A Diet That Doesn’t Involve Calorie-Counting
Perhaps you already know that the staple of any successful weight loss is a diet that creates an adequate caloric deficit. In other words, to shed pounds productively you need to make sure that you burn more calories than you consume. But what if you could slim down without having to count your calories? This is what the OMAD diet promises you. Let’s explore the reasoning and science behind this weight loss approach.
The Concept Behind The OMAD Diet
The OMAD diet, also known as one meal a day diet, is a nutritional plan, which, as the name suggests, allows you to have only one meal a day. Followers of this diet usually skip their breakfast and eat only once a day, usually at lunch. Some consider this diet to be a type of fasting, where you fast for 23 hours a day and consume all your daily calories in one meal.
‘How can the OMAD diet help me lose weight? you may ask. The idea here is that you won’t be able to consume that many calories in one meal, so you will inevitably create a caloric deficit which results in weight loss.
The OMAD diet doesn’t restrict any type of food, nor does it state what size your meal should be. Technically you are allowed to eat whatever you want and in whatever amounts, as long as you eat it in one meal. So, it is up to you, whether to have a pile of junk food that will only provide you with empty calories or to have a nutrient-packed healthy meal consisting of vegetables, lean meat or fish, whole-grain foods, and fruits that can offer you plenty of fiber, protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
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Possible Benefits Of The OMAD Diet
Since this nutritional approach is considered to be a fast, its proponents claim that it offers the same benefits as intermittent fasting. For instance, the OMAD diet followers believe that this dietary approach can promote skin elasticity since there are suggestions that long-term fasting has such an effect. Here are some other possible benefits of the OMAD diet:
- Triggers autophagy
Having one meal a day may trigger autophagy – the process of getting rid of waste, toxins, and damaged cells. Autophagy can help reduce the risk and fight diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- Boosts metabolism
The OMAD diet may improve your metabolism by making your body more tolerant to hunger. Animal studies have shown that intermittent fasting decreases blood sugar and stimulates insulin function, reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity.
- Requires less planning
By eating only one meal a day, you reduce your need for meal planning to the minimum.
- Weight management
It was already mentioned before that this nutritional approach can help you slim down by creating a caloric deficit since you can’t consume more than your required daily caloric intake in just one meal.
Risks And Drawbacks Of The OMAD Diet
No matter how great its possible benefits may sound, eating only one meal a day is not the safest weight loss method out there. There is an extremely limited number of studies on this diet, which is similar to a disordered diet. This nutritional approach can be dangerous and bears a lot of risks, such as:
- Lack of vital nutrients
It is extremely difficult to fit all the essential nutrients in only one meal, so you will likely lack a lot of vital micros and macros. If followed long-term, the OMAD diet may lead to various nutrient deficiencies, especially if you tend to make wrong food choices.
- Increased level of cholesterol
Fasting was linked to an increased level of bad LDL cholesterol, which adds to the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
- Slower metabolism
According to experts, very limiting diets often slow down your metabolism, which results in weight gain.
- Increased chance of overeating
When you eat only once a day, you will try to take all out of that one meal. This may lead to you overeating, since you won’t pay attention to whether you are still hungry or already full.
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Helpful OMAD Diet Recommendations
Although it is not recommended to follow this nutritional plan for a long period of time, you may try it short-term, but only with the approval of your doctor. So, if you are determined to try this dietary approach out, here are some helpful recommendations for you:
- Don’t rush
You are supposed to eat only one meal a day, but who said that you have to do it fast? Don’t rush, make sure to thoroughly chew every bite. Focus on what you eat and try to enjoy every little piece of your meal.
- Don’t be afraid to take a pause
Limiting yourself this much can be extremely difficult, so if you feel like giving up don’t panic. Make a pause and prepare a healthy meal that will provide you with plenty of nutrients.
- Fight your stress
Following the rules of this dietary approach is not easy and will definitely cause you stress. Fight your stress with the help of meditation, yoga, and exercise.
Can you lose weight by eating one meal a day?
Yes, it can help you slim down by reducing your daily caloric intake. However, it is recommended that instead of restricting your diet in such an extreme way, you stick to a healthy nutritional plan that creates an adequate caloric deficit.
Do I need to count calories on OMAD?
No, you don’t need to count calories on this diet, since having only one meal a day will inevitably create a caloric deficit for you.
The OMAD diet may sound like an easy way to lose weight since it doesn’t restrict any type or amount of food that you are allowed to eat and doesn’t require you to count calories, however, it can be quite dangerous for your health. Before starting any new diet, please, consult your doctor first.
The article cannot and does not contain medical or health advice. This information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. The use or reliance of any information contained in this article is solely at your own risk!