What Is the OMAD Diet (One Meal a Day) & its Benefits

What Is the OMAD Diet (One Meal a Day) & its Benefits: Eating one meal a day is a type of intermittent fasting that restricts calorie consumption during a certain window of time. It may support weight loss and provide other health benefits.

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Lots of people say that eating only one meal a day helps them lose weight and stay healthy. OMAD is another name for the one-meal-a-day plan.

On the OMAD diet, people usually limit their calorie intake to one meal or a short window of time. The meal’s content and timing can be different depending on the person.

The possible health benefits of OMAD are mostly linked to fasting, which means eating fewer calories during a set amount of time, and eating fewer calories in general.

How it works

  • There are many types of intermittent fasting practices and multiple ways to implement OMAD.
  • Examples include having just one meal and fasting for the rest of the day or having one meal and eating limited amounts of food during fasting periods.
  • This type of diet creates a calorie deficit, which can lead to weight loss.
  • Other health benefits related to fasting include the potential to reduce heart disease risk factors, decrease blood sugar, and reduce inflammation.
  • However, compared to other fasting regimens, such as the 16/8 method, which involves 8-hour eating windows and 16-hour fasting windows, eating just one meal per day is one of the most extreme methods of intermittent fasting.


  • A few popular diets encourage eating one meal per day. For example, when following the Warrior Diet, a person eats a single meal a day, cycling between long periods of fasting with short periods of energy consumption.
  • Most people following OMAD choose to only consume dinner, although others choose breakfast or lunch as their one meal. Some versions of this eating pattern allow a snack or two in addition to the one meal.
  • However, some OMAD enthusiasts don’t consume anything containing calories during their fasting window and only consume calories during their chosen meal, which typically lasts an hour or so.

OMAD Diet helps in Weight loss

  • In order to lose weight, you must create an energy deficit.
  • You can do this by either increasing the number of calories you burn or reducing your calorie intake. Calorie restriction, no matter how you achieve it, will lead to fat loss.
  • People using the OMAD method are likely to lose weight simply because they’re taking in fewer overall calories than they normally would during a regular pattern of eating.


  • For example, a study in healthy adults found that restricting calorie intake to a 4-hour time period in the evening led to significantly greater body fat loss than when eating three separate meals throughout the day.
  • Research has also shown that intermittent fasting, including extended fasting periods like OMAD, is likely to result in weight loss.
  • However, it doesn’t seem to be any more effective than traditional methods of calorie restriction, such as reducing calorie intake at each meal.


  • An analysis that included 50,660 people showed that those who consumed 1 or 2 meals per day had a yearly reduction in body mass index (BMI) compared to those who consumed 3 meals per day.
  • The study also showed that an overnight fast of 18 or more hours was associated with decreased body weight, compared to shorter fasting windows.
  • However, these weight loss benefits are related to intermittent fasting in general, and not just the OMAD.
  • Plus, extreme methods of fasting, such as OMAD, may have side effects that people need to consider, such as increased hunger and problematic metabolic changes.


  • In addition to weight loss, research has linked fasting to a number of other health benefits. For example, fasting may help reduce blood sugar and certain heart disease risk factors, including LDL “bad” cholesterol.
  • Fasting has also been associated with reduction in markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein.
  • Additionally, fasting may offer unique benefits for the health of the nervous system. It may slow neurodegeneration and promote longevity, according to animal research.


  • However, although these potential benefits are promising, it’s important to note that these benefits are associated with fasting in general and not OMAD specifically.
  • In fact, some research shows that the OMAD pattern may be more detrimental to health than other, less restrictive fasting methods.


  • Although research has associated fasting and calorie restriction with a variety of health benefits, some evidence suggests that restricting too much — which can include only consuming one meal a day — may do more harm than good.
  • For example, studies suggest that this extreme restriction may lead to increased total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and higher blood pressure levels compared to normal eating patterns or less extreme fasting methods.


  • Other studies have shown that eating one meal per day may increase fasting blood sugar levels, delay the body’s response to insulin, and increase levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, compared to eating 3 meals per day.
  • This can lead to extreme hunger.
  • What’s more, restricting calories to one meal a day may increase the chances of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, especially in those with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to these potential adverse effects, eating one meal a day can lead to symptoms including:

  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • low energy
  • constipation


  • The OMAD diet is also not appropriate for many groups of people, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children and teens, older adults, and people with eating disorders.
  • Limiting intake to one meal per day can also lead to disordered eating tendencies, impact a person’s social life, and be extremely difficult for most people to stick to.
  • What’s more, it can be very difficult to take in enough nutrients in one meal. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, which can negatively affect your health and can lead to serious risks.
  • Lastly, some people following the OMAD dietary pattern will binge on highly processed, calorie-dense foods, like fast food, pizza, doughnuts, and ice cream, during their one meal.


  • While these foods can fit into a balanced lifestyle, exclusively eating foods high in added sugar and other unhealthful ingredients will negatively affect your health in the long run.
  • Overall, although there are benefits related to fasting and calorie restriction, research has shown that consuming 2 or 3 meals per day is likely a better option for overall health than eating one meal a day.
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