OMAD: Should you eat one meal a day?

By Jason Fung, MD

What is OMAD?

The acronym OMAD is popping up all over the news, social media, and other dietary outlets. But what does it mean? OMAD is short for ‘one meal a day.’ This means you’re only eating once a day and fasting the rest of the time.

Many people choose to eat the same meal every day – maybe just dinner. They will eat their supper on Monday evening, then fast until suppertime on Tuesday.

The benefits of OMAD:

There’s no question why OMAD is such a popular intermittent fasting strategy these days – it’s easy and simplifies your life.

Let’s look at some of the pros of fasting every day from dinner-to-dinner:

  • You’re not in a rush to squeeze in a healthy breakfast before running out the door
  • Working through lunch can help you get ahead without distraction from colleagues
  • You can fast and never miss a dinner with friends and family
  • You only need to worry about doing food prep for one meal each day
  • A dramatic reduction in your weekly grocery bills!
  • Less time cooking, and more time living life

Is it a good fasting strategy?

This OMAD style of fasting is simple and easy to fit into your routine, but is it right for you? This is one of the most asked questions in The Fasting Method Community. But the answer isn’t as simple as the fasting strategy sounds.

OMAD is a good fasting strategy if you are:

  • Healthy and are fasting for longevity and disease prevention
  • Have reached your health goals and are looking to maintain your results
  • Trying to lose 10-15 pounds of weight
  • During a holiday weekend when you have multiple functions to attend over the span of a few days

You should avoid doing OMAD if you are:

  • Trying to lose more than 15 pounds of weight
  • Looking to improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome and high insulin levels, such as type 2 diabetes (DMII), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Still in the process of working on your health goals

Why it isn’t for everyone

Most people report a huge reduction in appetite within the first month of fasting. Suddenly skipping breakfast and lunch doesn’t seem so overwhelming, in fact it’s easy to do! You think you can do this all the time since you’re not too hungry – and wouldn’t fasting for 24 hours every day be a great strategy for reaching your goals? It’s more fasting than if you do a 36 or 42 hour fast, three times a week, right?  The answer to both those questions is no.

The key to fasting is it tricks your body. It’s unpredictable, and unpredictability is the magic! If you do the same thing every day, your body will adapt. That’s what happens with OMAD if you’re trying to lose weight and eating from dinner-to-dinner or lunch-to-lunch every day. Your body adapts. It won’t put so much effort into burning body fat because it knows you’ll be eating again at the dinner or lunch hour. It knows how much food to expect and will slow things down to adjust to the new caloric intake.

The 30/16 fast is how to do OMAD the right way

If eating once a day is how you feel most comfortable fasting, then try alternating which meal you consume every day. We have found great success when people alternate between 30 hours of fasting and 16.

In the example below you would eat lunch on Monday and fast until dinner on Tuesday. From dinner on Tuesday you would fast until lunch on Wednesday, then repeat for the rest of the week. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays you’d eat lunch. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays you’d eat dinner. And you could choose to make Sunday an eating day or do a 16 or 24 hour fast!

This fasting protocol can help you:

  • Strengthen your fasting muscle so you can do longer fasts later down the road
  • Help break through plateaus if you’ve been doing a lot of 16-24 hour fasts
  • Increase the speed of weight loss if you like eating once a day

Have you tried this fasting protocol yet? If so, let us know in the comments!

Megan Ramos, The Fasting Method Co-Founder



By The Fasting Method

For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.

Jason Fung, MD

By Jason Fung, MD

Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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