We have previously noted beneficial health outcomes when individuals follow a dietary restriction plan in accordance with the Daniel Fast (DF). This is true whether individuals eliminate all animal products or include small amounts of meat and dairy in their plan. The present study sought to compare anthropometric and biochemical measures of health in individuals following a traditional DF (i.e.
, restricted vegan) or modified DF (i.e.
, restricted omnivorous; inclusive of ad libitum
meat and skim milk consumption), with those following an unrestricted vegan diet plan. Methods:
35 subjects (six men; 29 women; 33 ± 2 years; range: 18–67 years) completed a 21-day diet plan. Subjects reported to the lab for pre- (day 1) and post-intervention testing (day 22) in a 10 h fasted state. Blood samples were collected and assayed for complete blood count, metabolic panel, lipid panel, insulin, HOMA-IR, C-reactive protein, and oxidative stress biomarkers (malondialdehyde, advanced oxidation protein products, and nitrate/nitrite). Heart rate and blood pressure were measured and body composition was determined via dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Subjects’ self-reported compliance, mental and physical health, and satiety in relation to the dietary modification were recorded. Results:
No interaction effects were noted for our outcome measures (p
> 0.05). However, subjects in the traditional DF group reported an approximate 10% increase in perceived mental and physical health, with a 25% reduction in malondialdehyde and a 33% reduction in blood insulin. Systolic BP was reduced approximately 7 mmHg in subjects assigned to the traditional DF, with an approximate 5 mmHg reduction in subjects assigned to the modified DF and the unrestricted vegan plan. A small (2 mmHg) reduction in diastolic BP was noted for subjects in both DF groups; a slight increase in diastolic BP was noted for subjects assigned to the unrestricted vegan group. An approximate 20% reduction was noted in total and LDL cholesterol for subjects in the traditional DF group, with an approximate 10% decrease for subjects in the modified DF group. No decrease in total or LDL cholesterol was noted for subjects in the unrestricted vegan group. Conclusion:
These data indicate that both a traditional or modified DF may improve blood pressure and blood lipids in a clinically meaningful manner if these results are sustained over the long term. A traditional DF also results in a significant reduction in blood insulin and oxidative stress. An unrestricted vegan diet may improve systolic blood pressure, but in the absence of measures to strictly monitor adherence, it does not favorably impact other markers of health measured in the present study.