Last Updated on May 27, 2021 by Lori Geurin
Find out 6 benefits of OMAD fasting and precautions to consider when trying One Meal A Day fasting.
You’ve likely heard of intermittent fasting, but there’s a new kid in town that is all the rage, called OMAD. It stands for ‘one meal a day.’ In this post, I’ll share about OMAD health benefits and precautions that are important to be aware of if you decide to try this fasting schedule.
I’ve been doing OMAD on and off for a while now. And my husband, David, has been practicing OMAD for a few months. He usually does it a couple of days a week and has noticed several benefits, including
- weight loss
- improved body composition (in his words, “I feel less fluffy.” Love that!)
- fewer cravings for sweets
- increased energy
You may be asking yourself how this is possible…especially in such a short time. And that is what I’m going to share in this post.
That, and a few other facts about OMAD (including examples of OMAD schedules) I hope you’ll enjoy…
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What Is OMAD Intermittent Fasting?
OMAD is a form of intermittent fasting. You may have heard it called the One Meal A Day diet. Simply put, you eat one meal a day and fast for the other hours.
You may be familiar with other intermittent fasting schedules like the 16:8, the 18:6 or the 20:4. These ratios show you the hours you spend fasting in relation to the hours you spend eating (your eating window) based on a 24-hour day.
For example, a 16:8 fast means that you fast for 16 hours and eat all of your meals for the day within the 8-hour time frame.
For OMAD it’s a little different…
OMAD Diet Rules
There are some different interpretations for how to do OMAD. Some people say it’s to be done in a 23:1 ratio with 23 hours spent fasting and 1 hour of eating your meal for the day. But, for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on a slightly different approach than this that I also like to follow.
One of my favorite intermittent fasters, Gin Stephens, talks about this OMAD approach in her book, Fast, Feast, Repeat.
Here’s how it works.
During the fasting window, you can have water, unsweetened tea, and coffee. Clean fasting is the
best only way to fast, especially if you want to continue fasting as a lifestyle, lose weight, and get back in touch with your hunger/satiety signals.
OMAD Fasting Schedule
With OMAD you have flexibility. Most people who are doing OMAD eat within a time-restricted eating (TRE) window of 2 to 4 or 5 hours. Here are a few examples of OMAD fasting schedules. Keep in mind that these aren’t set in stone. I just created them on the fly to give you some idea of what OMAD can look like:
- 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Open your eating window with a healthy coffee drink, and finish eating your main meal by 11:00 a.m.
- 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Open your window with a small snack, followed by your main meal at 5:30 p.m., then finish eating dessert by 8:00 p.m. (my personal favorite schedule for OMAD fasting)
- 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Eat your main meal between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.
- 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Eat your main meal at 1:00 p.m. and finish eating dessert by 4:00 p.m.
So, if you decide to try OMAD, make it your own. Choose the schedule or schedules that your body responds to best and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, fasting-wise.
It can take a while to figure out which fasting schedule (or schedules) you like the best. Have fun experimenting with different ones and testing out how you feel and how your body responds.
Now that we’ve covered OMAD fasting schedules, let’s jump into some of the impressive benefits of OMAD.
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6 Benefits Of OMAD Fasting
There are some compelling benefits of following an OMAD fasting schedule. Here are a few.
- weight loss – People have reported losing incredible amounts of weight with the OMAD diet. Feel free to take a look at this Reddit link for so many testimonials.
- autophagy (in overdrive!) – One of the coolest things about fasting is that your body turns on this amazing natural process of cleaning out old, damaged cells and producing brand new healthy ones. Recent studies suggest autophagy may even increase your lifespan.
- saves money – Because you eat less food your grocery bill goes down. This is always a perk!
- less hunger and cravings – I know this sounds too good to be true, but trust me on this one. I was skeptical at first too! (You can read about how intermittent fasting eliminated my hypoglycemia here.)
- saves time – As you might have guessed, when you’re only eating one meal a day your time spent in the kitchen prepping food for meals is greatly reduced.
- increased energy and focus – Who doesn’t love being more productive? When you’re OMAD-ing you don’t have to deal with that after-lunch brain fog that results when your body is busy digesting your meal.
For more on the health benefits of intermittent fasting check out 9 Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting.
(You may want to learn about clean fasting to improve your fasting results.)
OMAD Fasting Precautions And Safety
Though intermittent fasting is a healthy practice that can be done by many adults, according to Dr. Eric Berg, there are some people who should not fast. They include the following:
- babies and small children
- women who are nursing or pregnant
- thin people with neurodegenerative conditions
- people who have a recent history of eating disorders
It’s also important to mention that, although OMAD has some pretty great benefits, it’s obviously not for everyone. I have read a few posts from women who have experienced hormone issues and hair loss they believe was connected to prolonged OMAD so this is something to be aware of.
Hair loss can happen when you lose a lot of weight (but it generally grows back).
Personally, I haven’t practiced OMAD long enough to be able to recommend it for the long-term. I’ve used it more occasionally to alter my intermittent fasting schedule because I don’t want it to be the same every day.
Gin Stephens is a huge proponant of OMAD and says she follows this fasting schedule most of the time. There are many other people who are living the OMAD lifestyle and loving it too.
I really like Gin’s take on OMAD because it’s not a strict 23:1. It’s based upon the concept of one meal a day but she listens to her body’s needs (great advice for us all) and if she’s feeling hungrier one day she might add a snack, enjoy dessert, or extend the time she’s eating.
OMAD Research Findings
I couldn’t find a whole lot of research on the long-term effects of OMAD, but I did notice a couple of things worth sharing. On a positive note, one study found that type 2 diabetes patients saw improved blood sugar counts after trying OMAD. (1)
Another study compared two groups of normal-weight people over a 6-month period. One group ate one meal a day and the other ate three. The research found that the people in the one meal a day group lost body fat even though they maintained their weight. They also experienced an increase in blood pressure and total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol. (2)
I have seen some awesome OMAD health benefits for myself and my husband when it’s used less frequently. (And it sure is nice to have fewer dishes to clean up.) It has obviously helped so many people lose weight, lower their insulin levels, and upgrade their overall wellness.
As I mentioned earlier, my experience with OMAD is not a consistent daily OMAD. I like to switch up my fasting schedules to keep my body guessing. This approach works great for me but you may prefer something different. So find what works best for you.
Is it safe to do OMAD every day?
It depends. If you’re having a single plate of food every day and that’s it, you’re going to miss out on important vitamins and minerals your body needs.
So, if you’re underweight or suffer from nutritional deficiencies you might do better switching up your timing schedules to make sure your eating enough healthy foods.
Because I have a chronic illness and my doctor says my body doesn’t do a great job absorbing nutrients I like to use OMAD as an occasional approach, but not every day.
Talk to your doctor so they can guide you based on your specific health requirements.
Is OMAD good for weight loss?
Yes, many people have lost a lot of weight following OMAD.
The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to find something that’s healthy and sustainable for your lifestyle. This will encourage you to stick with your plan long-term.
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Summary – OMAD Fasting Benefits & Precautions
I hope this has given you some helpful info about OMAD. I’m passionate about sharing the amazing impact intermittent fasting has had in my life and in the lives of so many other people.
I just want to caution you to be aware that OMAD is not for everyone. As always, listen to your body and consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet or eating schedule.
I would love to hear about your experience if you’ve done OMAD.
I wrote an eBook all about my experience with intermittent fasting. This method allowed me to burn fat, lose weight (the effortless way) and be healthy….without feeling hungry – even curing my hypoglycemia. If you’d like to learn how I accomplished these great results, you’ll want to check out my book HERE!
Have you tried OMAD? What do you think of these OMAD benefits and precautions?
The information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose, or cure any disease or health problem. Please talk to your doctor about OMAD and/or Intermittent Fasting to learn if they might be a good option for you.
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