Can The One-Meal-A-Day Diet Really Help You Lose Weight?


What if there really was one simple trick to help you lose weight?

It’s easy to be skeptical. However, there is a new diet trend that is as popular as it is simple: the one-meal-a-day diet, also known as the OMAD diet.

But what is the OMAD diet all about, and can it really help you lose weight? Let’s find out!

What is the one-meal-a-day diet?

The one-meal-a-day diet is pretty self-explanatory. This is a special diet plan where somebody eats only a single meal a day.

This diet is attractive to many people because of its simplicity. Instead of fussing over complex meal planning or special diets that reduce things like carbs, you can eat almost anything you want with this diet.

We say “almost anything” because you are still better off eating healthier foods. And because your one meal per day needs to be high in calories, your choice of what to eat determines whether your body is mostly taking in nutrients or mostly taking in junk food.

RELATED: How Many Calories Should You Really Eat Per Day To Lose Weight?

How does the OMAD diet work?

The OMAD diet works on the basic principle of calorie reduction. The diet is technically a form of intermittent fasting, and you can potentially lose weight by only consuming one meal each day.

On a biological level, taking longer periods between eating can cause your body to produce less insulin. When this happens, your body releases the energy it needs from your fat cells. This energy release combined with restricting how many calories you consume can help you lose weight, even if you don’t regularly exercise or engage in an active lifestyle.

What are the benefits of eating one meal a day?

There are several different benefits to the one-meal-a-day diet. This includes that it can boost your metabolism, help you burn fat, help you lose weight, and even help you feel more alert.

While we need to do more research on the OMAD diet specifically, previous studies on restricted eating plans revealed that it helped some people improve their metabolism. This can help you naturally lose weight, though you may be able to get similar results from other forms of fasting (more on this later).

Not everyone who tries the OMAD diet manages to boost their metabolism and lose weight. However, this diet may still help burn extra fat in your body. A reduction in body fat can improve your appearance and may provide other health benefits.

If your primary goal is to lose weight, you should play around with which meal is your one meal in the day. At first, many are tempted to make that one meal dinner so they can go to sleep on a full stomach. But some studies have shown that those who eat breakfast as their one meal and fast overnight are likelier to lose weight.

Finally, this diet may make you feel more alert. Certain forms of fasting (not just this diet) can cause your body to release more of a chemical called orexin-A. This chemical makes you feel more alert.

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What are the drawbacks of the OMAD diet?

While the OMAD diet has many benefits, it also has some major drawbacks. This includes the fact that it may make you hungrier than usual, that it is difficult to sustain, and that it may not be as effective as other techniques.

In terms of hunger, the OMAD diet may cause your body to release more of a hormone known as ghrelin. This hormone makes you feel hungrier and can make the diet really annoying.

Another drawback is that, over time, many find the one-meal-a-day diet unsustainable. The diet has a high drop-out rate, and you may be better off doing something like intermittent fasting.

Speaking of that, the OMAD diet is mostly effective because it involves restricting how many calories you consume. If you are willing to do a bit of meal planning, you can consume the same number of calories across your other meals and experience the same benefits as this diet.

Is the OMAD diet safe?

For most people, the one-meal-a-day diet is safe. However, those who have diabetes or cardiovascular disease may run into problems with this diet.

Why is that? For one thing, consuming only one meal per day can increase both your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Both of these things can worsen your health if you already have diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, some studies have shown that eating one meal a day can cause your blood pressure to spike up. And any form of fasting (including this diet) can make your blood sugar crash, which is particularly catastrophic to those suffering from diabetes.

As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting