What Happens If... I Only Eat One Meal A Day

Another day, another celebrity diet.
Jajah-sireenut via Getty Images

Society has an interesting relationship with celebrity diet culture. If you want to lose weight and do it fast, who better to look up to than a celebrity? It’s not like they’ve invested money in personal trainers, plastic surgery, and problematic weight-loss drugs to achieve their perfect figures, right?

We’ve seen it all when it comes to celebrity diets. There was the 40 intake diet made popular by Kim Kardashian. She allegedly lost her baby weight 11 months after giving birth by only intaking a measly 40 grams of food a day. Then we saw Beyonce completing the master cleanse diet. Queen B lost 20 pounds in two weeks for her role in Dreamgirls by avoiding solid food and fasting purely on juices.

We can’t talk about diets without mentioning the supposed wellness queen, Gwyneth Paltrow. She recently came under fire after sharing that her diet is restricted to ingested coffee, bone broth and vegetables, with a dash of fasting in-between.

Now, celebrities are swearing by the OMAD diet, also known as the one meal a day diet. It’s quite popular among a-list stars including our very own prime minister Rishi Sunak.

So what is this new celebrity diet and how does it apparently work? OMAD is an intense fasting diet where participants eat one big meal a day with limited eating.

The aim of the diet is to promote weight control. The diet isn’t as random as you think though. It’s based on our ancestors eating habits as they often went through spells of eating and fasting. Whether the diet actually has an impact on weight-loss is yet to be seen.

Studies on OMAD are far and few between but one study showed that participants reduced their body weight and fat levels when eating one meal a day. However, the report also found that those involved in the study lost muscle and boss mass. This shows that although weight loss is achievable on this diet, it might not be the healthiest.

It’s also important to note that most of the participants in the study were healthy. Those who were obese or had cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental disorders, eating disorders, or other metabolic conditions were not able to join the study.

Eating one meal a day might sound easy but it’s actually quite hard. You can experience periods of increased hunger and cravings on this diet. This can lead to lower energy levels. “This can result in feelings of fatigue, weakness, and reduced physical and mental performance,” Rajni Sharma, Chief Dietitian at Kalra hospital, Kanpur, said.

It’s not all bad news with the OMAD diet though. Eating one meal a day can allow your digestive system to restore itself which can improve your gut health.

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine found that eating meals within a daily four-hour window lead to a larger amount of fat loss than a calorie restricting diet which included eating three meals a day.

In general, people should be cautious about eating one meal a day. If you’re going to stick to the OMAD diet, you need to make sure you’re eating something that is filled with nutrients. It should be balanced and have enough fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

If you’re thinking about trying this diet, remember you don’t have the same resources as the celebrities you want to emulate.

There are ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet that doesn’t include having just one meal a day.

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