noting that research on the Daniel Fast is limited. Carneiro also cautions that those with chronic diseases (such as diabetes or hypertension) should consult a physician before starting a new eating regimen. And for those who want to follow the plan long term, she recommends a vitamin B-12 supplement (a vital nutrient found primarily in animal products). Something else to keep in mind? Any diet that’s too restrictive is going to be hard to follow in the long term—if you do lose weight on the Daniel Fast diet, it might be hard to keep it off once you’re back to eating normally. 

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Chris Pratt transformation through the years
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Chris Pratt transformation through the years
Chris Pratt during 2005 Sundance Film Festival - 'Strangers With Candy' Portraits at HP Portrait Studio in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)
Chris Pratt during WB 2004-2005 Primetime Upfront After Party - Outside Arrivals at Chelsea Piers Lighthouse - Pier 61 in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 23: Actor Chris Pratt arrives at the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party at Boulevard3 on October 23, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 25: Actor Chris Pratt attends the Xbox 360 'Gears of War' party at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on October 25, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 5, 2007: Actor Brendan Hines and actor Chriss Pratt attend the wrap party for the motion picture comedy 'Deep in the Valley' at Winston's on August 5, 2007 in West Hollywood, California, USA.(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 19: Actor Chris Pratt attends the film premiere of 'Wanted' at the Mann Village Westwood Theater on June 19, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18: Actor Chris Pratt and actress Anna Faris attend Aid For AIDS' 7th annual 'Best In Drag' show at the Orpheum Theatre on October 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - OCTOBER 03: Actor Chris Pratt and actress Anna Faris at the Best Friends Animal Society's 2009 Lint Roller Party at the Hollywood Palladium on October 3, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 11: Actor Chris Pratt attends the Malibu And Reef Check Partnership summer pool party at Malibu Reef Check Estate on August 11, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: Chris Pratt appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: 71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Chris Pratt and co-host Amy Poehler arrives to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 -- (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 968 -- Pictured: Actor Chris Pratt on Thursday, February 6, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PARKS AND RECREATION -- 'Jerry's Sweet 16' Episode 416 -- Pictured: Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer -- Photo by: Danny Feld/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actors Chris Pratt (R) and Anna Faris arrives at GQ's 2011 'Men of the Year' Party held at Chateau Marmont on November 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Chris Pratt attends the Premiere of 'Moneyball' at The Paramount Theatre on September 19, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
Actors Chris Pratt and Anna Faris arrive at the premiere of Zero Dark Thirty held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 06: Actor Chris Pratt at Beverly Hills Hotel on December 6, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - Emmy Award-nominated 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight (11:35 p.m. - 12:41 a.m., ET), packed with hilarious comedy bits and features a diverse lineup of guests including celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects. The guests for THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 included comedian Tracy Morgan, actor Chris Pratt ('Delivery Man') and musical guest Pusha T featuring Pharrell Williams also featuring JKLs Unnecessary Censorship. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)CHRIS PRATT
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Actor Chris Pratt attends children's charity screening for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at Regal E-Walk on December 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05: Actor Chris Pratt attends the 2014 March of Dimes Celebration of Babies benefit at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 5, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05: Chris Pratt arrives at the March Of Dimes' Celebration Of Babies at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 5, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt arrive at the premiere of 'Jurassic World' held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.Actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt arrive at the premiere of 'Jurassic World' held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 09: Actor Chris Pratt arrives for the Premiere Of Universal Pictures' 'Jurassic World' held in the courtyard of Hollywood & Highland on June 9, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 16: Actors Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt attend the Seoul premiere of 'Passengers' at CGV on December 16, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. The film will open on January 05, 2017 in South Korea. (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/WireImage)
SEOUL; SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 16: Jennifer Lawrence (R) and Chris Pratt attend the press conference for 'Passengers' at Times square CGV theater in Seoul; South Korea on December 16; 2016. (Photo by Jong Hyun Kim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard on Thursday June 14, 2018 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 06: Actor Chris Pratt and son Jack Pratt attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on December 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! - ABCs Jimmy Kimmel Live features a week of guest hosts filling in for Jimmy, starting Monday, December 4. The guest host for Monday, December 4 was Chris Pratt with guest Margot Robbie ('I, Tonya') and musical guest Chris Stapleton. (Randy Holmes/ABC vis Getty Images) MARGOT ROBBIE, CHRIS PRATT
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 06: Actor Chris Pratt arrives to the arena before the UFC 229 event inside T-Mobile Arena on October 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 12: Chris Pratt poses with the Choice Summer Movie Actor award backstage during FOX's Teen Choice Awards at The Forum on August 12, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Fox/Getty Images for FOX)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 21: Chris Pratt attends The Paley Center For Media's 2019 PaleyFest LA 'Parks And Recreation' 10th Anniversary Reunion held at Dolby Theatre on March 21, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
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So, should I try it? “The Daniel Fast is easy to follow and satisfying, as it does not restrict calories,” Carneiro tells us. “It’s also loaded with healthy substances found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds (such as dietary fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids).” But we’re wary of any plan that eliminates entire food groups. Our verdict? For best results, stick to something with proven long-term benefits, like the Mediterranean diet or Nordic diet, instead. (Sorry, Chris, wine and pasta are just too good to give up.)

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