Can you imagine eating one meal a day? That’s what the OMAD diet is all about. This diet requires you to eat just One Meal A Day then fast during the next 23 hours. There’s a small window in which you eat your meal so it’s important to get all the nutrients you need in one meal. For example, you’ll need to get different amino acids from protein sources, “good” fats like omega-3 fatty acids, and good carbs from foods like grains, vegetables, and fruits. The OMAD plan like other diets requires you to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. The difference is it’s squeezed into one meal.
Why should you consider this diet? One of the key benefits is the use of intermittent fasting (IF). This requires you to fast at least 18 hours per day. Studies show this diet plan can provide several benefits including weight-loss. When the body uses up all the calories it then gets them from fat stores. OMAD takes a similar approach since it requires you to fast most of the day then eat within a small window. You can experience other benefits. For example, OMAD can be tweaked and used with other plans like the keto diet.
What’s The OMAD Diet?
The one meal a day (OMAD) is similar to other diets in some ways. It requires you to eat a well-balanced diet that isn’t loaded with stuff like additives and empty calories. The main difference is following the diet requires you to eat just one meal every day instead of 3 or 6, for example.
How can you lose weight when one meal can also include a smorgasbord of foods that include ones heavy on salt, sugar, and fat? It’s important to know the basics of this diet. Once you do that, you’ll see the main difference isn’t really what you eat but WHEN you get in your calories.
One Meal a Day diet takes it to the next level. That’s because the fasting time is actually 23 hours and your eating window is just 60 minutes. That’s right! People following this diet have claimed it helped them lose weight and relieved symptoms of various health conditions.
The OMAD might seem like a basic diet. You fast 23 hours and eat for one hour. Well, there are some specific rules that you must follow including the following:
- Your meal must be within a 4-hour window: This block of time should be the same every day so you follow a consistent schedule.
- You have to eat on a “dinner plate.”: So, there are a few rules about the plate you can eat on. You can’t eat on the world’s largest plate. Your “plate” can’t be a bowl. The food also can’t be stacked higher than 3 inches on the plate. Basically, you can fill your plate but not stack it like pancakes.
- You can drink during the 23-hour fast: The caveat is you have to drink low-calorie drinks like coffee, green tea, or water. Fun Fact: water is the only natural 0-calorie food.
Top Benefits of OMAD Diet
As with other diets, you can experience various benefits by following the OMAD. Here are some of them:
Extreme Intermittent Fasting
You may have heard of something called Intermittent Fasting (IF). This requires you to fast for 18 to 24 hours per day then eat within a small window of 4 to 6 hours.
This can provide several benefits including those who are middle-aged or seniors. The diet is somewhat restrictive but not overly so. If you wanted you could still eat three meals within a 6-hour window.
The OMAD diet is basically an extreme version of IF. Instead of following an 18/6 fasting/eating cycle, for example, the cycle is 24/1.
When picking a diet you’ll want one that’s easy to follow. It’s safe to say that OMAD is easier than many other diets since your daily food is basically limited to a big dinner. In a sense, it’s like eating at a buffet every day then fasting until your next meal.
That’s a lot easier than other diets that require you to do stuff like calorie counting. In that case, you have to spend lots of time looking up the number of calories in each food you eat. This can be a hassle when you eat stuff with lots of ingredients.
There’s no doubt that fasting for 23 hours can result in weight loss. When your body uses up all the food it will then start getting energy from stored fat. It’s similar to what happens with the keto diet.
The main difference is OMAD isn’t always a low-carb, high-fat diet. Besides the rules on when and how much you eat there aren’t really any restrictions about what you eat.
However, various studies have shown that fasting and IF can help to produce weight loss. Even if you don’t follow a low-carb diet you can benefit from not eating most of the day.
Drawbacks of OMAD Diet
There are also some possible drawbacks of the OMAD diet including the following:
This might not be surprising when you can pig-out for one meal. However, the reason might be surprising. After fasting for long periods like 23 hours it can be easy to overeat during your 1-hour eating period.
There’s more! After completing the fasting period it’s common for people to eat unhealthy foods like salty snacks or sugary desserts. If you eat lots then it will be tougher to lose weight using this diet.
Most of us are used to mid-morning/afternoon snacks. What if you had to ditch them for the whole day? That’s a sacrifice you’d have to make when following the OMAD diet.
Are snacks always a bad thing? If you eat healthy ones you can get a natural energy boost from nutritious ingredients. When you’re on the OMAD plan, the best you can do is low-calorie drinks like coffee, tea, or water. This can be tough when you’re used to stuff like a granola bar or bag of baked chips between meals.
More specifically, it will be super-low during the 23-hour fast. Most of us can have a tough time when we have to skip one meal. Imagine basically skipping all 3 for most of the day.
The good news is the hunger pangs don’t last for the whole fasting period. Since you’re eating one meal it will take longer than usual for your body to process/digest all the food.
Here’s the thing. After your blood sugar drops from the long fast, it can cause various symptoms. The most obvious one is being hungry. That last hour before breaking the fast can be tough. Other possible ones include nausea and moodiness, even though they’ll go away when you eat again while on the OMAD diet.