Chris Pratt this week revealed that he’s undertaking the “Daniel Fast”—an intense, possibly-dangerous crash diet that promises to help adherents lose weight and “draw closer to God.”
“Hi, Chris Pratt here. Day Three of the Daniel Fast,” a sweaty Pratt said in a since-expired Instagram video Friday. “Check it out. It’s 21 days of prayer and fasting.”
As the religious Guardians of the Galaxy actor explains in the video, the fast lasts 21 days and is inspired by the Biblical Daniel, who in the Old Testament went 21 days consuming just vegetables and water. Fasters are limited to an extremely restrictive diet consisting only of “foods grown from the seed” and water. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy oils, and whole grains are allowed, but no animal products, dairy, or solid fats are permitted.
According to a website on the Daniel Fast, it’s “similar to a vegan diet with additional restrictions.” Yikes.
As Pratt explained in the Instagram video, the end of his 21-day ordeal will “coincide also, coincidentally, with the Lego Movie 2 junket. So, by the time you see me, I’ll probably be hallucinating. Stay tuned.”
But here’s the thing about the Daniel Fast: It’s really not good for you, according to an expert.
Liz Weinandy, a dietician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says the restrictive diet is risky, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
“It’s really not a good idea to do,” Weinandy told Men’s Health in a phone interview Friday.
The diet, she said, is lacking in “all kinds of nutrients,” including proteins and essential fat, and could potentially lead to dangerous deficiencies, including hypnoatremia. And while Weinandy said she is a proponent of intermittent fasting for periods of 12 to 14 hours—which she said can carry numerous health benefits—she is concerned about the lengthy duration of the Daniel Fast.
“People need to get back to balance and moderation,” she said. “Anything that is ongoing and looks like it’s extreme, usually is.”