You’ve probably heard about intermittent fasting since it is skyrocketing in popularity as one of the many weight loss trends. However, the OMAD diet, which stands for “one meal a day”, takes intermittent fasting to the extreme. The idea is to eat one large meal in a 60-minute window and fast for 23 hours straight. But there’s more to this diet than eating just one meal daily. For starters, you can eat whatever you’d like for that one meal, even a double cheeseburger and fries.
Whatever you choose to eat, you don’t need to worry about the calories or nutritional profile of your food. And, of course, it looks like an upside to OMAD, but there are some red flags to watch out for. Since the diet allows you to eat whatever you want, you often fall into the trap of choosing unhealthy options.
Experts say adopting the OMAD way of eating is a starvation diet. It is an extreme level of time-restricted fasting, no doubt. However, nutritionists always suggest a well-balanced meal with healthy carbs, protein, and healthy fats. And if you’re still curious, here’s everything you need to know about this controversial diet.
OMAD Diet and Weight Loss
OMAD is a method of controlling how your body obtains and uses food as fuel, just like other forms of intermittent fasting. Your body makes less insulin when you go without eating for an extended period (in this case, for 23 hours). Your fat cells release energy to make up for the fact that your cells still need fuel. However, for this to occur, you must go without food for so long that your insulin levels fall. That is why there is so much gap between the eating window. It makes your body break down fat and provides energy to the body.
OMAD can help you lose weight. That’s because you’re not eating enough calories with just one meal as you would by eating three or four times a day. So weight loss is bound to occur, but it’s neither healthy nor sustainable. So whatever weight loss you see on the OMAD diet will likely be short-lived.
Healthy weight loss is something the most sustainable over a lifetime. It is possible only through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Supported by HealthifyMe’s customised diet plans and calorie counters, you can achieve sustainable and healthy weight loss.
Should I Try the OMAD Diet?
When you deprive yourselves of food for 23 hours, it’ll be tough not to notice any downsides. Also, studies show that eating one meal a day is similar to a disordered eating practice. So, people must avoid trying such diets, particularly anyone who’s pregnant, breastfeeding, recovering from past disordered eating, or has diabetes.
The following side effects can result from restricting food for nearly an entire day:
Possibility of Falling Weak
When you start a new diet, the body needs time to adjust to the changes. The first few days will be challenging and might make you feel weak. It is usual for everyone. Although if that weakness is causing a lot of problems, then it will be advisable to quit this diet. The chances of falling weak and feeling low on energy are high when you follow an OMAD diet.
It Makes You Underweight
It is advised not to follow this diet if you have healthy body weight. Since your body does not need to minimise food consumption at such a level, it may make you underweight if you still follow this diet. Being underweight is worse, as your body becomes weak. Your immunity might also be affected and may lead to different ailments.
Feeling Constantly Hungry
You will constantly feel hungry as you are not giving enough food to your body. Hunger cravings and irritability will cause distractions and poor mental health. You will not be able to focus on your work or daily activities.
Reduces the Body’s Beneficial Fats
The OMAD diet makes your insulin drop and starts to work on breaking down fat cells. However, fat is also an essential part of the body and needs to be maintained. It is important to understand that this might also lead to the breakdown of the good fat cells necessary for your system. Hence, this diet is not practically beneficial.
The HealthifyMe Note
Most health experts suggest steering clear of the OMAD diet. The more you restrict, the higher your chances of lacking essential nutrients. Plus, not getting a regular intake of calories can cause serious health complications. If you are interested in some fasting, following a less intense form like the 16:8 diet might be your best bet. However, the healthiest way is to follow a balanced diet, with adequate exercise and proper sleep.
OMAD Diet: The Advantages
If you still want to try the OMAD diet, it’s worth noting the following advantages.
It Helps Burn Fat
Intermittent fasting is a successful weight-loss strategy. Over ten weeks, the average weight loss is 7 to 11 pounds. Since this is an extreme form of intermittent diet, it is difficult to follow but may provide fat reduction results.
You feel more alert when you fast during the daytime because your body releases more orexin-A hormone. It is not specific to the OMAD diet and applies to most forms of intermittent fasting. However, following the OMAD diet will lead to a lack of concentration because you starve for long hours.
May Improve Metabolism
The OMAD diet profoundly affects your metabolism, particularly the fat-burning rate. However, you must understand that following the OMAD diet is not completely necessary for metabolism improvement.
Creates a Discipline
Eating only one meal a day is not easy. It is a challenging task, and only a few will succeed. However, if you like a challenge, you might want to try this diet. It will teach you the discipline to maintain that willpower every single day. Some people have found this diet to be their way of life, but it might not be for your body. Other intermittent diets will also be helpful and might suit your body better.
OMAD Diet: Important Tips to Follow
Regular hydration will help you control your hunger and stay committed to your diet. Staying hydrated is crucial if you’re following this diet to lose weight. For the following 23 hours, you are not allowed to eat anything like sugar-free tea, coffee, and other calorie-free beverages. So ensure to drink plenty of water.
Consume Food From All Food Groups
Now that you are only allowed to eat once a day, you must attend to your body’s nutritional needs. Consume something from each food group to stay nourished. If you do this, you might experience more significant weight loss than average. Fill your dish accordingly with protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Maintain Your Everyday Exercise
Gather your commitment thoughts, put on your sportswear, and get going. Exercise and diet together are the most effective. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to keep moving throughout the day. It would help to fulfil your fitness objectives.
If You’re Not Feeling Well, Stop the Diet.
As a beginner, it is normal to feel weak or queasy. However, if this feeling persists, quit the OMAD diet immediately. Even though you face mild sickness, carrying on could make you nauseous and worsen your situation.
The HealthifyMe Note
Though the OMAD diet doesn’t restrict what you can eat during your eating window, there are rules for how to plate your meal. You can do this diet by starting a fast at night, skipping breakfast, and eating your first meal in the middle of the day. If you want to start slow, introduce fasting every other day, with small snacks after workouts.
Since the OMAD diet is one type of intermittent fasting, you may experience some of the benefits of intermittent fasting diets in general. However, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of the OMAD diet. Even if you don’t experience any short-term side effects, the OMAD diet can affect your health in the long run. A well-balanced and well-portioned diet benefits your long-term well-being and gives you sustainable and healthy weight loss.