The OMAD diet has been added to my list of diet trends I do NOT recommend. If you are thinking about trying this way of eating or currently practicing this diet, please consider some of the potentially harmful side effects listed below.
The OMAD diet stands for One Meal A Day. You essentially fast for 23 hours and consume only one meal each day. Because you are limiting your calorie consumption, you can feast on whatever you like, healthy or unhealthy and still lose weight. The idea of eating whatever you want is always enticing but remember you are eating only once a day. Water is allowed but no other food. That hangry feeling you are left with the rest of the day might not be worth it.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is to allow your body to rest and digest, giving your organs and hormones a break. This reduces the stress on your body. In theory this reduces inflammation and your risk of developing chronic diseases. But OMAD is a very extreme form of intermittent fasting. Evidence shows that any benefits seem to be quickly negated once you break the fast and even cause you to feel hungrier than you were before you began the fasting diet.
There is not much scientific data supporting the benefits of OMAD but there are certainly some negative side effects that should be considered.
- Eating once a day may leave you lacking in important nutrients your body needs to function properly.
- A common theme in restricted eating is slowing down the metabolism. Though you may lose weight initially, you might be setting yourself up for a long-term struggle with weight gain.
- You will likely be lacking the energy needed to exercising. Exercise goes beyond weight loss. Exercise is about whole body health.
- There is evidence that fasting can increase your bad cholesterol (LDL).
More immediate effects of restricting food for nearly an entire day may include:
- Lightheaded feeling
- Brain Fog
- Drop in blood pressure
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
By restricting your eating so severely, you will likely miss sharing meals with loved ones. I will always advocate for making healthy eating eating choices which includes listening to hunger cues rather than suppressing them. My personal opinion is that the OMAD diet is not a healthy, safe, successful way to lose or maintain weight.