OMAD or GO MAD?!? This article talks about should you do the one meal a day diet. It is a must read before you try OMAD.
Resurgence of Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been popular for quite a while now. I myself have been doing it for 5-6 years and I’ve never even considered going back to a regular way of eating because IF is just so powerful and simple.
The latest trend in IF is the one meal a day or OMAD diet, where you basically fast from dinner to dinner. For those of you who’ve been doing this for a while, then it’s very similar to Ori Hofmekler’s book The Warrior Diet.
A lot of people are becoming more interested in OMAD and with good reasons. I’ve been doing it for almost 2 years and it’s become a staple in my nutritional toolkit.
Who Should Do OMAD
But who is OMAD for? Is it even any good for you? Should you be eating only once a day and if so how do you do it?
I have to say right away that you don’t need to be eating only once a day to be healthy, to lose weight or even gain the cognitive enhancing effects of fasting.
It’s like, ever since OMAD appeared to the scene, some people think that it’s the only way you should eat – ever. “OMAD or DIE! – If you eat any more frequently than that, then you’re wasting your time.” That’s not true.
And here’s where I have to take some responsibility as well.
I’m not going to lie – once you get used to OMAD or the ketogenic diet even, you’re going to feel marvelous.
- It’s just really amazing – your mind is sharp, you have energy all day, no hunger and it’s a very easy way of eating.
- You don’t even have to waste time on meal prep, cooking or even digesting the food.
But at the same time, you shouldn’t make the false presumption that these benefits can’t be gained with other types of intermittent fasting as well.
My OMAD Journey
Before I went MAD on OMAD (puns…), before that, I ate two meals a day. I followed the Leangains approach of 16 hours fasted with an
I followed the Leangains approach of 16 hours fasted with an 8-hour eating window – a small meal around noon and the second one in the evening after my workout.
It was great – I still felt focused and energized in the morning, but I would be more susceptible and vulnerable to random energy slumps during the day. Other than that there’s no difference from OMAD.
So, why do I still eat only once a day?
When doing any form of intermittent fasting, you have to remember that it’s just a tool. It’s a tool that’s supposed to give you the results you’re looking for. And people do IF for various reasons.
1. Of course, it’s an easy way to lose fat.
Not because it has a significant metabolic advantage, but because it makes eating fewer calories easy. If you only have a small time restricted window to eat your food, then you’ll consume fewer calories by default. But it doesn’t mean you can’t overeat – of course you can. You can even get fat on OMAD if you go really mad.
2. The second biggest reason is that IF saves a lot of time.
It was even just a few years ago when everyone, including doctors and bodybuilders alike, were saying you need to eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism running and prevent yourself from getting fat.
Now it’s been shown that meal timing is irrelevant in most cases and you’d be actually better off with eating less often. Not only does it benefit your health more but will also save you a ton of time and energy.
And there’s the thing that, the meals will be larger in volume if you do IF. I don’t know about you but I prefer to have either these bigger meals or not eat at all. If I’m not going to get a nice filling dish that would satiate me for hours to come, then I’d prefer to not eat at all and drive my body into deeper ketosis.
3. And the third biggest reason why people do intermittent fasting is that it’s very healthy.
It’s actually one of the few ways scientists know to increase your longevity.
Caloric restriction and time restricted feeding lengthens the life span in mice, monkeys and other organisms, which probably applies to humans as well.
These life-enhancing factors of fasting happen because of increased growth hormone, reduced inflammation throughout the body – especially in the gut – reduced oxidative stress and protection against neurodegeneration.
The Biggest Reason I Eat Once a Day
The most profound effect has to do with autophagy, which is a metabolic process that causes self-digestion, recycling of antibodies and cellular maintenance. Basically, you’re cleaning out your body and taking out the trash.
However, it takes a lot longer than 16 hours for autophagy to even begin its work. It starts ramping up significantly only after 48 hours. That’s where you start to dig really deep into the cells. Before that, you gain only just a minute proportion of the health boosting benefits.
You’d have to fast for 18-20 hours at minimum to even cause such a response. And that’s also the biggest reason I choose OMAD over two meals a day.
There are other ways you can trigger autophagy.
- You can have a therapeutic fast for 3-5 days at least 2-3 times per year.
- Exercise also shows some signs of autophagy.
- Stimulating the lymph system with heat saunas, cold exposure or intense sweating will also promote flushing out toxins and other waste material.
- Eating the ketogenic diet mimics the physiology of fasting to a large degree. You won’t trigger autophagy, but if you eat the right foods you’ll reduce inflammation.
Should You Do the One Meal a Day Diet
So, as you can see, OMAD is great for a lot of purposes. But is it for you?
Like I said, Intermittent Fasting is a tool for fat loss, longevity, convenience, and productivity. You shouldn’t get married to any particular practice and you want to base your decisions around what’s best for you.
With that being said, I think it’s clear that doing intermittent fasting in some shape or form should be a part of a healthy eating plan.
Here are a few ways to gain the benefits of longevity and autophagy.
- No intermittent fasting at all with breakfast-lunch-dinner combined with a 24-hour fast every week
- 16/8 fasting window every day with 20-24 hour fasts 1-2 times per month
- 20-hour fast ala Warrior Diet style every day with a 24 hour fast once a month
- OMAD with 20-22 hour daily fasting and a 24 hour fast once a month
Try OMAD with the Ketogenic Diet
Eating once a day doesn’t mean you can’t be equally as healthy with other types of intermittent fasting, nor does it mean that you can’t get sick or obese on OMAD.
Whatever option you choose, I think it’s still necessary to fast for 3-5 days 2-3 times per year. This will seriously ramp up autophagy and cleans your entire body from all the toxins and other crap we get exposed to in our environment. Not just from food, but the air, water, and metals.
That’s why you should still focus on having a good diet that’s anti-inflammatory, supports your goals and increases your health.
For me, it’s the ketogenic diet because of its neuroprotective and mitochondrial properties. It gives me energy for the entire day, keeps my mind sharp, allows me to stay lean year-round and improve my physical performance as well.
If you’re interested in combining intermittent fasting with the ketogenic diet, then check out my program KETO // IF. It’s a blueprint for becoming keto-adapted and incorporating the powerful benefits of fasting.