Side Effects on the Daniel Fast

Side Effects on the Daniel Fast

A question I frequently receive from readers is, “Will I experience side effects on the Daniel Fast?”

Yes, you probably will. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not all side effects are negative in nature. For example, during the January 2017 Online Daniel Fast, one woman (a diabetic), emailed to share how the fast decreased her blood sugar levels. On day 9 of her fast, her blood sugar was 114 (it’s normally 130-140). She was excited and encouraged by how the Daniel Fast was impacting her health in a positive way.

Many Daniel Fast participants have reported having significantly lower cholesterol numbers after 21 days. Other have testified to having more energy and being able to sleep more soundly at night while on the fast. Several men and women have lost weight by making healthier food choices and following the Daniel Fast Food List.

Sometimes, though, people do experience unpleasant symptoms on the Daniel Fast, such as body aches, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and digestive distress. Such side effects usually occur within the first few days of the fast as the body adjusts to a different way of eating. My advice to people who are struggling is, “Just hang on! You should feel better in a few days.” And, in most cases, they do.

Following are a few steps you can take to avoid uncomfortable side effects on the Daniel Fast:

  • Drink plenty of water –The Daniel Fast includes many high-fiber foods, so it’s important to consume plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. Water is also necessary to flush out any harmful toxins that have built up in your system over time. Try to drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water each day (you may need more, depending on your weight and activity level). If you’re not used to drinking that much water, take it slowly. You may have to work up to that amount.
  • Exercise – God created your body to be mobile, and it will work much more efficiently when you exercise on a regular basis. Plus, going on a walk, run, or bike ride will do wonders for you mentally.
  • Consider taking digestive enzymes – A digestive enzyme enables your body to break down food into smaller particles, making the food easier to absorb and assimilate. For example, if beans tend to make you gassy, you can take a digestive enzyme before eating them to reduce and sometimes prevent digestive distress. Digestive enzymes can be very helpful on a Daniel Fast. Sometimes the best route is a broad-spectrum supplement that covers a wide variety of foods, such as fruit, vegetables, etc.

But any physical challenges you may encounter on the Daniel Fast pale in comparison to the wonderful spiritual benefits you receive. You can expect to:

  • Hear God’s voice more clearly– You’re probably not going to hear the Lord speak audibly to you on a fast, although that would definitely be an amazing side effect! God typically chooses to communicate with us in a variety of other ways – through the Bible, other believers, prayer, and our circumstances. As you spend focused time in prayer and in God’s Word on the Daniel Fast, you’ll have greater understanding of truth as you’re led by the Holy Spirit.
  • Become more spiritually sensitive – Fasting changes your perspective and allows you to “see” things differently and more clearly. I believe it’s partly due to the fact that you’re hungry, which causes you to realize how dependent you are on the Lord for strength. When I’m on a fast, I’m usually more in tune with the struggles of people around me, which causes me to pray more fervently for them. 
  • Participate in the suffering of Christ – Jesus fasted from all food for 40 days and nights in the wilderness in preparation for his public ministry (Matt. 4:1-11). When you and I commit to a fast, even a partial fast, we’re choosing to undergo one of the spiritual disciplines Jesus practiced while on Earth. By following Christ’s example, we are becoming more like Him, which leads to great joy and blessing. “Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world” (1 Peter 4:13 NLT). 
  • Enjoy God’s favor – Even though the Bible doesn’t contain a direct command to fast, God’s Word indicates that fasting should be a regular discipline in the believer’s life. The Lord is pleased when His children seek Him wholeheartedly, and He promises to reward our efforts when we do.
  • Know God in a deeper way – The main goal of a three-week Daniel Fast is to grow closer to the Lord. As you devote yourself to studying the Bible and spending time in prayer, you’ll learn more about the Lord and His ways.

The Daniel Fast is a unique, life-changing experience. If you’ve never participated in the three-week journey, you can see why it’s such a powerful spiritual discipline. Focus on all the benefits of drawing closer to the Lord, and trust Him to help you with any unexpected trials along the way. Yes, doing the Daniel Fast is a sacrifice, but it’s one that you’ll never regret. 

For more information on the Daniel Fast and instructions on how to complete the fast successfully, be sure to get my book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast. Also, be sure to check out my FAQs page if you have specific questions about the Daniel Fast. Contact me with any question that’s not covered.

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast





  1. Hi I just want to know at what time of the day should I eat and drink during the fast

  2. Bill Carlow says:

    Four years ago I went for my annual physical. The doctor told me my cholesterol was too high and I should begin taking prescription medicine for it. Well, i began my Daniel Fast a few days later and a month later I had my blood work done a second time. Not only was my cholesterol perfect, but comparing to a blood test 15 years earlier every line item was better AND EVERY result was perfect.

    Since then i get my blood work done just after the Fast and this past year it was teh best of which i have a record and i am 63 now. And i have never taken a preescription!

    • Bill, thank you for sharing your testimony! I’m sorry for the delayed response. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m just now seeing your post. Praise God for how He brought healing to your body through the Daniel Fast! And your results are a perfect example of what can happen when someone does the Daniel Fast on a regular basis. It’s a healthy way of eating that nourishes and strengthens your body!

  3. I so much want to do the fast, I have an unsaved husband & I’m not sure how to go about it