OMAD diet: is it healthy to eat once a day?

Eating once a day is a diet that has become popular. Let’s review how healthy it is and its possible harm to health.

Last update: February 19, 2022

The OMAD diet is a feeding protocol in which the person eats only once a day. This is a form of intermittent fasting focused on eating solids only around dinner time.

It differs from other intermittent fasts because it does not include snacks or small meals. It is one of the most extreme implementations, as it restricts the feeding time to only one.

Although it may sound interesting to lose weight, some consider her dangerous and insane. Here we study this type of pattern in more depth.

What is the OMAD diet?

OMAD means one meal a day. In Spanish it means “one meal a day”. Namely, the fast is 23 hours.

According to the proposal, during the hour of intake it is allowed to eat all kinds of food and in any quantity. But when finished, you can only have coffee and some types of low-calorie drinks.

In general, intermittent fasting works under the following mechanism: the alteration of normal metabolic processes is induced so that, after 12 to 36 hours of fasting, The body enters a state of ketosis. During these periods there are low blood sugar levels, decreased glycogen storage in the liver and increased production of ketone bodies.

Ketones are formed from fats to serve as a source of energy for the brain and other cells. This replaces glucose.

These compounds cover up to 70% of energy needs of neurons. But, to what extent is it healthy to eat once a day?

Is it healthy to eat only once a day?

Intermittent fasting has been recognized as a healthy way to lose weight. There are different ways to apply it, but not all of them are beneficial for health. See what the science says about the OMAD diet.

Risk of nutritional deficiency

It is difficult to include the daily intake of nutrients necessary for proper functioning in a single meal or in an hour. If you don’t eat an adequate amount of nutrients there may be a deficiency.

Nutritional deficiency is a deficit of micro and macronutrients below the percentages required daily. It represents one of the most widespread forms of malnutrition in the world.

Many experts define it as hidden hunger. Over time it can trigger death.

In general, to cover the daily requirements of each nutrient, they are divided among all the meals of the day. It is complex to include everything you need in a single meal for healthy nutrition.

The 16/8 modality is the most used and accepted for intermittent fasting.

cause hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is when the blood sugar level is below normal. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body. A single meal a day is not enough to keep blood glucose balanced.

The symptoms that appear are fatigue, irregular heartbeat, tremors, anxiety, sweating, hunger, irritability and tingling. It can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness.

Increases blood pressure

One study found that when people ate 1 meal a day, they had a significant increase in hunger. As well as a significant change in body composition. And perhaps the most striking finding was a marked increase in blood pressure and total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol concentrations.

Those people who suffer from high blood pressure, controlled or not, they should exclude OMAD as a diet plan for weight loss. There are other healthy options, such as the Mediterranean diet, the pescatarian or vegan.

Can lead to eating disorders

Not eating for 24 hours to control weight is an important predictor of the onset of bulimia and binge eating. Bulimia is an eating and psychological disorder in which a person repeatedly and excessively eats food for a short period of time. What’s more, have excessive concern about weight control.

Disadvantages of the OMAD diet

In addition to being unhealthy, the OMAD diet has some drawbacks compared to other guidelines. These are some.

little durability

Being so restrictive may have poor acceptance over time. People are unlikely to maintain this regimen for more than a few days. Fasting is very long and it is difficult to control physiological hunger.

Allows you to eat any type of food

Despite being restrictive, in the time that people can eat, they are allowed to eat anything. So it’s not healthy.

Therefore, people are prone to taking empty calories or harmful to health. For example, those processed and those labeled as light without being.

At mealtime you can eat anything, including ultra-processed foods, which are not healthy.

How many times a day is it recommended to eat?

The recommendation to have a balanced diet is to eat 5 times a day. These 5 times are breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, snack and dinner.

The reasons why this is so are varied. The main one is that, by eating at certain times, we get used to it and eat less, avoiding obesity. Also, the circadian cycle helps metabolize food. This will ensure the balance, balance and quality of the feed.

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