The OMAD Diet: Is Having One Meal A Day Effective?
Majority of people try to lose weight or achieve better health by means of starvation and rigorous exercise. But imagine a scenario where eating cheeseburgers every day and not putting on weight is possible. Does this idea seem like a good one? If yes, then the OMAD (One Meal A Day) diet can be an option for you. So, let us learn how the OMAD diet works.
What is the OMAD Diet?
The OMAD diet is almost the same as fasting. However, it lasts 23 hours a day, with the possibility of eating everything you want in just one meal. This one-time meal can be either a pizza, a burger, or a nutritious salad that is rich in vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
The concept is that by curbing your caloric consumption during the whole day, you can enjoy one single meal (often explained as a “1-hour window”) and not put on weight at the same time. Most dieters do this according to the following principle: they don’t eat at night, skip breakfast, and eat their first and only meal in the middle of the day.
Proposed benefits of this diet
Some scientists say that long-period fasting can benefit your body. It gently strains your cells, which contributes to their elasticity (1). This process is called hormesis, which in turn uses stresses to strengthen you. Moreover, single meal enthusiasts believe that eating 1 meal a day results in a wider number of advantages for your health:
Eating once a day enables the process of autophagy. This means that your body starts “cleaning up” from waste, toxins, and harmed cells (2). Additionally, autophagy helps to prevent and overcome disorders that are neurologically connected with age, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s (3).
One meal a day diet accelerates your metabolism. This occurs because your organism becomes more tolerant to appetite and burns fat longer. Animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting decreases blood sugar and stimulates insulin function. Together, these factors help to avoid diabetes and obesity (4).
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Easier meal planning.
Eating every other day gives you a unique opportunity to get rid of the stress associated with finding healthy food at the workplace or in restaurants. This means that you only need to plan 1 meal a day so you can sleep before breakfast and simplify your grocery plan.
Due to the OMAD, you can better control your weight through natural calorie restriction. You’ll find yourself unable to consume the same daily calories amount in one meal.
Possible drawbacks of the diet
Like any diet, the OMAD diet can be not only useful but also dangerous. It doesn’t suit everyone. Besides, there’s very little scientific evidence to support one meal a day diet, which is terribly similar to a disordered diet (6). There are some basic risks and potential negative consequences connected with this type of model:
- You ignore your body hunger signals. When you have the possibility to eat up nutrients for only one hour a day, you’ll probably eat as much as you can, which is not entirely suitable for your body. It won’t understand whether you’re hungry or full.
- You can skip significant nutrients. You need to prepare for yourself at least 5 vegetables and fruits per day to get enough essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Don’t forget about grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and dairy products (or their alternatives).
- Your cholesterol level may increase. Fasting was associated with an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is basically the opposite of what you want to get (7).
- Slower metabolism. Most scientists state that the more you restrict, the slower your metabolism becomes. As a result, you’re more likely to meet some negative diet effects. You can slow down your metabolism and gain weight (8).
You’d Better Know: OMAD Diet Tips
Eating once a day can be a challenge. The preparation of that one meal, which consists of all the needed nutrients is even harder. Moreover, your body will let you know that you should stop fasting. Find out about the OMAD diet tips, which will help you understand when to quit, or continue. Don’t change your eating routine immediately, and wait for your doctor’s advice.
- Manage your time. The OMAD diet is quite strict timewise, but you don’t have to gobble your food down. Take your time, savor every bite, listen to your body, and decrease your stress to the minimum.
- Step back. If you’re feeling hungry and ready to break your fast, it’s better to prepare a nutritious meal, omitting junk food. When you restrict food for such a long period and don’t feel comfortable, to not harm yourself, make a pause in the fasting.
- Keep calm. Fasting can be a challenge. Practice yoga or do sports to keep your stress levels in order.
Frequently Asked Questions About the OMAD Diet
Can you lose weight by eating one meal a day?
The OMAD diet may help you lose weight through boosting metabolism and lowering overall daily consumption. Still, it also depends on the foods you choose to add to your plate. However, you should listen to your body, and make sure you don’t harm it. Talk to your doctor to get professional advice and the possible tips.
Do I need to count calories on OMAD?
There is no need to count calories with the OMAD diet. You should simply follow its rule: eating one meal once a day.
The OMAD diet is not for everyone. You should consult your doctor or nutritionist first before starting this diet and pay attention to several factors to not harm your health. However, the right approach can give you the chance to achieve your goals. It can be weight loss, better health or actual well-being.
If you want your weight loss plan to be efficient, don’t forget to do some exercise on the regular basis. Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
The article cannot and does not contain medical or health advice. This information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance of any information contained in this article is solely at your own risk!
- Dietary Factors, Hormesis and Health (2009, ncbi.nlm.gov)
- Short-term Fasting Induces Profound Neuronal Autophagy (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov)
- Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction ameliorate age-related behavioral deficits in the triple-transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease (2007, sciencedirect.com)
- Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake (2003, pnas.org)
- Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Potential Benefits and Harms of Intermittent Energy Restriction and Intermittent Fasting Amongst Obese, Overweight and Normal Weight Subjects—A Narrative Review of Human and Animal Evidence (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effect of intermittent energy and carbohydrate restriction v. daily energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic disease risk markers in overweight women (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)