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One Meal a Day (OMAD) Diet

By Editorial Team (Y)
August 22, 2022
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Introduction

One Meal a Day diet is an eating plan based on fasting for 23 hours and consuming food for 1 hour in a single meal. This type of intermitted fasting is also known as the OMAD diet. You can include any products you wish in this single meal. In addition, during the fasting window, you are permitted to drink regular water, sparkling water, pure coffee without sugar and milk, as well as pure tea.
The OMAD eating plan contributes to weight loss by enhancing your body’s ability of fat burning. Besides decreasing weight, this diet claims to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, along with lowering the risk of insulin resistance and the development of diseases.

Key points

Compared to other types of fasting diet, such as the 16/8 fasting program, the most extreme option of intermittent fasting is the OMAD eating plan, which involves 23 hours fasting window and 1 hour window of food consumption.
Though in this dining program, the composition and timing of dishes vary established on personal preferences, most people sticking to this diet limit their food consumption to one meal per day.
Typically, people sticking to the one meal a day diet prefer to eat only a dinner meal. However, some followers pick to consume their daily calories as breakfast or lunch. Moreover, certain adaptations of the OMAD diet allow consuming one or two snacks in addition to one meal.
Even so, the number of supporters of the one meal per day dining program does not consume calories during the fasting period. Instead, such participants consume food solely during one meal or during 1 hour eating period.
The mode of action of the OMAD eating program is that when you refuse to consume food for extended periods (23 hours for the OMAD diet), insulin production in your body is decreased. Nevertheless, the cells in your body still require energy to sustain themselves. In this case, fat cells function as an energy source.
Moreover, the OMAD variation of intermittent fasting contributes to weight loss simply due to the fact that followers consume fewer calories than people consume following a regular diet.

Contraindications

The one meal a day program is extremely restrictive. Therefore, people who experienced eating disorders or diabetes in the past, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, must escape this diet program to avoid adverse outcomes. Furthermore, this eating plan might harm people who take medications that need food for drug metabolism.

How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies

The OMAD program poses considerable risk of malnourishment, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrient deficiency. It is challenging to provide your body with all the nutrients it requires when consuming only one meal daily.
Since obtaining all the necessary vitamins and minerals while eating only one meal per day is complicated, you should consider taking a multivitamin supplement. In addition, you should plan well-balanced, high-in-vitamins, nutrient-dense dishes. Following the one meal a day program, you cannot supply the body with sufficient calories daily. Typically for women, it is 2,000 calories/day, and for men, it is 2,500 calories/day, based on activity levels. However, eating nutrient-dense dishes rich in vitamins and minerals contributes to the prevention of nutritional deficiencies.

Tips on improving your dieting experience

  • Choose nutrient-dense products to stay full for a more extended period of time and supply your body with nutrients. Try to escape highly processed food.
  • Pay attention to signals sent by your body. The 23-hour fasting course is not applicable to everyone. That is okay if your body does not admit such long fasting periods. Do not torment your body. In addition, factors such as a fast metabolism, intense workout, or frequent mental stress make it super challenging to follow such a restrictive diet. Pay attention to your body’s alerts and if you are feeling bad, stop following the OMAD diet.
  • Do not start fasting for 23 hours abruptly. It is considerably safer and easier to make it gradually. So, you can start with a 12-14 hour fasting window, and when you get used to it, progress to 16-18 hours of fasting. After that, you can add 1 hour to your fasting period every week and steadily move to a 23-hour fasting window per day.
  • To avoid acute hunger, keep a big bottle of water with you. Drinking sparkling water and coffee also helps to reduce hunger and escape snacking.
  • Women should pay special attention to their bodies’ signals during the OMAD diet. According to the studies, intermittent fasting can affect women’s insulin response. Therefore, if you detect any adverse changes in the cycle or how you feel, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Overall, one meal a day is an effective eating plan for weight loss, but it may possess adverse health outcomes. As a result of the extreme nature of the one meal a day diet, most healthcare providers discourage it. Although the OMAD diet contributes some health benefits, you can reach the same result by way more healthier methods, such as workouts, walking, a lower-calorie diet, the Mediterranian diet or Nordic diet, 16/8 intermittent fasting, etc.

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