by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
The OMAD diet, which stands for “One Meal a Day,” is a popular type of intermittent fasting. It involves a daily eating window of just one hour, with 23 hours of fasting. While celebrated for its remarkable weight loss results, the OMAD diet offers a host of additional benefits, including improved metabolism and enhanced productivity.
In this article, we will dive deeper into the benefits of the OMAD diet, shedding light on how it can help you shed pounds, optimize your metabolic processes, and boost your daily efficiency.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your nutrition or weight loss program.
What is the OMAD Diet?
The OMAD diet, or One Meal A Day Diet, is an eating pattern where you consume all your daily calories in a single meal. While it shares similarities with intermittent fasting, OMAD is more restrictive, as you only eat once a day during a one-hour window. This approach has gained global popularity primarily for its ability to promote rapid weight loss.
By limiting calorie intake to one meal, your body enters a prolonged fasting state, causing it to burn stored fat for energy. This can lead to significant weight loss, making the OMAD diet appealing for those looking to shed pounds.
7 Health Benefits of the OMAD Diet
Scientific research on intermittent fasting, like OMAD, has unveiled multiple health benefits beyond weight loss. These findings indicate that the OMAD diet can enhance overall well-being and promote internal balance in the body.
Below are some of the benefits of the OMAD diet:
- Helps with weight loss
The combination of a time-restricted diet and a calorie-deficit approach in the OMAD diet accelerates weight loss. This is primarily due to the reduction in leptin hormone levels during intermittent fasting, which signals the brain to decrease food intake.
Extended periods without food prompt the body to meet its energy requirements by breaking down stored fats and proteins to produce glucose. This process, involving the breakdown of glucose and the oxidation of fatty acids, can lead to a weight loss of about 2-3% of body weight in roughly three months.
A 2020 Nutrients study examining 23 clinical trials on the health effects of time-restricted eating (TRE), where the eating period is restricted to 10 hours or less with a fasting period of 14 hours or more, revealed notable fat mass reduction and an average of 3% weight loss without calorie intake restrictions.
In a separate 2017 study encompassing over 50,000 participants, it was concluded that an overnight fast of 18 to 19 hours, followed by a five to six-hour eating window that includes two meals, preferably breakfast and lunch, may serve as an effective weight control strategy.
- Controls diabetes
OMAD fasting proves beneficial in diabetes management by allowing the body ample time to lower fasting glucose levels and mitigate insulin resistance commonly observed in diabetic individuals. Several studies have indicated that therapeutic intermittent fasting can potentially reduce the dependence on insulin therapy for diabetic patients.
According to a 2017 study of 10 people with type 2 diabetes, it was concluded that fasting for 18 to 20 hours a day can lead to better-controlled levels of blood glucose.
- Increases autophagy
Autophagy is a natural bodily process where damaged cell components are recycled to create new tissues. It also plays a role in eliminating elements like viruses, mold, fungi, and candida from the body. Fasting enhances this recycling and detoxification process, leading to a strengthened immune system and overall health and vitality.
- May help prevent cancer
Fasting has shown potential as a complementary approach to cancer treatment, as mentioned by Amaral. Although research in this field is promising, it remains in its early stages.
A 2020 review suggests that fasting before and after chemotherapy may enhance the effectiveness and tolerability of chemotherapy by promoting the survival of healthy cells while targeting cancer cells.
- May help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases
The OMAD diet positively impacts a person’s lipid profile by reducing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). This combination effectively reduces the risks associated with cardiovascular diseases.
Also, OMAD intermittent fasting helps lower the risk of atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fat in the arteries, by boosting the production of adiponectin hormone, which possesses anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Improves cognitive function
OMAD fasting can significantly enhance cognition, improving conditions such as dementia, memory problems, focus, and concentration once the body adjusts to this eating pattern.
- Improves metabolism
The OMAD diet may lead to decreased cortisol levels, the stress hormone, which in turn can boost the metabolism. This hormone also strengthens the body’s natural immune response and aids in managing stress.