When it comes to weight loss one of the most common choices is fasting and there are various forms of fasting one of which is the OMAD Diet, but what is a “one meal a day diet” and how can it help you to lose weight? In this blog post, we are going to explore all about this trending diet, who can follow it? Is it safe and effective? and so many other frequently asked questions.
The whole fasting diet can be divided into two categories, the first one is time-restricted fasting TRA and Alternate fasting. The first one is when a person does not eat or drink anything that contains calories for a period of time during the day. For instance not eating or drinking for 16 hours a day. The second one as its name suggests is when you eat and drink mindfully for one day and you do not drink or eat anything the next day and the cycle goes on. All intermittent fasting have one thing in common and that is taking periodic breaks from eating.
One meal a day diet better known as OMAD Diet is a type of extreme fasting. The plan is to eat just one meal a day in a span of one hour and fast the rest of the day. The OMAD diet is considered to be a weight loss method and a way to face other health problems such as chronic diseases. The idea behind this type of diet is simple and most people can easily follow it as they are more likely allowed to eat whatever they want during that one meal of the day.
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Why is the OMAD Diet popular?
If you have read most of the articles on our website and other health and weight loss major guidelines then you probably know that normally eating 5 to 6 small meals a day is considered to be a good weight loss method that is of course if a person follows the rules and avoids foods and drinks with high calories. OMAD Diet on the other hand is the absolute opposite of that but why is it advocated a lot?
It is said that the OMAD Diet will increase productivity because people will not feel that unenergetic after the typical lunchtime since there is no luck and the digestive system is doing nothing at the time.
Another claim is that eating just one large meal a day will lower the calorie intake by miles! It is pretty hard to reach a calorie surplus when you are eating just once a day and no matter what you eat, you probably will not receive more calories than what you burn.
The freedom that comes with this method is also another reason behind its popularity. Most people do not like how stressful other diets are because they would have to plan ahead all those multiple meals for the day while the OMAD diet does not require planning and it does not have all those common restrictions.
Now eating one meal a day is not at all a new method, some people are following this diet for religious purposes, and some for weight loss and staying healthy. But How does the OMAD Diet work?
How does the OMAD Diet work?
It is true that one meal a day plan is giving people more freedom but that does not mean that it does not have rules and restrictions. The most important rule is that you should eat that one meal of the day in a scheduled hour, for instance, if you have your food at 7 pm then you should not eat at 2 pm the next day.
Drinking is allowed during the day but you can not drink beverages that contain calories such as Water, Black Coffee, and Unsweetened Iced tea. Although some might drink low-calorie beverages, they should be aware of their total calorie intake and choose what to eat for their meal with more care if they would like to have more freedom to drink during the day.
You can eat almost whatever you like but there is still a catch! For example, you are not allowed to have a bigger plate than the standard ones and whatever is on that plate can not rise higher than 3 inches. So you should moderate how much you are going to eat!
Although. the OMAD Diet is advocated for its freedom of choice for foods. You should still be careful and eat wisely if you would like to lose weight faster and more effectively. Also, your body needs different types of nutrition, so do not forget to eat various types of foods to receive all types of vitamins, proteins, and other important nutritious stuff.
Who can Follow the OMAD Diet?
The OMAD Diet is beneficial to people with metabolic syndrome and prediabetes or borderline diabetes and for those who would like to shed some extra pounds. That said, it is best to first try this method for one or two days a week to see if the body responds well or not. The One meal a day plan is also a great method for those people with busy lifestyles.
Most dietitians suggest starting this diet in a less extreme way. For example, you can start by fasting for 14 to 16 hours a day and maybe eat two meals instead of one and try to adapt to the new lifestyle first then you can go ahead to the more extreme way. Please note that you should always consult with a doctor or a healthcare provider before starting such a weight loss method.
Who is not qualified for the OMAD Diet?
Like any other diet, the one-meal-a-day plan is not an option for all people. The following groups of people are not eligible to follow this method:
- Children and teenager
- Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding
- Elderly people
- Those who have or had eating disorders
- Individuals with diabetes.
Due to the effects of fasting on blood sugar and blood pressure, intermittent fasting and an Omad diet is not suggested to people who has the following medical condition, unless it is under medical supervision:
- High levels of insulin
- in those who take medicines to lower their blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Steroid medications
The OMAD Diet is not a good idea for bodybuilders and those who do serious strength training as their body needs to be fed multiple times a day so that their muscle mass does not diminish.
Advantages and Risks associated with OMAD Diet
Although there has been lots of research on the OMAD Diet, it is still not possible to claim how safe or how risky it can be, since the data shows that it can be both good and healthy and risky at the same time. One clinical study conducted in 2007 shows that eating one meal a day is linked to higher blood pressure and increased cholesterol level so if you are following this diet you should stay clear of processed and fried foods.
Other problems associated with all types of fasting are:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Binge eating and feeling extremely hungry makes it hard to be more mindful while eating.
- Extreme types of fasting can eventually lead to physical weakness, especially for those who have a regular exercise plan.
- Brain fog and the incapability to focus is other side effect of the OMAD Diet.
On the Other hand, one small research of 10 people found out that fasting for nearly 20 hours a day can ultimately result in a more controlled level of blood glucose, due to the few number of people participating in this study it is not wise to conclude that OMAD diet or fasting can lead to lower blood glucose.
Another study suggests that fasting can lead to more resistance against diseases due to the positive pressure it has on the cells. It is also believed that Fasting can help you burn more fat, since the body is not receiving the energy it requires for a long period the fat cells in your liver start to turn into the main source of energy and thus you will have a healthier liver after some time.
Is the OMAD Diet good for weight loss?
Considering the facts and the risks and side effects of the OMAD Diet, we can say that it can lead to quick weight loss in the short run but almost every dietitian would not recommend this method for the long term as the side effects might get even more serious after a while.
Even if there are no limitations on what people can eat during that one meal of the day, due to extreme hunger they feel it is more likely that they eat foods containing high levels of sugar, unhealthy fats, and low nutrition which in the long term can lead to other health problems.
Eating just once per day can lead to short-term weight loss but most people who would like to have a long-lasting transformation should exercise regularly and eat multiple times a day, so the OMAD Diet might not be the best idea for them. You can read more on the most common weight loss mistakes here.
What you can eat in the OMAD Diet?
As we have said earlier in this article, there are no limitations on what to eat in that one meal of the day but there are wise options to have to ultimately end up healthier:
- Red meat, poultry meat
- Fruits and whole grains
- Healthy fats sources such as nuts and seeds.
Here’s an example of a seven-day plan for the OMAD diet:
- 16 oz. tri-tip roast
- 3 tablespoons tallow
- 1 medium russet potato.
- 2 kiwis
- 10 oz. Salmon Belly
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 avocado
- ½ Cantaloupe
- 12 oz. pork belly
- 1 large sweet potato roasted with olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons crème fraiche
- 8 oz blackberries
- ½ cup yogurt with 1 tablespoon heavy cream mixed in
- Rack of lamb
- 6 oz. Asparagus sautéed in tallow
- 3 tablespoons tallow
- 1 medium roasted russet potato
- 1.5 oz. dark chocolate
- ½ cup strawberries
- 10 oz. tuna salad with homemade olive oil mayonnaise
- 3 deviled eggs with anchovies and creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 stalks celery
- ¼ cup olives
- 1 oz anchovies
- 1 kiwi
- 12 oz. beef short ribs
- 2 tablespoons tallow
- 6 oz. asparagus
- 1 medium russet potato
- 1 deviled egg with anchovies
- 12oz. Ribeye steak seared in ghee
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 Eggs scrambled with pancetta
- 1 oz. pancetta
- 1/2 avocado (to top eggs)
- 1 tablespoon creme fraise (to top eggs)
- 1 cup blackberries
- Calories: 2100
In general, the OMAD Diet and other types of fasting are considered to be safe for most healthy adults. But it does not mean you should be following such a plan unless you have discussed it with your doctor and they have approved this method for you.
- The OMAD diet is not for everyone!
- You should be more careful about what you are going to eat
- It is not a long-term plan
- Try other diets if you are having regular workout sessions especially if they put a lot of pressure on your body.
- Do not start this diet without preparing yourself first