What is the OMAD diet? Is eating one meal a day good for weight loss? And is it safe?

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What do British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and singer Bruce Springsteen have in widespread?

They’re amongst an ever-growing group of public figures touting the advantages of consuming only one meal a day.

Consequently, the one meal a day (OMAD) food plan is the newest attention-grabbing weight reduction development. Advocates declare it results in quick, long-term weight reduction success and higher well being, together with delaying the ageing course of.

Like most weight-loss packages, the OMAD food plan makes huge and daring guarantees. Right here’s what it’s good to find out about consuming one meal a day and what it means for weight reduction.

The OMAD food plan defined

Primarily, the OMAD food plan is a kind of intermittent fasting, the place you quick for 23 hours and devour all of your each day energy in a single meal eaten inside one hour.

The OMAD food plan guidelines are introduced as easy and simple to comply with:

  1. You’ll be able to eat no matter you need, offered it matches on an ordinary dinner plate, with no calorie restrictions or dietary tips to comply with.
  2. You’ll be able to drink calorie-free drinks all through the day (water, black tea and low).
  3. You could comply with a constant meal schedule, consuming your one meal across the identical time every day.

someone eating salmon
Salmon dinner (Picture by Travis Yewell on Unsplash)
Together with making a calorie deficit, leading to weight reduction, advocates consider the OMAD food plan’s prolonged fasting interval leads to physiological changes within the physique that promote higher well being, together with boosting your metabolism by triggering a course of known as ketosis, the place your physique burns saved fats for power as an alternative of glucose.

What does the proof say?

Sadly, analysis into the OMAD food plan is proscribed. Most research have examined its affect on animals, and the primary study with people concerned 11 lean, younger individuals following the OMAD food plan for a mere 11 days.

Claims concerning the OMAD food plan usually depend on analysis into intermittent fasting, relatively than on the OMAD food plan itself. There may be evidence backing the efficacy of intermittent fasting to realize weight reduction. Nevertheless, most studies have targeted on short-term outcomes solely, usually contemplating the outcomes achieved throughout 12 weeks or much less.

One longer-term study from 2022 randomly assigned 139 sufferers with weight problems to both a calorie-restricted food plan with time-restricted consuming between 8 am and 4 pm each day, or to a food plan with each day calorie restriction alone for 12 months.

After 12 months, each teams had misplaced across the identical weight and skilled comparable adjustments in physique fats, blood sugar, ldl cholesterol and blood strain. This means long-term weight reduction achieved with intermittent fasting is just not superior and on par with that achieved by conventional weight-reduction plan approaches (each day calorie restriction).

So what are the issues with the OMAD food plan?

1. It could trigger dietary deficiencies and well being points.

The OMAD food plan’s lack of dietary steering on what to eat for that one meal a day raises many purple flags.

The meals we eat every single day ought to embrace a supply of protein balanced with wholegrain carbs, greens, fruits, protein and good fat to help optimum health, disease prevention and weight management.

Family Doing Grocery Shopping
Picture by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Not consuming a balanced food plan will end in nutritional deficiencies that may end up in poor immune perform, fatigue and a lower in bone density, resulting in osteoporosis.

Fasting for 23 hours a day can also be more likely to result in excessive emotions of starvation and uncontrollable cravings, which can imply you constantly eat meals that aren’t good for you when it’s time to eat.

2. It’s unlikely to be sustainable.

You would possibly be capable to follow the OMAD food plan initially, however it is going to put on skinny over time.

Excessive diets – particularly ones prescribing prolonged durations of fasting – aren’t gratifying, resulting in emotions of deprivation and social isolation throughout meal instances. It’s arduous sufficient to refuse a chunk of workplace birthday cake at one of the best of instances, think about how this may really feel while you haven’t eaten for 23 hours!

Restrictive consuming may also result in an unhealthy relationship with meals, making it even tougher to realize and preserve a wholesome weight.

3. Fast fixes don’t work.

Like different common intermittent fasting strategies, the OMAD food plan appeals as a result of it’s simple to digest, and the outcomes seem quick.

However the OMAD food plan is simply one other fancy approach of chopping energy to realize a fast drop on the scales.

As your weight falls, issues will rapidly go downhill when your body activates its defense mechanisms to defend your weight reduction. In truth, it is going to regain weight – a response that stems from our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ have to survive durations of deprivation when meals was scarce.

The underside line

Regardless of the hype, the OMAD food plan is unsustainable, and it doesn’t end in higher weight-loss outcomes than its predecessors. Our outdated habits creep again in and we discover ourselves combating a cascade of physiological adjustments to make sure we regain the burden we misplaced.

Efficiently losing weight long-term comes right down to:

  • dropping pounds in small manageable chunks you possibly can maintain, particularly durations of weight reduction, adopted by durations of weight upkeep, and so forth, till you obtain your aim weight
  • making gradual adjustments to your life-style to make sure you type habits that final a lifetime.

On the Boden Group, Charles Perkins Centre, we’re finding out the science of weight problems and working scientific trials for weight reduction. You’ll be able to register here to precise your curiosity.

Article written by Nick Fuller, Charles Perkins Centre Analysis Program Chief, University of Sydney

This text is republished from The Conversation underneath a Inventive Commons license. Learn the original article.

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