I have been practising the One Meal A Day (OMAD) Diet for more than three years. I am healthy, I have never become ill or had flu in these 2 or 3 years except for the side effects of the COVID vaccination (I don’t remember the last time I got sick.)
However, many people might feel it is an extreme diet, and some people might have heard about it and be curious about it, but just because not many people are practising this method, they are afraid to try it on their own.
Here I will show you the pros and cons of the OMAD diet.
① Autophagy makes you healthier.
The greatest reason I practice the OMAD diet is because of this cell function. Autophagy is a function of a cell destructing of damaged or redundant cellular components occurring in vacuoles within the cell. Simply, it is a process of breaking down your old cells and building new ones with the old parts. So, a lot of research shows that autophagy has positive effects on your health.
② You can lose weight.
We are living in the age of abundant food, and it is too much for our bodies. When we need to think about evolution, we need to consider 100,000 years or more of time scale. However, cultivation started only a few thousand years ago, and there is a big gap between our body functions and our environment, and our bodies have not caught up with the changing environment. This is the biggest reason why obesity prevails in humans, a species that has not evolved in the direction of gaining fat. *1 And if you eat once a day, the amount of food gets smaller, so you can simply lose weight.
③ Having much more time.
If you do not eat two or three times a day, simply the time you are eating meals can be reduced. You can do other things you want to with the time left. If you take 30 mins a meal and if you do not eat breakfast and lunch, you will have another 60 mins that you can use freely, which is 30±2 hours a month, you can have a whole day or more for your other activities.
④ You do not get an appetite.
Since I started the OMAD diet, I do not get an appetite during the day. I get it around 7 or 8 pm, when it is time for me to eat my one meal. Because I do not eat food during the whole morning and afternoon, I do feel hunger, but hunger does not equal an appetite; the two are different things. Appetite is desire for food, and hunger is a state your body is lacking food. It is irritating and stressful to get an appetite, and it forces us to eat and eat more, but hunger does not make me feel sick. What is more, hunger makes me more efficient and able to concentrate on the things that I am doing while feeling hungry.
⑤ Making your mind sharper.
When I was a student I noticed I could concentrate more on studying before eating breakfast, so I used to wake up at 5 am to study before breakfast. I researched why this was the case, and the most reasonable explanation is; when Homo Sapiens were all hunter-gathers, the time we felt hunger was the time we needed to concentrate the most. You cannot be distracted while chasing prey or finding edible mushrooms, or you will die.
Actually the 5th reason is why I started the OMAD diet in the first place. After I ate breakfast, my productivity was reduced. Craving to keep the sharp-minded state longer, I stopped eating breakfast when I started living by myself while at university. Then, I started working, and I wanted more time, so I researched the best possible diet, and I found the efficiency of the OMAD diet.
While researching, I also found the opposite opinions; recommendations to eat three or more times a day, “5 meals a day” was the most common answer. The multiple meal research was also convincing (or it would not be an academic paper or a book), so I actually tried it for a month. A picture is worth a thousand words, and trying it ourselves is even more convincing.
While doing the five times a day diet, I felt an appetite (and so I ate quickly) and I was distracted a lot simply because of appetite and feeling obliged to eat meals. I needed to think all the time about what to eat for the next meal, and finally, I gained weight. The amount of food was equal to the amount of 3 meals a day, each meal was a small amount, but somehow I got a little fat, and I was doing modelling at that time, so I needed to stop the diet. After that, I tried 3 meals a day, but I still did not lose the gained weight. Then, I started the one meal a day diet, and then, I got back to my original weight, and I felt more energetic than ever. Since then, I have been practising the OMAD diet.
This is the way that I started the OMAD diet, and it is great for me. However, all things have a good side and a bad side. If a person does not tell both, they are either lying and hiding something, or trying to sell you something. So, here are the bad points of the OMAD diet.
Demerits of the OMAD Diet
① You cannot enjoy all the meals with your friends and family.
There are many people practising the OMAD diet, but it is still in the minority. If your friend asks you to have lunch, either you refuse the proposal or eat lunch against your will. It was the biggest problem for me when I started the OMAD diet because the diet was still not my habit, and I felt my appetite stronger when I ate twice a day. Above all, spending time with the people we love eating delicious food is the most pleasurable time. Today eating is more of an entertainment, not a means to keep ourselves alive. However, once the OMAD diet became my habit, I could be more flexible. I sometimes eat twice a day for my pleasure and still feel good.
② Autophagy could proceed with your disease.
Since autophagy is a process of breaking down your old cells and building new ones with the old parts, if you have, let’s say, cancer, autophagy would reuse your cancer cells for new ones, and cancer could be spread. So, it is necessary that you do not have cell diseases if you practice the OMAD diet.
③ It is very challenging until it becomes a habit.
I have told you the story of how I started the OMAD diet, and as you read, it was not easy and simple. You could feel an intense appetite when you just started the OMAD diet. Not only an appetite, but also I felt exhaustion and fatigue. I doubted that it was a good diet, and I thought about quitting. I am assuming my symptoms were relatively mild because I had not eaten breakfast for a long time, and it was my habit from the beginning.
These are the cons of the OMAD diet. It certainly has a bad side, and some people do need to be extra careful. However, the diet has been working very well for me for years, and the merits are so much more valuable than the demerits. I will not stop this diet until I physically become not able to do it, and I am very happy about my current lifestyle.