Intermittent fasting (IF) is very popular and there are many methods to choose from. OMAD (One Meal A Day) is one of the simplest methods, but it is also one of the more extreme methods of intermittent fasting.
In this article, we will delve into all that OMAD has to offer with the goal of helping you determine if this method of intermittent fasting is right for you.
What Is the One Meal a Day Diet (OMAD)?
The One Meal a Day Diet is a fasting method. Fasting is defined as the absence of food and calorie-containing beverages for a period of time.
There are two mainstream types of intermittent fasting diets – time-restricted diet (TRF) and alternate-day fasting (ADF). Examples include a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating period, and an every-other-day fast. Intermittent fasting diets have a common feature – periodic interruptions of the diet.
Why Eat Only Once a Day?
Most people cringe at the thought of missing a meal. It seems excessive and unnecessary to intentionally miss a meal every day except one. But proponents of OMAD claim many benefits, including:
- Increased focus and productivity. Who hasn’t experienced a 2:30 p.m. lethargy in the office? OMAD is said to eliminate the weakness people feel when digesting lunch – because there is no lunch.
- Weight loss. It is very difficult to achieve a caloric surplus when you only eat once a day. Even if your one meal is not “healthy” by normal standards, you are not consuming as many calories as you would if you were eating all day.
- Diet freedom. Forget about logging calories or eating with Tupperware. You’ll release a lot of mental energy when you don’t have to plan four to six meals a day.
Some people follow this dietary pattern for religious reasons. But others voluntarily eat once a day in order to stick with it over time. Some people claimed to have stuck to one meal a day for many years, usually a salad and some bread in the evening.
There is even some historical evidence that the ancient Romans ate only one large meal a day before breakfast became popular in the Middle Ages.
How It Works
Like other kinds of intermittent fasting, eating one meal a day is a way to manipulate how your body finds and uses fuel. When you eat in a more traditional pattern, you get your energy from the foods you eat.
When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars. If you have more sugar in your blood than you need, a chemical called insulin carries the excess sugar into your fat cells.
When you go without food for a long time, your body produces less insulin. Your cells still need energy for fuel, so your fat cells will release energy to compensate. However, to do this, you must avoid eating long enough for your insulin levels to drop.
Is the Omad Diet Right for you?
So… . is OMAD right for you? If any or all of the following apply, then it may be:
- You’re over 50
- You enjoy big meals
- You suffer from brain fog
- You’re trying to lose weight
- You have a ‘slow metabolism’
- You have chronic aches and pains
- You’re trying to reach new levels of performance at work or school
On the other hand, if the following categories check out, then OMAD may not be right for you:
- You’re underweight
- You’re young and active
- You can’t stomach big meals
- You have a ‘fast metabolism’
- You’re nursing, pregnant, or trying to become pregnant
- You struggle with high cortisol or similar hormonal problems
5 Tips For The OMAD Diet
The following are a few helpful tips for the OMAD diet:
- Focus on fiber, protein, and healthy fats: These nutrients are more satiating and take longer to digest, therefore, you will stay fuller for longer.
- Drink water with electrolytes: Staying well hydrated will keep hunger at bay, but it is important to add electrolytes to your water during prolonged fasts. This will help maintain electrolyte balance and keep you from getting lightheaded.
- Play around with the schedule: Experiment with the time of day you eat and see when eating works best for you.
- Join an online support group: There are Facebook groups and Reddit communities for people doing the OMAD diet. You can find support and tips from others.
Listen to your body: The OMAD diet is not for everyone. See how you feel, and if you don’t feel good about eating only one meal a day, consider other forms of intermittent fasting or dietary approaches.