The One meal a day or OMAD as it is commonly referred to as an extreme version of intermittent fasting, where one does not eat for 23 hours (including the time you sleep) and eats only during a one hour window. It is believed to help reduce weight along with the risk of chronic diseases, It further aids at improving type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health. It is also thought to bring in more discipline.
The OMAD received a lot of attention recently when Twitter CEO John Dorsey revealed that the OMAD was his wellness routine. It has thus been touted as the new wellness regime by many celebrities claiming that it helps them stay more focused, lose and maintain weight. It is also stated to be far easier to follow as the diet does not require you to count calories. Other Hollywood celebrities that claim to be on the OMAD are Liz Hurley and Megan Fox.
The human body has certain nutritional requirements to be able to function optimally, excessive intake or lack of nutrients have a detrimental effect on the body. As it is not getting the nourishment it requires, it is more likely to break down muscle for energy, in addition, the diet also lacks to meet the body’s requirements of macro and micronutrients. This kind of diet also affects mental health along with physical.
Wellness by definition is being in a state of good health. But this diet promotes conditions like anaemia (low iron levels), osteoporosis (weak bones - due to lack of calcium), brittle hair and nails, low energy, irritability, brain fog and constipation which are definitely not the definition of wellness. It likens more towards malnutrition, which by definition is lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat or not consuming the right thing in enough quantity.
The diet does send out the wrong message and is at a risk of breeding eating disorders like binge eating - where you starve all day and then binge eat in a short period of time. It may also result in starvation or technically called, anorexia where you restrict yourself from eating to an extent of self-starvation. This further impacts the mental being of the individual to a large extent. As the human mind develops a practice of postponing each meal and thus, eating all at once. This may inculcate a feeling of frustration and incompleteness in the person.
Restricted intake of food, is most likely to cause a multitude of nutritional deficiencies as mentioned above like anaemia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, memory loss, fatigue and can also cause havoc with the body’s hormonal system resulting in amenorrhea in females (absence of menstruation or missed menstruation) and even infertility.
Today, we are living in the age of social media and are so influenced by celebrities that we often leave common sense aside and tend to quickly mimic their lifestyles. We forget that social media unfortunately only highlights the glamour and not the struggles behind. Celebrities often have the means and resources to help them while they are on their extreme diets. They have the accessibility to chefs, nutritionists, and experts to fill in the gaps. But do we?
Carlyne Remedios, Clinical Practices, Nutrition & Product Development at Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi.