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One Meal a Day: Does the OMAD Diet Work?

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Feb 10, 2022

One Meal a Day: Does the OMAD Diet Work?

As the name suggests, the One Meal a Day Diet (OMAD) involves eating all the calories needed in a day in one single meal. OMAD is one of the more extreme types of intermittent fasting and is often recommended as a weight loss plan and as a form of treatment for type 2 diabetes. But does the OMAD diet work?

Does the OMAD Diet Work?

Like any diet, there are different ways on how to implement OMAD. The effectiveness also depends on how committed a person with the regimen and what health conditions might hinder the effectiveness of the diet. 

Since OMAD is a type of intermittent fasting, the health benefits are significantly great and are worth skipping meals. Like any diet, the type of food being consumed also plays a huge factor in the diet’s effectiveness. 

Does the OMAD diet work? It might not work if one does not eat the right food. Going through the OMAD diet does not mean a person can eat anything. Although a person will need to eat only once a day, they must still be careful with the food that they consume. Aside from meeting the calorie requirement, the food to take must also meet the requirements for vitamins, proteins, and minerals a person needs in a day. 

Who Should Try the OMAD Diet?

OMAD is a great regimen for those who want to: 

Save Time

Since you only have to prepare one meal, OMAD is very efficient for those who want to cut time in eating as well as preparing meals. Diets are not just about eating less but they are also about eating right. In any diet, careful preparation is needed. Having to make and eat only one meal saves a lot of time. 

Avoid Temptations

Since OMAD only requires a person to eat one meal a day, a person is also likely to fight off the temptation of eating unhealthy food only once in a day. 

Induce Natural Body Adaptations

Does the OMAD diet work? Applying the theories of intermittent fasting, OMAD takes advantage of the body’s natural adaptations such as autophagy and glycolysis. 

Autophagy. Autophagy is a biological process, also known as a cellular “waste removal” process that allows the cells to break down and metabolize dysfunctional proteins. 

Glycolysis. When there is a period of fasting, the body tries to use up the fat that’s already stored in the body. This is one key feature of OMAD that causes weight loss.

does the OMAD diet work?

Effects of OMAD

Does the OMAD diet work? There are numerous benefits of the OMAD diet.

Weight Loss

OMAD most likely does reduce weight because of the reduced calorie intake. OMAD translates to eating less which can contribute to weight loss. In OMAD, a person has to eat the required calorie intake in one meal and only drink non-calorie drinks such as tea and water during the rest of the day. A person’s calorie intake depends on their body’s needs and lifestyle. 

Prevent or Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is when the body has grown a resistance to insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. When following the OMAD diet, food is not always available.

Insulin remains low most of the day since insulin is usually secreted when a person eats. When insulin is not released constantly, the body doesn’t build resistance against it. 

Reduce Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress involves unstable molecules (free radicals) reacting with important molecules and damaging them. Oxidation is what causes many chronic diseases and aging. When the body is eating less unhealthy food, less of free radicals enter the body. 

Improve Heart Health

Does the OMAD diet work when it comes to heart health? Since OMAD promotes eating less and eating healthy, risk factors concerning heart diseases are reduced. Studies have shown that OMAD can regulate blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. However, many of these studies are based on animals. Further study needs to be conducted to prove the effectiveness of OMAD against heart disease.

Brain Health

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can encourage the growth of nerve cells which results in better brain function. An increase in the brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) reduces a person’s risk of developing depression and other problems in the brain.

Who Should Be Careful in Doing OMAD?

Like any diet, there are certain exemptions to those who can benefit from eating only one meal a day. OMAD is an extreme form of intermittent fasting and also has certain risks. 

OMAD can put a person at risk of developing eating disorders. In OMAD, people tend to binge eat during a single daily meal. Binge eating creates a habit of eating too much and might not be beneficial in the long run especially if the person discontinues the OMAD diet. 

Doctors may recommend against an OMAD for people who:

  • Do strenuous activities
  • Are pregnant
  • Are taking medications
  • Have pre-existing medical conditions

Before doing any diet regimen, especially OMAD, make sure to consult a doctor or dietitian. You need to take many factors into account before starting a diet, including your lifestyle, medications, and any existing health conditions. 

Key Takeaway

OMAD is a type of intermittent fasting that involves consuming a person’s required calorie intake in a single meal. OMAD can reduce weight, risk of heart disease, and risk of insulin resistance.

Does the OMAD diet work? Although OMAD has its health benefits, it is not free of risks and might not be beneficial for everyone. It is important to consult a dietitian or physician before starting on this kind of diet. 

Learn more about Special Diets here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Chris Icamen

Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Feb 10, 2022

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