Is It Healthy to Eat Once a Day?

Eating once a day is becoming quite popular among people who are packed with their everyday work schedules and want to lose some weight. The one meal a day is also referred to as the OMAD diet.

The OMAD diet limits the calories consumptions to a single meal or to a short window of time. The content and timing of the meal depend on the personal choice.

This diet trend has a potential impact related to fasting as it restricts the intake of calories during a certain period. But intermittent fasting diets have negative impacts on health, going long periods without eating although has gained popularity like other diet trends but like most other diet trends it’s not going to provide you a long-term result.

It is not healthy to have a restricted diet plan as food provides nutrients to the body and eating once a day, you’re not allowing your body to get all of the required nutrients to your body.

Eating one meal a day increases hunger which may influence your overall health leading to lower metabolism. If you’re concerned about losing weight then it is best to consult with a nutritionist, they can help you to design a proper diet plan.

How Does This Work?

There are different types of intermittent fasting and OMAD diet practices, including eating one meal a day and fasting for the rest of the day or having a single Meal and having a restricted amount of food during the entire day.

This diet practice results in reducing caloric intake which can lead to weight control.

There are also other benefits of practicing fasting such as it has the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, decrease blood sugar and also reduce inflammation.

Is it healthy to eat once a day? 3 pro and downsides
Photo by: Jane Doan / Pexels copyright January 2018

Several well-known diet practices promote only one meal a day such as Warrior Diet. In this OMAD diet, a person consumes just one meal a day, alternating between a long period of fasting with a short period of calorie intake.

Eating just one meal a day is a more intermittent fasting diet when compared to other fasting practices such as the 16/8 method which includes eight-hour eating periods and sixteen hours of fasting periods.

People who follow the OMAD diet usually choose to have only dinner although others choose to have only breakfast or lunch as their only meal. Certain types of this diet plan also allow a snack in addition to one meal.

Those who follow the OMAD only intake calories during their designated one meal which usually lasts an hour or so and avoid containing any calories during their fasting period.

How To Follow The OMAD Diet?

The OMAD diet is an extreme form of intermittent fasting. In this diet trend, you limit your daily eating period to one hour and for the rest of the day, you don’t consume any calories. Because of such nature of this diet trend, it is also known as 23-to-1

Under such diet practice, you are allowed to eat anything you want during your one-hour eating period. There are no such limits on the types of foods or drinks you want to consume. 

There is no limit on the number of calories you can intake. Furthermore, it’s advised to consume as many calories as you would ordinarily consume in an entire day in your one-hour eating period.

As you are not allowed you consume anything for the duration of your 23-hour fasting period. However, you can drink certain low or no-calorie drinks such as water, black coffee, and tea without any sugar during the fasting period. 

Can An OMAD Diet Lead To Weight Loss?

An energy deficit can help you to lose weight. This can be done by either burning more calories or consuming fewer calories.

So overall, cutting calories may be helpful for you to lose body fat.

People who follow the OMAD diet plan consume fewer calories than they would normally consume in a regular eating pattern and that led to weight loss.

According to a study, persons who restrict their calorie intake to a 4-hour window in the evening significantly reduce their body fat when compared to people who eat three meals in the day.

Is it healthy to eat once a day?
Photo by: Babs Gorniak / Unsplash copyright January 2023

Research has also shown that intermittent fasting, including extended fasting periods like OMAD, is likely to result in weight loss.

A study of over 50,000 people conducted in 2017 on meal timing and frequency concluded that those to consumed two meals of a 5-6 hour eating window had a decrease in body weight compared to those who consumed three meals per day. 

Furthermore, the study has also concluded that an 18-19 hour of overnight fasting period results in lower body weight when compared to a shorter fasting period. 

However, there are certain drawbacks to these fasting methods, such as increased hunger and significant changes in metabolism.

OMAD diet doesn’t restrict the number of calories or the types of foods and drinks you want to consume yet it may help some people with weight reduction.

An analysis of six research on intermittent fasting has found that it was equivalent to calorie-restricted diets for short-term weight loss in adults those who are overweight or have obesity. 

What are The Pros Of The OMAD Diet?

Fasting has been related to a variety of health advantages other than weight loss. For example, fasting may help in reducing blood sugar and certain heart disease risk such as LDL “bad” cholesterol. It also helps to reduce markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein

Fasting may also have significant benefits to the nervous system’s health as fasting may result in slow neurodegeneration and improve life longevity

But all of these potential advantages are promising but you must remember that these benefits are related to fasting in general rather than the OMAD diet specifically. 

Additionally, according to certain research, it has been proven that OMAD diet patterns can result in more serious health issues than other less restricted fasting patterns. 

Is it healthy to eat once a day?
Photo by: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels copyright February 2021

Following are some of the benefits of the OMAD diet plan.

Pros Of the OMAD Diet

A few research is being conducted on the health impacts of eating only one meal in a day. As there is limited research so it’s not so clear about the long-term effects on the health of having only one meal in a day. 

This certain research has provided a glimpse into the potential advantages of OMAD. 

1. Help in burning Calories.

Glucose provides energy to our body. The body gets the glucose from the carbohydrates that we consume in our meals and drinks by converting it. So, to convert the carbs into glucose, the body must intake carbs first. 

You can only eat one meal per day on the OMAD diet, and your body will use all of the available glucose during your 23-hour fast. To obtain additional glucose, your body will turn to a new source of energy, specifically stored fat.

A short 11-day research is being conducted on a comparison between one meal per day in two hours to a three-meal per day diet with snacks.

The study showed that the group that followed a single meal per day had a fat breakdown than the group that followed the three-meal per day diet.

As a result, the group that followed the single meal-a-day diet lost more weight faster than the group that followed the normal meal diet.

Another study conducted in 2007 evaluated the impact of having one meal per day for two successive eight-week periods over six months versus having three meals per day.

The result of this research showed that people who have only one meal per day had significantly lower body fat and composition than the people who had three meals per day.

2. Improves Metabolism

In certain studies, it has been proven that changing eating patterns through intermittent fasting may result in improving the metabolism. Metabolism means the processes that make and utilize the energy in your body. 

The improved metabolism may be related to the reduction of various growth-promoting mechanisms, which enhances the processes that break down and remove damaged and old cells, proteins, and other substances.

This consequently results in promoting cellular energy generation as well as total cell metabolism.

3. Helps in Feeling More Awake

It has been observed that intermittent fasting during the day increases the amount of orexin-A. It is a molecule or chemical that helps you to feel more awake. 

Eating your one meal in the evening but not too close to your bedtime would imitate daytime fasting. 

Orexin-A levels would drop after eating your meal which may help you sleep better at night. 

What are the Downsides of the OMAD diet?

Various studies have shown that fasting and calorie restriction results in a wide range of health advantages while other data shows that restricting too much (eating only one meal per day) may cause more damage than benefits.

For example, studies reveal that extreme restriction in diet may result in greater total and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, as well as higher blood pressure levels, as compared to regular eating habits or less extreme fasting approaches.

In other research having one meal in a day has been shown to increase fasting blood sugar levels slow the body’s reaction to insulin and increase levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone hunger as compared to having regular three meals in a day. This can result in intense hunger.

Additionally, following an intermitting diet that limits the calorie intake may raise the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, especially with type 2 diabetics.

These potential side effects of having only one meal day might cause symptoms such as:

  • headaches
  • irritation
  • a lack of energy
  • nausea
  • constipation

The Omad diet is also not suitable for many people including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding children, elderly adults, and people who have eating disorders.

Restricting diet to one meal in a day can also result in an eating disorder. It can immensely impact a person’s social life and is extremely different for people to properly stick to the diet. 

Furthermore, getting all of the sufficient nutrients in one meal might be challenging. This might also result in nutrient deficiency, which can harm your health and can result in serious health risks. 

Is it healthy to eat once a day?
Photo by: Brooke Lark / Unsplash copyright May 2017

Some people who follow the OMAD diet will overeat such as calorie-dense items such as pizza, sweets, ice cream, and other fast foods during their single meal. 

All of these calorie-dense foods may be part of a balanced diet, but the OMAD diet leads to overeating and overeating foods that are high in sugar and other harmful ingredients could negatively impact your health in the long run.

Fasting and calorie restriction have certain advantages, but research has indicated that having two or three meals in a day is likely a better option for a healthy life than eating one meal per day.

Downsides To the OMAD Diet

1. Hunger

One of the biggest drawbacks of most diet plans is that they make you hungry and in turn, you consume more calories in one meal. So, eating once a day makes no difference in eating twice or more than that.

Research published in 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, evaluated the effects of having one meal in a day on health conditions in a group of healthy adults. One of the common complaints that the researcher observed among the participants was hunger.

This one complaint may make the one meal in a day tough for people to maintain.

2. Effects on Health

Restricting your meal to once a day might help you to reduce some of your body weight, but it may not be beneficial to your health.

The participants who participated in the 2007 study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ate once a day and had significantly lost weight and fat mass, but their blood pressure and cholesterol levels had increased. 

Furthermore, according to 2008 research published in the journal Metabolism, eating once a day and fasting for the remaining period increases blood sugar and insulin level.

The participants who ate once a day in this study had an increase in ghrelin levels, the hunger hormone. 

3. Possibility of Slower Metabolism

You try to consume a maximum of calories in your one meal in a day and suppose you are eating less than 1000 calories in a day your body goes into preservation mode. This results in a metabolic slowdown and so burning fewer calories. 

Furthermore, according to 2008 research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, having three meals in a day help to burn more fat and calories. 

What Foods to eat and avoid?

There are several sorts of dietary patterns, and no matter which one you choose, your diet plan should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods.

While most health professional does not recommend having only one meal in a day but still if you do select this diet pattern then it is very important to consume a range of healthy foods and drinks. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Vegetables such as Cauliflower, Cabbage, Zucchini, and broccoli.
  • Fruits such as apples, Bananas, watermelons, and citrus fruits.
  • Healthful fats such as Olive, canola, soy, and corn oil.
  • Legumes such as peas, lentils, black beans, and chickpeas.
  • Starchy vegetables and grains such as peas, sweet potatoes, oats, butternut squash, and barley.
  • Seeds, nuts, and nut butter such as cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Dairy and plant-based alternatives, unsweetened yogurt, soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk.
  • Chicken, fish, tofu, and eggs are a few examples of sources of protein.

You should try to avoid highly processed foods such as sweet baked foods, fast food, cereals with added sugar, soda, chips, and white flour slices of bread.

All of these foods have limited nutrients and if they are consumed excessively might lead to weight gain as well as increases the risk of various diseases.

Extreme OMAD diet involves total calorie restriction. During the fasting period you can still drink water and other non-calorie contain drinks.

Some people consume low-calorie foods with high-protein snacks during the day such as:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Oats
  • Tuna
  • Egg white, and so on

As most health professionals do not encourage having one meal in a day because of its negative impacts on health but if you’re still thinking about following this diet pattern, then it is best to first take health advice from a reputed healthcare expert.

Sample menu

Unless your diet is well planned, eating one meal a day will not give your body the calories and nutrients it requires to stay healthy.

Choosing to eat within a longer period may help you to increase your nutrient intake.

If you are thinking about doing the one meal-in-a-day diet pattern, then you should not do it for seven days a week.

Usually, people follow the one meal-in-a-day diet pattern a few days a week and alternate it with a regular diet or a less restrictive diet pattern such as the 16/8 method.

If you are having only one meal in a day, then your meal must be full of nutrients. These meals should include at least more than 1000 calories, but this can be quite challenging for some people to eat over a normal meal period.

If you’re having difficulties consuming a lot of calories in one meal, you should consider extending you’re eating period by an hour or so or you can divide your meal into two smaller meals.

In this way, you will be able to consume an adequate amount of nutrients and calories without feeling bloated.

Following are some of the nutritious meal options that are likely to have more than 1200 calories:

  • 1 avocado egg toast with butternut squash soup with avocado and chickpea along with Citrus Poached Salmon with Asparagus and 3/4 cup Cauliflower Rice. Also, have 1 medium orange and 1 medium kiwi. 
  • 1 slice Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast with 1 serving Green Salad with Edamame & Beets, 1 serving Spicy Jerk Shrimp, 1/2 cup Easy Brown Rice. As snacks, you can have 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic, 1 cup of blueberries, and 1 orange.
  • 1 slice Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast with 1 1/2 cups Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup, 3 Tablespoons of hummus, 6 seeded crackers, and 1 serving Taco Spaghetti Squash Boats. As snacks, you can have 2 kiwis.
  • 2 Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato, 1 cup Herbal Chamomile Health Tonic with 1 serving Curried Chicken Apple Wraps, 1 medium pear, 1 1/2 cups Slow-Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup, 1 serving Kale Salad with Beets & Wild Rice. As for snacks, you can eat 1 cup of raspberries, 1/2 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and 1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt, 
  • 1 Tbsp. sliced almonds, 1 tsp. honey with 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich, 1 serving Sheet-Pan Chicken & Vegetables with Romesco Sauce, and in snacks, you can have 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic, and 1/2 cup edamame (in pods) sprinkled with a pinch of coarse sea salt.

All of this mentioned meal contains carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that your body needs to stay healthy.

You may also read this article to learn about additional meals to include in your diet plan.
4 Delicious Cabbage Diet Soup Recipe To Try –

Fitting all of the necessary calories your body needs in one meal is not required. This diet pattern is also neither sustainable nor practicable for the majority of people.


Eating only one meal a day is becoming a trendy method among people to lose weight, but it is not good for your overall health. Fasting, particularly long-term fasting, is commonly believed to improve health in a variety of ways. But people can get similar health benefits by following other better sustainable methods.

If you’re overeating and want to lose weight, then you can follow the 16/8 intermitting fasting or simply you can have a regular diet plan like 3 time eating but lowering your calorie intake.

OMAD diet pattern has certain severe characteristics and because of that most healthcare professional advises not to follow this diet pattern.

With the help of more sustainable ways, you may reduce weight while still maintaining your overall health.



Next Post

The 9 best teeth whitening products of June 2023

Wed Jun 14 , 2023
You’re doing everything right — brushing your teeth twice a day with the best electric or manual toothbrush you can find for the two minutes a day, remembering to floss, use mouthwash and brush your tongue, too. Nonetheless, your teeth can still stain over time, especially if you’re a big […]
The 9 best teeth whitening products of June 2023

You May Like