OMAD - use for weight loss or no?

(Bob M) #1

I’ve seen conflicting advice on OMAD (one meal a day) for weight loss. Supposedly, Fung’s group likes > 24 hours better. While I also like > 24 hours better, I’ve been trying OMAD a few times, when I find it hard to do > 24 hours.

For instance, the easiest day for me to fast > 24 hours is Tuesday, and next Tuesday is voting day, which means my kids will be home. It’s hard for me to come home with everyone eating and not eat, so OMAD is a better option.

The times lately I tried OMAD (which is more like eat within a very short window, maybe 2 hours, for me), it does seem like I eat less overall. And I certainly know I’ve eaten OMAD, as I generally get hungry right when I’d normally eat my first meal in two meals a day.

Your thoughts on OMAD: useful for weight loss? Or not really?

(Robin) #2

I am 85% OMAD. But when my body says feed me, I do. And then it rewards me.


It is surely individual. I met someone who allegedly epically overate on OMAD… :smiley:
Some people are starving on OMAD, IDK why they force it…

I believe OMAD is wonderful for me - if I can pull it off. I rarely can on carnivore, I just can’t eat big enough meals. As I raise carbs, it gets easier and I can trust it WILL happen on high-carb if I put my mind on it. Too bad my body wants carnivore :smiley:

When I stopped losing fat and put some effort into OMAD, I started to lose. I know OMAD helps with zillion things including fat-loss. I hardly can overeat on OMAD, at least when I don’t do my best to do it (I have my ways and they include carbs). Even for maintenance, I probably need carbs or some effort. So yes, it’s good for my fat-loss. The bigger my meal, the longer the satiation (if the food is similar and I get my high protein), I experienced that all my life. It even works with high-carb, a really big meal lasts for a day (see my easy carby OMAD).
So it would work to me if I could pull it off.

But we all are different. Maybe it would work for someone with the right timing and food choices but they do it unwell. There are people who uses the most satiation low-cal items even on OMAD, no wonder their tiny meal can’t do much good. I can eat but if I want to do OMAD, I need to choose my food items very, very well or else I get satiated before I ate enough for the day. The fact that fat doesn’t really satiate me helps but not enough when my carbs aren’t present to induce a big hunger. Well, ability to eat. I don’t need hunger or appetite to eat a big meal. But my meat is satiating and it sometimes gives me a stop sign.
So OMAD is tricky. Other people may just deal with the hunger or lack of satiation later but I am not that type. If my meal is too small, I will need another later. That’s one reason why I try to put my hopefully OMAD meal kind of late (not too late, that rarely works for me). But if it’s not OMAD sized, it won’t work.

Today is probably not OMAD. I ate after 16:15 but couldn’t eat my planned daily food and my protein is clearly below 120g. I will get hungry again… Oh well, TMAD is still better than the 3MADs and 4MAD I had this week…

But I do want OMAD. It makes almost everything food related better for me.

(Doug) #5

Christian, there are several considerations for autophagy (and it’s a fairly large subject, overall), but eating once a day, unless it would be nothing but fat, pretty much eliminates any chance of started or increased autophagy in humans.

To achieve that, we need to have the stomach and small intestine emptied out, the “post absorptive phase” that follows to be completed, and glycogen to be depleted. It’s not a hard “Off” then “On,” as with most human biochemical processes, but insulin levels need to fall, glucagon levels need to rise, and the primary kinases that control autophagy (mTOR and AMPK) need to be suppressed and activated in response to all that came before.

Coming from a ketogenic diet could speed things up a little, but we’re talking perhaps a few hours when it’s really still late in the second day of fasting, and commonly the third when things finally get supportive of increased autophagy.

Somewhat coincidentally, it’s similar timing to what many people experience with leaving a high-carbohydrate diet and fasting or going to a strict ketogenic one - they don’t really see the dramatically increased ketosis until the 3rd or even the 4th day.

(Michael) #6

Excellent response Doug. Might want to add that strenuous exercise can greatly increase both glycogen store decrease and therefore autophagy increase in potentially a short timeframe.

(mike lisanke) #7

So, I switched from Keto + Fasting N<7 days a week to OMAD in recent months as I saw repeat blood tests indicating low BUN and suspected I had caused negative nitrogen balance and triggered muscle bone hair etc. structure loss. It’s not my intention to do Keto and Fasting to Lose Weight… I want to lose body fat and remain metabolically healthy! I recently stalled on some markers for autophagy and even nutritional ketosis on OMAD with a focus on Protein intake. I believe Gluconeogenesis is very efficient at converting any excess protein intake into blood glucose, raising insulin, thwarting benefits of ketosis and fasting. I recently restarted a longer fasting regiment of OM2D (one meal every 2 days) and Feel Better initially. It’s too early to document any blood test or body shape results But initial weight loss/maintenance has improved, might be just GI.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #8

This used to be theorised, but more recent research has shown that gluconeogenesis is more tightly regulated than that. It’s not as simple as the old belief that excess protein “turns to cake” in our body.

(mike lisanke) #9

Paul, If you have any papers to cite, I’d love to read them. All I have at the moment is my own N=1 experiment where the increase in protein has improved my muscle (bone?) and hair gain/maintain But there’s a clear effect on insulin and glucose and even (maybe) fat gain. I don’t have quantitative data; only subjective observation. Also, I mentioned GI as I had heard that Autophagy won’t start while digestion is in process. It maybe just me but I’m not certain GI can empty in <24 hours. Will this mean that benefits of ketosis and fasting in repair process (autophagy) will never be experienced without longer fasts. I don’t have research backing up any of these thoughts; just anecdotal evidence.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #10

All I have at the moment is a couple of lectures in which Amber O’Hearn delves into some of this. I didn’t copy the citations she gives. I’ll try to find time to go back and look for them.

Her current thinking, if I have grasped it correctly, is that the body will of course use amino acids in the proteins we eat to build more muscle and strengthen bone (which is calcium in a protein matrix), but the rise people sometimes begin to see in serum glucose after some time on a keto or carnivore diet is most likely the result of insufficient fat intake, so the body increases gluconeogenesis to fuel the brain and other organs that aren’t getting enough fat and/or ketones. Someone who has passed the initial stage of shedding excess fat would be vulnerable to this if he or she has not overcome our cultural fear of dietary fat.

I don’t pretend to fully understand the mechanisms of all this, but her argument does seem plausible, and it does seem to correlate with my own experience.

(mike lisanke) #11


I appreciate your reference to Amber’s videos and will look for one related to this (if youtube provides enough detail in its search). But, I expect I still have enough body fat to prevent glucose rise due to too little fat, unless/of-course she is specifically making a difference between available fat and ingested fats, I understand the GI track and liver make some interesting decisions based on food intake and change the digestion and create different metabolites. E.g. exogenous ketones can be directly absorbed and released through this route. I’ll look for citations and Amber videos on this topic and reply again with any results. If you have the time and inclination, anything your post as a follow-up is greatly appreciated. Best regards, Mike

(mike lisanke) #12

FAT VS. PROTEIN: The Great Ratio Debate. Advice from three 10+ year Carnivores on MACROS. - YouTube

Amber seems to assert that protein sans dietary fat intake does lead to more gluconeogenesis. I’ve staged the video to the start of that assertion. This is now what I’ve heard anecdotally and observed in my own N=1 experiment. I don’t know that her, eat more fat is a solution But eating protein to necessity while titrating fat as energy seems to be the target. But, whose estimate to I use for protein intake! :rofl:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #13

My understanding is that at some point the body decides it wants the amount of fat reserve that it has, and that’s when we move from fat-loss mode into weigh-maintenance mode (roughly speaking). If I’m understanding Amber correctly, that’s the point where the sufficiency of dietary fat starts to be the real issue.

Of course, people who follow Dr. Phinney’s advice and eat to satiety should be increasing their fat intake as their fat store declines, simply by letting their appetite determine how much they eat. But there are people who believe that their appetite hormones are broken, and there are other people who are convinced that if they eat more fat, they will not be able to shed fat. Although Phinney claims that his research shows that eating more fat increases fatty-acid metabolism, so who knows?

Well, the extremes are Ron Rosedale on the one hand, who a few years ago gave a lecture advocating barely eating enough protein to replace our daily nitrogen loss, to Ted Naiman on the other, who claims there is no such thing as eating too much protein.

What we do know is the following:

  • Eating too little fat can be fatal. This is known as “rabbit starvation,” because trappers in North America who tried to live on rabbit (a very lean animal) have been known to die from lack of a source of fat.

  • Our ability to assimilate amino acids seems to decline as we age, but less if we have been eating a protein-rich diet from young adulthood. This is why Prof. Bikman’s mantra includes “prioritise protein.”

  • The body can store only a limited amount of amino acids in the labile pool, and any excess must be disposed of. This means deaminating the amino acids so that they can be either stored or eliminated, and there is a level of protein intake that overwhelms the uric acid cycle that normally disposes of excess ammonia.

My conclusion for myself is that I don’t worry about how much protein I get, though I try to eat more, rather than less, and I accompany the protein with enough fat to satisfy my hunger, whether that fat be what comes in the meat, or whether I need to add some to my meal. It seems to work. I only get into trouble when I yield to carb cravings and overdo my carb intake.

(mike lisanke) #14


There are some that argue that protein Determines satiation. Where eating more protein reduces hunger because the satiety is base on protein need Not energy calories. I’ve come to agree with many conclusion about Hunger because I’m now able to almost always able to overlook/work-around it, in deciding when I’ll eat. But the thinking person would like to Know they’re not harming themself by eating wrong (hence the rabbit diet admonition). My only question about total elimination of carbohydrate calories is providing nutrition to gut microbiome which may not live well on just fat and protein. And, I’ve even given up xylitol gum (for tooth care) based on my cephalic response. Only carbs I eat are complex (nuts, cruciferous or fermented veggies); as fruits and starches also convert to sugars in vivo.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #15

Raubenheimer and Simpson did a series of studies that concluded that all mammals have an instinct to eat the necessary amount of protein and will eat extra food, if it is not protein dense (this is their protein leverage hypothesis). I believe this may well be true, with the caveat that people’s needs for protein vary considerably.

The idea that 0.6 g of protein per kg of lean body mass per day is required to replace daily nitrogen loss is an average, based on a number of studies in which people’s nitrogen losses varied considerably. This means that each person’s need for protein is going to be individual. So anyone who needs more protein than “normal” will not be satisfied eating at the same level as someone who needs less. Such a person will not likely be satisfied by eating fat, until his or her protein need has been met. This means that proportionally speaking, some people will need a somewhat higher percentage of protein, and some will need a somewhat higher percentage of fat.

In either case, the protein is not normally used to provide energy for the body (for various reasons), so our energy has to come from either fatty acids (fat) or glucose (carbohydrate). This means that once we get enough protein to meet our body’s structural needs, we still need to eat enough fat to supply our body with the energy it needs.

Again, to me, this signals the importance of listening to our body, rather than trying to supply our bodily needs on the basis of some theory of what we should need.

(mike lisanke) #16


I agree with you (and Amber) that if we all could use satiety to stay fit and trim, that would be best. And perhaps if/when we find the right things to eat, that would work. I can tell you, when I was eating carbohydrates that listening to my body Didn’t work worth a damn. And so the bathroom scale idea is broken And Satiety may be broken in some of us. After practicing Keto diet and Intermittent fasting that I can control my intake and maintain my health But just maintaining weight isn’t a good plan if over time we’re losing our bones and muscle tissue etc. etc.
I appreciate the dialog we’ve had this evening and look forward to researching further on protein balance with longer than OMAD… Not for weight loss; for healthy living! Thanks again.


It works much worse for some than others, sure…
I am pretty sure my body gives me plenty of good info and advice even then - but some part of my mind is hijacked. I may feel and know I definitely don’t need something, I may not even desire it - but compulsion is powerful. Other times carbs made me hungry, they did it all the time until recently, at least.
Carbs mess with many of us, this way or another.

Of course, it’s not always so clear and great even without the almost complete lack of carbs. Other things can interfere too. Signs may be broken. Certain protein and fat sources have zero satiation effect (at least in some combinations)…
And timing may be important too. OMAD has its huge benefits for some of us. Even makes experiments easier, less factors to worry about.

(mike lisanke) #18


IMO Timing is the most important. With IF and a regular eating pattern (so our brain knows its not Starving), I found hunger is almost eliminated. Many (in US) don’t ever experience Hunger because they’re never Not Fed, but; initially fasting, under-eating, and eliminating carbs can all cause Hunger pain.

In my experience, IF and longer led to complete control of hunger pain. Its not completely eliminated but its always controllable; ignoring hunger and it just passes.


I don’t think I have any control on my hunger, it comes whenever my body wants food and didn’t use its other very serious sign, “need for fuel. feed me or else!” and I don’t ignore it unless the soft, cute kind that is just a very subtle warning and I happen not to feel an urge to eat.
Mere IF isn’t helpful but a decent OMAD meal makes wonders and lasts long :slight_smile: Hunger may not be a problem (I mean, I don’t easily get hungry) but if I lose my perfect satiation, I tend to eat. So I need a substantial, satiating, satisfying OMAD meal. Timing and food choices are both important but I can’t accidentally overeat on OMAD (unless it’s one of my Unsatiable Hunger days) and overeating is my main problem. So sometimes I focus on my timing more and trust that my food choices can’t be too bad even without extra care.

Hunger may pass, indeed but I have little experience with staying hungry for a while. But still some and it changed a lot during the years. Sometimes it goes away, it used to get progressively stronger (especially if I move. uphill is the worst) but usually it stays the same for hours, it’s what I usually have now and it’s great. Too bad my “need for fuel” (I get dizzy and lose focus) quickly comes and progresses and no way I resist that for long. I suppose we may call that a special kind of hunger but it doesn’t feel like all my other hunger signs.
So I can’t just decide not to eat until some fixed time, it all depends on my body signs. If it wants food, it gets food, no way around that if I can help it.

(Rossi Luo) #20

I am 162cm (5.31 feet) and 65KG (142 pounds in the morning). And I have been doing one meal a day for more than 5 months, and my weight has been stuck at 65KG for months too. So I think OMAD is not good for weight loss anymore at some point, maybe it works well at the beginning, but it will stop work when your body gets into so called starvation mode.
And also I found that, it’s quite easy for my weight bounce back if I do cheating, I’d like to say that my body is crazy to store it when I give carbs to it during my OMAD days.
My shape is alright now, if you ask why I still want to lose further weight, my answer is to reverse my fatty liver.

Today, I was thinking if my OMAD is a risk to damage my metabolism, that’s why I came into this post. I was thinking how many people are still healthy after years of OMAD.

(Polly) #21

Why do you need to lose body weight to reverse fatty liver? Surely, fatty liver reversal will occur if you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones. Your height/weight ratio is pretty healthy at the moment.

What foods are you eating during your one meal?