Is OMAD Better Than Keto?


photo of bowl of salad

Some of the most popular methods to reduce excess weight is intermittent fasting and keto. And I’m talking specifically about one meal a day. So in this article, I will try to find out is OMAD better than keto.

OMAD is better than keto. Unlike keto, one meal a day doesn’t require any restrictions from the specific food groups (carbohydrates). This allows for greater sustainability and compliance in the long term.

In other words, you can eat what you want, but in a lesser amount. You don’t need to deprive yourself of the foods you like. You can still enjoy your dessert, favorite pasta dish, or ice cream, knowing that this won’t affect your results.

Which Is More Effective Keto Or Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is more effective than keto in the long term. It has fewer dogmatic rules than keto and is more durable. Apart from caloric restriction, intermittent fasting improves the skill of hunger tolerance and helps to get more comfortable with eating less food.

Therefore, it leads to better results. After years of trying different diets, I came to the point that any diet works as long as you can sustain that for the long-term. So it’s not really what works better. It’s more about what you can endure in the long-haul.

Listen.

Of course, if you love dong keto and you see jaw-dropping results already, kudos to you. It simply means you are just fine without eating carbs for a very long time.

picture of graph of deprivation time and stress

But remember that there are people out there that really feel uncomfortable without eating carbohydrates for a longer period of time. The longer they deprive themselves of carbs, the worse they feel.

That’s just one of the reasons why people “fall of the wagon”.

OMAD vs keto

If you really wanna compare OMAD with keto, first you have to understand that there are a lot of competing opinions out there. And even genuine advice may get a lot of blowbacks.

Because people are not living in the closet. And they already consume tons of diet information. And a lot of this information is conflicting with each other.

So instead of spending hours looking for the pros and cons of what is the best way of eating and who is right, I choose to be helpful. Being right and winning the debate doesn’t actually help anybody move forward in making a better decision.

For instance, if you follow a diet that has some arbitrary rules (eat this, don’t eat that), it’s kind of like one size fits all approach. You get the diet, without even question of what you currently eating and why.

picture of a quote

That is the polar opposite of what you can find on this blog. Because I don’t even talk about what to eat most of the times.

I talk about how to eat, how to spot your blind spots, how to differentiate physical hunger from psychological hunger, how to stop regulating your emotions with food, etc.

Why OMAD Is Better Than Keto?

OMAD is better than keto because it teaches hunger tolerance. Successful results are done by a caloric deficit over a long time. Therefore, getting used to temporary hunger is the most valuable lesson from doing OMAD.

In other words, if you wanna maintain a lean and strong body for life, you have to be able to get comfortable with hunger.

However, everybody is different, and some people do not feel like they are ready for reducing their meals to just one per day.

On the other hand, depriving yourself of foods that you may like or crave is not sustainable (source).

On keto, people are looking for what is the best option for results. And in favor of fat loss, they are willing to change their whole lifestyle routine.

But you have to understand that people eat the way they eat now for a reason. So if there is only one little piece that needs to be changed, why would you turn your entire food routine upside down?

I call this low-hanging fruit approach.

find what is working

Find what is working. Then see if that still works. If not, then find out what is not working and why. Until you find what is working. And once you find what is working, keep doing it.

Tweak. Don’t overhaul.

Don’t think you have to change your whole life upside down to lose few pounds. Maybe all you need to do is just eating slightly less food?

So why to deprive yourself, follow arbitrary rules and stick to hardcore programs?

That’s why OMAD helps with this most basic skill. Eating less and be ok with that. Change what is not working. One thing at the time.

So when I give advice, I look at it through the lenses of skills that you can learn from doing a specific eating approach. That’s why one meal a day comparing to keto is in my opinion superior because it teaches you some really valuable lessons.

On the other side, keto is teaching you some good ways to wisely choose your foods and to stay away from highly processed foods. Which is great. But it doesn’t teach you how does hunger feel.

Does OMAD Put You In Ketosis?

Doing OMAD will put you into ketosis. Eating one meal a day triggers a metabolic switch. 12 hours after your last meal your body starts to break down fatty acids, and the liver produces ketone bodies that are used for energy.

In other words, you don’t need to be on the keto diet to be in ketosis. Intermittent fasting is enough. You can still appreciate your favorite foods and enjoy the benefits of ketosis.

picture of ketosis
Source

Is Keto Diet Sustainable Long Term?

According to experts, the keto diet is not sustainable in the long term. The initial results are within the first 6-12 months. After that time, food restrictions required to sustain ketosis may actually lead to its low sustainability.

In other words, whatever your reason for going on the diet, please be aware that there is a big difference between achieving the results and maintain them (source).

If you’re on the fence between keto and OMAD, you must remind yourself about what is your ultimate goal? Is it to lose a few pounds, and be able to fit into the skinny size jeans? Or is it to be able to move more and be healthy again?

Consider this.

Anyone can kick ass in the short term. And to see fantastic effects all you need is a caloric deficit. So it is relatively easy to push yourself for 6-12 weeks on any diet.

But how about the long-term? I’ve seen people getting spectacular, jaw-dropping results after doing hyper-strict diet plans in just a matter of weeks.

the graph of keto over time

Everyone can force themselves to eat broccoli and avocado for few weeks and lose weight. But what will you be doing a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now?

Don’t forget this is a long-term project. Not a weekend event.

You want to have skills that you can use to bounce back and recover from any setbacks. And there will be setbacks along the way. And trust me, everyone has bad days.

The trick is to know how to get back on the horse. You need to develop a routine that will compete with your daily demands (work, school, family, etc.)

Usually, impatient people want results to happen as soon as possible. They look for this trick that will allow them to get there faster.

What is the best macro ratio?
What is the amount of saturated fat?
What level my blood ketones should be?

But after a while, it all comes back to square one. Getting results is easy. Maintain results is hard. And slow and steady wins the race.

To maintain results means you need to endure over the long haul. And it’s hard to stick to the plan for months or even years. Unless you have the skills to do it.

OMAD teaches you those skills. Keto teaches you nothing.

Can OMAD Help With Maintaining Results?

OMAD can help with maintaining the results because it builds the skills necessary to maintain the results, not just to achieve them. This means, regardless of what food you choose to eat, you will be able to stay lean.

According to research, if your goal is to improve your body composition (lose weight) it doesn’t matter what type of food you eat, as long as you stay in a caloric deficit (source).

exerpt from pubmed
Source

This means eating less. So why would you deprive yourself of staple foods you normally eat? Enjoying your food is the easiest way to maintain the results, not just to achieve them.

Being able to sustain a caloric deficit for months it’s a skill. And just like any other skill, it has to be practised.

So to be able to sustain caloric deficit you need to get more comfortable with hunger. Hunger tolerance is almost always what makes or breaks the results in the long term.

OMAD is a great tool to help you get comfortable with hunger. When you have just one meal a day it will force you to tune in to your hunger signals, your appetite, and your body cues. It helps you to realize that hunger is not an emergency.

You start to listen and understand how does does the hunger really feels. How your body respond to food (or the lack of it).

OMAD helps you to tune in to your internal cues. You are able to distinguish between hunger and appetite much better.

You see, we live in times when people are extremely busy and stressed out. Therefore we are hung up on the external cues from our environment about what we should eat, how much and how often.

According to research, many over-weight people rely purely on their external cues to determine when to start and stop eating. Some researchers call this a “French Paradox”.

The name comes from a world-famous study done by Brian Wansink Ph.D. from the University of Illinois where he compared American and French women and their eating habits.

Parisians reported that they usually stop eating when they don’t feel hungry anymore. The Chicagoans reported that they usually stop eating when they run out of beverages, when their plate was empty, or when the TV show that they’ve been watching was over (source).

Listening to your body cues is a skill. Hunger tolerance is a skill, too. OMAD is a great way to quickly tune in and listening to body cues. Keto doesn’t teach that.

On Keto, you are just advised what to eat and whatnot. There is no skill. Only the rules. It doesn’t teach you anything you can use. It’s just the rules, restrictions, and calculations. People who lost weight on OMAD usually report one thing in common.

I did OMAD for a while, now I just eat less food.

This means they learned how to eat less, without depriving themselves of the foods they like.

They eat what they want. They just eat less of it.

How To Fight Hunger During OMAD

To fight hunger during OMAD you need to be able to tell the difference between physical hunger and psychological hunger. Once you start eating only one meal a day, you will experience how real hunger feels like.

Many people are afraid of feeling hungry. They start to panic even from the slightest tummy rumble.

That is why people jump from one diet to another. They believe this next diet will crack the code and they will be able to get lean without feeling hungry.

So they look for it, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But the reality is harsh and brutal. If you want to get lean. If you want to be slim and fit. If you have to lose 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat, you must get comfortable with being hungry.

hunger vs apettite
On one of my Udemy courses, Secrets To a Flatter Stomach, I explain in-depth about hunger and appetite.

Which is so hard for many people. That’s why they choose to take diet pill, shakes and meal replacements. They are afraid of this hunger pangs.

Listen.

Hunger is not an emergency. And many people act as hunger means end of the world. Trust me, you will be fine. And you will get lean. OMAD will help you distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger.

There is a big difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger (appetite).

Physical Hunger Tells You It’s Time To Eat

It builds up gradually, usually hours after your last meal. And once you eat something, it goes away. If you just feel like you have nothing to do, so you choose to eat, it’s not hunger. Or if you feel disappointed (or any negative emotion), and you feel like eating something, that’s not hunger either.

Psychological Hunger Is Wanting To Eat

And this can be driven by mood swings, emotions, the smell of food, food appearance, images of food, ease of accessibility, etc. It comes suddenly. If you just had your meal, and now you feel like eating something more, this is not a hunger. This is psychological hunger.

How Long Should You Do OMAD?

It takes some time to tune in to your body signals. It’s not an overnight thing. Just like any other skill. But once you learn that skill, it will be natural for you to eat less. This means you don’t have to be on OMAD forever. It’s like therapy.

You do it for a while. You can do it for a week. For a month. Even for a year. You can always come back to it. You learn things about yourself and you move on.

And even if you decide you don’t want to do OMAD anymore, you will still be eating less food. So you can maintain the results regardless if you’re on OMAD or not.

With keto, you may get some results, only when you are on keto. But once you stop doing keto, what will happen? You will probably come back to your previous eating habits.

That’s how diets work. As long as you’re on the diet, it works. But once you get off the diet, it doesn’t work anymore.

So keep that in mind.

Conclusion

It can take anywhere from few days to even a couple of weeks. It will strongly depend on what type of person are you and how you respond to a lack of food.

You can start seeing some results just after first week. To stay on track I always advice to do food journal. This will help you stay consistent and allow to capture any thought, emotions and feeling that you have when you not eating.

Go Further with OMAD

This article is part of the One Meal A Day Diet, which I recommend you read.

In the following pages, I show you everything there is to know about OMAD, benefits, tips, and how to do it properly.

Next: Click here to learn more about why am I not hungry on omad

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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