Does OMAD Work For Everyone? (Explained)


Doing OMAD is a great way to drive calorie deficit and lose weight, without counting calories. Does it mean OMAD is for everyone?

In general, OMAD is not good for everyone, especially not for children, teenagers, and elderly people. Also, people who need to take medications together with their meals, pregnant women, and people who are doing labor-intense work should avoid eating just one meal a day.

But this doesn’t mean they cannot do any form of intermittent fasting. In this guide I will walk your through instances when OMAD is not good idea, and what can be done instead.

OMAD for Seniors

In general, seniors and the elderly should avoid doing OMAD because eating one meal a day creates an excessive calorie deficit. However, other forms of intermittent fasting, like time-restricted feeding are acceptable and practical for older adults to follow.

The difference between one meal a day and time-restricted feeding is that OMAD allows only for one meal within 1-hour eating window. Time restrictive feeding has a pre-determined eating window that lasts for 8 to 12 hours.

Is intermittent fasting safe for seniors? Intermittent fasting is safe for seniors, as long as they follow fasting protocol that doesn’t restrict excessive calorie intake. 75–90% of total energy requirements is enough to provide health benefits, without any adverse reactions.

Take a look at the study done by Dr. Stephen D. Anton from the University of Florida who examined 10 overweight and sedentary adults (ages 65 and older) and the effects of time-restricted feeding. All participants reduced body weight and waist circumference (Anton, Stephen D et al. 2019).

Another study showed similar results, but this time with improved cognitive health in 99 elderly people for 36 months. The results showed that older adults who practiced intermittent fasting regularly had better cognitive scores (Ooi, Theng Choon et al. 2020).

OMAD and Pregnancy

In general, it is not safe to do OMAD while pregnant because excessive calorie restriction is associated with an increased risk of GDM (gestational diabetes) and induction of labor. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting during pregnancy significantly alters the placental weight and length of the baby.

A large portion of available studies that investigate the effects of long-term intermittent fasting during pregnancy comes from the Islamic communities around the month of Ramadan.

Normally, women are excerpted from fasting, however, research shows that 90% still partake for at least some part of the month (Prentice, A M et al. 1983).

Can I do OMAD while pregnant? You should not do OMAD while pregnant because calorie restriction diets have adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes due to metabolic changes. Studies have shown several metabolic consequences including altered glucose, free fatty acids, and triglycerides levels.

Can fasting affect pregnancy? In general, fasting can affect pregnancy because calorie restriction or inefficient nutrition intake during pregnancy affects fetal development and has life-long health impacts on the baby. During the pregnancy, the number of nutrients and vitamins needs to be higher, not lower.

What happens if you only eat one meal a day while pregnant? In general, if you only eat one meal a day while pregnant you create nutrient deficiency that negatively affects the baby’s development. Studies have shown that pregnant women who fast are more likely to give birth to premature or underweight babies.

OMAD with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Generally, people with chronic stress and anxiety should avoid doing excessive calorie restriction, including OMAD. Eating one meal a day creates extra discomfort and even stress. Therefore, doing OMAD can trigger overeating or drinking high-calorie beverages to reduce that stress.

People forget that we use food for a number of reasons apart from satisfying hunger signals. We usually use food to solve some other problems. Whenever it’s stress, anxiety, loneliness, excitement, entertainment, etc (Sevenhuysen, Gustaaf P 2013).

OMAD Diet when Breastfeeding

Generally, you should not do OMAD while breastfeeding because calorie intake is closely linked with child nutritional outcomes and child development. Intermittent fasting affects the calorie and nutrient composition in the milk, which impacts baby health.

In some parts of the world, fasting is a part of the culture and women have to participate as soon as 10 days after they give birth (Bazzano, Alessandra N et al. 2018).

Will intermittent fasting affect breastfeeding? Intermittent fasting will affect breastfeeding because calorie restriction alters the concentration of glucose, fatty acids, cholesterol, and other important nutrients. Those nutrients are essential during breastfeeding and can impact the nutrient makeup of the milk.

OMAD for Teenagers

Most published studies on intermittent fasting for children are from Islamic communities where kids are required to participate in Ramadan. In fact, there are only a handful of studies that document effects of intermittent fasting on children performance, but not on health.

However, some data shows that time-limited eating (TLE), as an alternative dietary intervention, was an effective way to reduce BMI in teenage patients. TLE involves cycling normal daily calorie intake with periods of prolonged calorie restriction several times per week (Vidmar, Alaina P et al. 2019).

Is OMAD bad for a teenager? In general, OMAD isn’t bad for teenagers, as long as they don’t do it every day. Clinical studies on obese children have shown that alternating days of calorie restriction with normal eating was practical, flexible, and sustainable to implement in a real-life.

OMAD with Type 1 Diabetes

In general, OMAD is not good for people with type 1 diabetes because it can cause complications including hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. However, other intermittent fasting protocols are suitable, as long as daily advanced glucose monitoring is in place.

A study done on the Islamic population with type 1 diabetes, who volunteered to take part in Ramadan showed that modification of intermittent fasting, together with proper education and constant glucose monitoring was safe (Al-Ozairi, Ebaa et al. 2019).

Take Away

Doing OMAD is a great way to reduce extra body weight, however, this advanced protocol of intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, there are several other alternatives to doing intermittent fasting, and all of them show efficacy.

Go Further with OMAD

This article is part of the Doing OMAD But Not Losing Weight

In the following pages, I show you all the related aspects necessary to troubleshoot all the reasons why OMAD may not work and what you can do about it.

Next: Click here to learn more about why is omad not working for me

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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