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Sep 2

Is The One Meal A Day Diet Safe? Heres What You Need to Know – Goalcast

Its a major trend thats known by a lot of names.Time-restricted eating. Intermittent fasting. Eating windows. The Warrior Diet. The list goes on.

In case you havent heard of it, heres another term to add to your vocabulary: OMAD, or the one meal a day diet.

As the name implies, the OMAD diet consists of restricting your meals to once a day with no snacking in between. Its essentially a more extreme version of intermittent fasting, or IF, which involves restricted feeding times along with longer periods of fasting.

Is this style of eating restriction a good idea? Read on to learn the pros and cons of the OMAD diet.

As mentioned, the OMAD diet is an extreme form of intermittent fasting.For instance, one of the most common ratios for IF involves 16 hours of restriction with 8 hours of feeding time, also known as the 16:8 diet.

The OMAD diet lengthens the restriction time to essentially 23 hours, shrinking the feeding period to about an hour for a 23:1 ratio. Part of the gimmick of the OMAD diet is that you can theoretically eat whatever you want for that one hour window and still maintain or even lose weight. The diet has some high profile followers, including athletes like pro wrestler Ronda Rousey and former pro football player Herschel Walker.

Of course, these top-level athletes arent using their single meal to binge on candy and junk food. For instance, Walkers diet mostly consists of vegetables and bread, which affords him a lot of energy in the form of carbohydrates.

What does the research say about the OMAD diet? Honestly, not a lot. However, there has been plenty of research on intermittent fasting in general.

For instance, a 2021 study found that meal reduction to a single meal per day lowered total body mass and glucose levels, and didnt negatively impact physical performance during exercise.

A 2016 study of mice found that extended fasting with water was linked to a lower rate of diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Additionally, a small 2017 study of 10 people with type 2 diabetes illustrated that an 18 to 20 hour window of fasting each day led to better-controlled blood glucose levels. The reason for this may lie in the process of autophagy, which literally means self-eating in Latin. Autophagy is the process by which unused components within the cells are reused for cellular repair.

In other words, its kind of like your body recycling itself. Its a natural waste removal mechanism that breaks down and digests damaged, abnormal, or unused cells.As far as IF is concerned, as soon as you start consuming calories, the body stops digesting itself and instead focuses on digesting what youre putting in it, stopping the autophagy process.

However, there is a certain level of autophagy that happens naturally without deliberate IF practices. For instance, autophagy can be stimulated by: exercise sleep dietary restriction, including the ketogenic diet genetics

According to a 2021 review, autophagy is a crucial determinant of cellular health and organismal longevity, and impairment or imbalance in autophagy promotes pathological aging and disease.

On the other hand, not all the research on intermittent fasting and OMAD-like diets is favorable. For instance, a 2007 controlled trial showed that eating once a day was linked to an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol in middle-aged adults who were considered healthy and of normal weight.

However, the study also showed that body weight and body fat decreased in the subjects, likely due to changes in metabolic activity.

Other downsides of fasting may include: fatigue dizziness binge-eating difficulty focusing constipation headaches diarrhea nausea bloating malnutrition

When restricting your eating, its possible to get hangry (hungry-angry) as well as experiencing fatigue and even dizziness.Its also possible to engage in binge-eating if youre missing food for the remaining 23 hours of the day.

On top of that, fasting diets like OMAD can result in digestive issues, including bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea, especially if you arent getting a wide variety of foods and plenty of fiber.

When youre not eating for most of the day, you may also forget to drink. This is especially dangerous, as the human body can go an average of one to two months without food, but only three days without water. For children, those timelines are even shorter.

In rare cases, food restriction can result in malnutrition. If you adhere to a fasting diet like OMAD for an extended period of time and your diet doesnt contain enough micronutrients, its possible that you wont get enough nutrition.

This can be prevented by eating lots of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, and health proteins and fats. However, you should never embark on an extended fast without approval and supervision from a doctor.

Experts agree that there are several categories of people who shouldnt participate in extended fasts like the OMAD diet.

These include people who are: pregnant breastfeeding kids and teens older adults who have compromised health, strength, or energy immunocompromised experiencing an eating disorder diabetic experiencing dementia have a history of traumatic brain injury

This list isnt exhaustive, and its always essential to talk to a doctor or healthcare professional about the kind of diet thats uniquely suited for your needsespecially when it comes to fasting.

The general consensus in the scientific community is that intermittent fasting and its cousins can offer health benefits.However, its always a good choice to consider your unique situation and needs before you start a diet like OMAD.Certain groups of people are better off avoiding fasting diets like OMAD, and speaking to a healthcare professional about whats right for you is a great first step.

In the meantime, you can start out with a less extreme form of intermittent fasting, like a 16:8 eating window, if you dont have any medical conditions that might be worsened by IF.

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Is The One Meal A Day Diet Safe? Heres What You Need to Know - Goalcast

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