What Is OMAD? [Can It Be Used With Keto?]

  • Date: June 7, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

What is OMAD? OMAD stands for One Meal A Day. Eating OMAD when combined with keto can be your secret weapon to shedding weight fast and reaching your keto goals. In this article, we will take you through what OMAD is, how to try it and the benefits it can bring you. Don’t be put off by the fact that you’re only eating one meal – you make sure it’s a good one!

What Is OMAD?

OMAD stands for ‘One Meal A Day’, sometimes people will refer to this as one meal per day. The concept of this is simple, you only eat one meal a day.

I know this may sound crazy to a lot of people, especially those of us who have overeaten all of our lives. Especially when your day is structured around food.

But, trust me when I say that this can bring no end of health benefits as well as speeding up your non-scale victories and weightloss, meaning you will be smashing your keto goals in no time.

OMAD is one of many abbreviations that is used in the keto world. Check out our guide to keto terms and guide to keto abbreviations to help you on your keto journey.

OMAD Explained

As we have explained above OMAD, means only eating one meal a day, but this does not mean that you end up starving. 

OMAD is a form of intermittent fasting. You will not eat for a period of many hours and then will consume all of your macros in one sitting, within a small feeding window.

If you are living a keto WOL, this means that your meal will be high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs in line with the ethos of keto.

OMAD is not unique to keto though, a lot of people will only eat OMDA for various different reasons.

For more on intermittent fasting on keto, check out our intermittent fasting on keto guide.

The key to OMAD is that you still eat your keto macros;

  • 70% of your calories should come from carbs
  • 25% of your calories should come from protein
  • 5% of your calories should come from carbs

Even when doing OMAD you should keep your carb consumption under 20 grams of carbs a day. Your daily calories should still be consumed within your OMAD too.

Different Types of OMAD

There are two different types of OMAD. I know this may sound counterintuitive, after all, how can you eat one meal a day for more than once day? It makes sense, trust me.

What is OMAD, Type One?

Type one of OMAD is exactly what you would expect, an individual will sit down and eat one meal in their day in one go. This meal could include a starter, main, and dessert.

The key thing here is that it will be done in one sitting, so maybe over a 30-45 minute period. That will then be it for the day. There will be no snacking, all of the individual’s macronutrients will be consumed in that meal.

What is OMAD, Type Two?

Some people will eat their OMAD over a period of a couple of hours. Yes, this is technically falling more into the intermittent fasting category, but some people will classify this as OMAD.

Again, as with type one, type two OMAD eaters may eat several smaller meals per day over a period of a couple of hours.

Whether somebody is eating type one or type two, they will still be eating their macros within these meals.

There will be NO snacking outside of these meals.

OMAD Key Takeaway: You still need to ensure that you are hitting your macros if you are eating OMAD.

Should I Try OMAD?

A question I get asked often by people that are new to keto is, should I try OMAD? I always give them the same answer, no!

There is no hard science as to who should try OMAD, however, for me, if you are new to keto, going to OMAD is a lot for your body to handle in one go.

I would suggest that OMAD is for those people who have been through the following steps;

SETP 1: Got to grips with keto

STEP 2: Is fat-adapted

STEP 3: Is accustomed to intermittent fasting 

STEP 4: Has successfully completed a couple of weeks at 20:4

I would only recommend that somebody attempts OMAD if they have completed all of the above.

What Are The Health Benefits of OMAD?

There have not been many scientific studies completed on OMAD specifically, most of the science-backed research is in relation to intermittent fasting, however, the following health benefits have been identified;

  • Fat loss
  • Increased autography
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease risk factors
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced joint inflammation
  • Helps reset gut microbiome

As you will see, some of these are major impact factors on an individual’s quality of life. So trying OMAD should not be dismissed on the basis that it may be difficult at first.

If, after reading the health benefits of OMAD, you’re interested in giving it a go, make sure you’ve worked through our guide to getting started with IF and keto first.

This will stand you in good stead for transitioning into OMAD successfully.

OMAD [Practical Example]

For those of us that prefer a practical example here we go.

On Monday, you would eat your last meal at 4pm, you would then eat nothing for the rest of the day.

Tuesday morning comes around and you will not eat breakfast.

At around 3pm on Tuesday, you can eat your OMAD, you would then fast again until the Wednesday when you can eat again around 3pm.

What Can I Eat on OMAD?

The answer to this is a simple one, anything that you would have normally eaten on your keto diet you can eat on OMAD.

Ensure that you are hitting your macros when planning your meals.

Check out this guide to IF and what you can/ cannot eat if you are still unsure.

What Can I Drink on OMAD?

Surprisingly, this is another common question that I get asked. Check out our guide for further information as to what you can drink during your fast. But basically, water, black coffee, and green tea are all great options that are not going to break your fast whilst eating OMAD. 

Do I Have To Do OMAD Every Day?

Yes, for OMAD, the expectation is that you will eat one meal a day, every day. This will just become your normal eating pattern.

What Is An Alternative To OMAD?

If you do not fancy only eating OMAD every day, an alternative to OMAD is ADF. ADF stands for Alternate Day Fasting. Some people will eat a ‘normal’ keto diet one day and completely fast on another day.

Alternatively, some people will just pick a day in the week to fast and will make this their fasting day.

If AFD is something of interest to you, check out our guidance article here.

For more on abbreviations specific to the world of IF, OMAD, extended fasting, ADF, check out our IF glossary of terms, it will help you on your journey. 

Ideally, your OMAD should be eaten during daylight hours. There are several reasons for this.

  1. Your food needs time to digest before you sleep.
  2. Your circadian rhythm – if you eat late at night, your body does not see this as ‘normal’ and will not send the right signals to your body that it is time to sleep. As such you may end up with sleepless, restless nights.
  3. If you eat your OMAD in the late afternoon, you do not have much time in the morning to wait to eat, and then realistically, you are not likely to be hungry before bed. This will allow you to sleep better than if you are going to bed feeling hungry. As well as this, physiologically, you do not have much time to wait in the morning for your meal. You will not feel deprived at any time.

OMAD Vs Extnded fasting

What is Extended Fasting?

Before being able to address OMAD vs extended fasting. We need to understand what extended fasting is.

Extended fasting will see people fasting for anything from two days to a week.

Yes, extended fasting is for the hardcore only.

If extended fasting is something that you think you may be interested in, check out our guide to extended fasting to find out more and decide whether this is for you or not.

There are a number of different reasons that people may choose to do OMAD or extended fasting.

For me, OMAD is very manageable, I can still sit down with family or friends in order to eat. It just requires a bit of planning.

Extended fasting unarguably has its benefits, but life can become very difficult if you are trying to socialize with others, or it’s somebodies birthday at work and cake has been brought in. This can be really hard to resist if you are extended fasting.

I would not recommend that anybody tried extended fasting whiteout having had a go at eating OMAD first.

Things To Look Out For on OMAD

Getting The Right Nutrition

One of the big things to remember if you are eating OMDA is that you are not looking to deprive yourself of anything by only eating OMAD. You still need to ensure that you are eating all of your macros over this period.

If you do not eat sufficient in your OMAD, you will feel hungry later and your body will start feeling weak. Not providing your body with sufficient nutrition will lead to your metabolism slowing down. If your basic metabolic rate slows down, this can lead to a keto stall. 

Depriving yourself is not the aim of eating OMAD, you still need to hit your macros in order to enjoy all of the health benefits of keto. Without this, you are likely to feel tired, weak, and may even experience brain fog.

Meal Planning Is Essential

Meal plans are essential to thriving on OMAD. Ensure that you have planned your meals to ensure that you have met your macros goals. These should be nutrient-dense meals, which is why meal prepping is essential. 

As well as ensuring that they are healthy meals that contain the nutrition you need, ensure that they keep you excited. If you are only eating OMAD, make sure it’s a good one that you are looking forward to eating.

Also, meal time should be an event. Try not to eat your one meal on the go. Sit down at a table, turn the TV off, put your phone away and focus on the meal.

There have been a number of studies completed that suggest that those that practice conscious eating achieve their weight loss goals and ultimately, have a better relationship with food.

Meal planning is essential for OMAD.

What Should OMAD NOT Be Used For?

Here we will look at some scenarios when OMAD should NOT be used.

Offset Poor Diet

OMAD should NOT be used to offset a poor diet. If you have had a ‘cheat day’ on keto, you should not be doing this regularly and using OMAD to offset the damage you have done.

Speed Up Weightloss

Also, it should not be done to speed up weight loss via calorie restriction. Yes, weight loss is normally a byproduct of OMAD, but it should not be done for this reason. A small caloric deficit will lead to weight loss, but this difference should not be dramatic.

Take Medications

OMAD should not be used if you have to take medications with food several times a day. Following the guidance of your medication is more important than doing OMAD. If you are thinking of combining OMAD with any medications, please seek advice from a health care professional first.

What is OMAD: FAQs


Final Thoughts: What Is OMAD?

By now we should have learned that OMAD – one meal a day, is a subset of intermittent fasting. It involves the practice of eating one, healthy, nutrient-rich meal a day. This can be combined with a low-carb, ketogenic diet to achieve some amazing results. Why not give it a go and let us know your results in the comments below?

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