Many people try to slim down and improve their overall health by working out and sticking to strict dietary plans. But can you imagine a super-diet, which will allow you to eat your favorite foods and not put on weight? If you haven’t heard about such a meal plan, OMAD diet will definitely surprise you. In this article you will find out all the benefits and risks of the OMAD diet. Let’s start.
What is the OMAD diet?
The OMAD diet is a “One Meal A Day” nutrition plan. It consists of two parts: a 23-hour fasting period and one hour of eating. During this hour you can eat whatever you want in just one meal. The premise is that by cutting your daily calorie intake you can have a 1-hour window to enjoy a meal. Many dieters have their meal in the middle of the day, skipping their breakfast and dinner. The supporters of the diet claim that it not only helps to lose weight, but boosts your metabolic rate as well.
The OMAD diet benefits
According to some studies, long-term fasting can be beneficial for your health. It gently strains your body cells in this way contributing to their elasticity (1). Moreover, the proponents of this diet claim that eating only 1 meal a day has a bunch of other benefits for your body:
- Anti-aging effect
By sticking to such a meal plan you start the process of autophagy – your body gets rid of toxins, harmed cells and waste (2). Moreover, this process significantly lowers your risks of disorders, neurologically connected with age, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s (3).
- Improved metabolism
By eating one meal a day you can boost your metabolism. Such a diet makes your body more tolerant to appetite and makes it burn body fat longer. According to the studies, intermittent fasting also improves insulin function and decreases blood sugar. All these factors significantly lower your risks of obesity and diabetes (4).
- Easy meal planning
As a rule, meal planning is quite time consuming and demands efforts. The dieters have to create lists of foods to buy and dishes to prepare for every day. However, the diet in which you can eat only one meal a day will definitely simplify your meal planning and save your time.
- Controlled weight
The natural calorie restriction will help you to control your weight easier and more effectively.
Tips for your success
Eating only one meal a day might be challenging for the majority of dieters. It is also hard to choose a dish, which will provide your body with all essential nutrients, help to manage the diet and get rid of hunger.
Note that your body will let you know that you should stop sticking to the OMAD diet. Below you will find several tips, which will help you to understand when to quit the dietary plan and when it is Ok to continue.
- Manage your time
While having your meal, do not gobble your food down. Keep in mind that it is important to eat slowly and listen to your body. You should understand when you get full and stop eating. So, take you time and enjoy a delicious and nutritious food.
- Make a pause
If you feel too hungry and want to break fast, it will be much better for your health, if you eat a healthy and nutritious dish. It is important to avoid junk food. Remember that if such a long period of starvation and numerous restrictions make you feel uncomfortable, it is better to make a pause in order not to harm your health.
- Reduce your stress level
It is a well-known fact, that stress is extremely harmful for your body and can cause numerous health conditions. It is especially harmful for people who stick to some dietary plan. High level of stress can provoke hunger and make you break your diet and you might eat much more food than needed. That’s why make sure to manage your stress.
There are various methods that might help you. Many people practice meditation and yoga, which are extremely beneficial both for your mental and physical health. However, you may also try some other ways to keep calm and feel balanced. You may listen to your favorite music, read a book, perform physical exercises or do any other activity, which helps you to relax.
Is the OMAD diet healthy?
This diet has a number of drawbacks as well as any other unbalanced nutrition plan. Moreover, it is lacking scientific backing, which could support its effectiveness and safety, which is rather similar to a disordered diet (6). Here is a list of possible drawbacks and consequences:
- Nutrients deficiency
You should eat at least 5 fruits and veggies per day to provide your body with all necessary vitamins, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. It is also important to consume grains, dairy, nuts, seeds and other foods throughout the day to stay healthy.
- Increased cholesterol level
According to the research, fasting may increase your LDL cholesterol level, which can significantly increase your risk of heart disease (7).
- Slower metabolism
According to numerous studies, the more restrictions you follow, the slower your metabolism gets. As a result, you may slow down your metabolism and gain excess weight (8).
- Ignoring your body’s signals
Most of the dieters eat as much as they can during their 1-hour window. They ignore their body’s signals and don’t understand whether they are hungry or full. It might be harmful for your health.
It is important to remember, that if you want to peel off unwanted pounds, there some rules to follow. There is a combination of lifestyle adjustments that will help you to achieve your fitness goals and stay healthy. Only by following to a healthy and well-balanced diet and working out on a regular basis you can slim down in a safe way.
There is also a number of habits which you should develop to succeed in your weight loss journey. It is vital to get necessary amounts of high quality sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause not only excess weight gain, but a bunch of health issues as well. As it was mentioned above, it is also critical to reduce your stress and anxiety levels, which can cause serious health conditions.
Another habit to establish is drinking necessary amounts of water every day. Hydration is a number one rule for all people who want to improve their health status and lose weight. Moreover, drinking water will help you to boost your skin health and beauty, improve the function of your digestive system and flush the toxins out of your body.
All these simple but still significant changes in your usual lifestyle will help you to get long-term weight loss results and feel much better. Old habits die hard, but if you master your self-discipline and work on yourself, you will achieve desired effect in a quite short period of time.
Do I need to count calories on this diet?
You don’t have to count your calories. All you have to do is to follow the one-meal-a-day rule.
In conclusion, the OMAD diet may help you to lose weight and may provide some health benefits for you. However, the drawbacks mentioned above don’t allow to call this diet safe and well-balanced. That’s why, if you have decided to give it a try, it is critical to consult your nutritionist before starting the OMAD diet. Remember that your health is your number one priority.
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)
8. Intermittent Fasting: The Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)