If you could hack your way to better health and weight loss, would you do it? With so many diet techniques out there, it can be quite confusing what to go for. But you’ve probably already heard of intermittent fasting.
OMAD is an intermittent fasting method that’s more advanced and challenging, especially when combined with a very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet.
What can you gain by following this fasting protocol? How can it be better than others? Should you try it? And if you’re interested — how do you get started?
Read until the end to get the answers you seek.
What is OMAD?
OMAD is short for one meal a day. Yes, this time-restricted eating approach involves fasting for 23 hours and eating all your nutrients and calories on the 24th hour.
Some people who have tried OMAD find it a convenient way to reduce their total calorie intake because they only have to do meal prep once. It saves them a lot of time, allowing them to focus on other activities.
Conversely, others consider it too difficult to do. And oftentimes, these individuals may have been used to snacking in between meals, have blood sugar issues, never tried fasting before, or are metabolically inflexible.
As for OMAD calories, that will depend on your needs for weight maintenance. Other factors that influence your required daily calorie intake include age and physical activity. I would recommend using a calorie calculator to know exactly how many you need. On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight, that would be 500-1,000 fewer calories from your regular calorie intake.
What about your OMAD macros? That depends on the type of diet you’re following. If it’s a low-carbohydrate keto diet, then your calories will mostly come from fat.
In a nutshell, the OMAD protocol doesn’t have particular rules on calories and macros. But for it to work, it’s important to know your individual numbers.
5 OMAD Benefits
As a type of intermittent fasting, OMAD can put you in better health in the following ways:
1. Promotes weight loss
Going without food for hours forces your body to burn its stored fat for fuel. In most instances, it’s burning carbohydrates — but this time, it’s going to be fat. In this fat-burning state, the liver produces ketones which suppress appetite and lower your desire to eat (1).
2. Regulates blood sugar
Fasting increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin and causes insulin levels to drop. As a result, your blood sugar improves. In fact, fasting is being used to help maintain normal blood sugar levels in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes — but with medical supervision. If you’re at risk for this condition because of your family history, OMAD may be worth considering.
3. Improves metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome describes risk factors that lead to heart disease. These risk factors are high blood sugar, low levels of HDL (good cholesterol), large waist circumference, and high blood pressure (2). Losing weight through this fasting method can lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome (3).
4. Lowers inflammation
Another important benefit of fasting is its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. One study even found that fasting for more than 24 hours lowers your oxidative stress to protect your cells from getting damaged. By doing OMAD fasting, you’re allowing your cells to repair and regenerate.
5. Simplifies meal planning and prep
Who doesn’t like to simplify their day to make time for other things in life? By doing the OMAD fasting plan, you only cook a satisfying meal once. You can even prepare a large meal on the weekend if you’re thinking of doing OMAD a few days a week.
However, it’s important to remember that OMAD isn’t an excuse to eat anything you want — because it’s easy to binge on unhealthy food when you’re so hungry. That said, your food quality matters a lot.
What is OMAD keto?
Now, let’s talk about combining OMAD and keto.
The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet that offers many health benefits including weight loss, increased energy, mental clarity, and more.
By following this diet, your body enters a metabolic state of ketosis in which it produces ketones. Ketosis happens when your body is burning fat instead of glucose from carbs. So, as you can tell, the keto diet and OMAD fasting complement one another.
Imagine the positive effects being greater with these two strategies combined. A person can experience greater progress with fat loss, blood sugar control, and a much lower risk of acquiring a health condition.
And guess what? If you’ve been doing the ketogenic diet for a while now, that means your body is already used to burning fat and using ketones for all-day energy. Plus, you can feel satiated and your energy remains stable from morning until evening — unlike those who are used to eating carbs all the time and struggle with hunger pangs.
Doing keto helps you fast successfully.
Did you know? The warrior diet keto plan is a modified form of OMAD keto. Instead of limiting your feeding time to 1 hour, you can do 4 hours. So, that makes it 20 hours of no food and 4 hours of eating.
OMAD Keto Meal Plan
What low-carb and nutrient-dense foods can you eat to break an OMAD fast? Here are sample OMAD keto meals that are good sources of fat and protein.
- Monday: Butter baked pork chops with broccoli or green beans on the side
- Tuesday: Scrambled eggs with bacon and avocados
- Wednesday: Oxtails in beef broth with butter, fish sauce, and low-carb spices
- Thursday: Bacon-wrapped chicken bites with zucchini chips on the side
- Friday: Ground beef patties with bacon, cheese, and avocado slices
- Saturday: Baked tilapia fillets with butter, lemon juice, and garlic
- Sunday: Zuppa toscana made with Italian sausage, bacon, heavy cream, spinach, and chicken stock
Keep in mind that meal prepping will save you from making last-minute unhealthy choices. Eat slowly and mindfully when you break the fast.
Also, you might want to consider which foods are tough on your stomach. If there are foods that are likely to cause bloat and stomach pain (based on your past experiences), avoid those.
Don’t break a fast while dehydrated. Stay hydrated throughout the day with water.
These tips should help you come out of an OMAD fast smoothly without issues.
OMAD Keto Concerns
While OMAD keto results in improved health, it isn’t for everyone. Certain individuals should not try OMAD:
- Are likely to experience hypoglycemia (People who are on blood glucose medications and their health care provider cannot supervise their fast).
- People who are highly active such as athletes. They need more food for more energy and micronutrients to support their performance.
- At risk for, susceptible to, or have a history of an eating disorder. You should consult your doctor first.
- Have been in a calorie deficit for a long time. Restricting calories long-term slows your metabolism and affects your hormones.
Also, if you feel so unwell during an OMAD keto fast, this approach may not be the right one for you.
OMAD Keto “Best Uses”
As an advanced time-restricted eating pattern, OMAD can be helpful for breaking through weight loss stalls while on the keto diet.
Besides weight loss, you can leverage it to take your intermittent fast to the next level. For instance, you might already be used to the 16:8 fasting method and you want to give OMAD a try.
Prolonged fasting can also be used as a tool to develop more self-control, especially when you’re trying to fight unhealthy food cravings.
Got a busy day? Take advantage of OMAD to get more tasks done without worrying about food.
But again, practice caution and consult a health care provider when necessary.
The one meal a day keto approach has a lot of benefits, as some studies suggest. OMAD keto results in enhanced weight loss, blood sugar control, metabolic health, and decreased inflammation.
Fasting itself can already be sufficient for attaining these, but by doing a very low-carb keto diet, fasting becomes easier and intuitive. If you want to explore more about keto, you can read our post on the top keto FAQs.
- Stubbs B, Cox P, Evans R. A Ketone Ester Drink Lowers Human Ghrelin and Appetite. 2017 November 06
- American Heart Association. What is Metabolic Syndrome? 2021 March 25
- Rothschild J, Hoddy K, Jambazian P et al. Time-restricted feeding and risk of metabolic disease: a review of human and animal studies. 2014 May 01