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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Keto Diet arrow Keto OMAD: How It Works and the Benefits

Keto OMAD: How It Works and the Benefits

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 28, 2023
9 min read 1267 Views 0 Comments
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The combination of the keto diet and the OMAD fasting method can offer many health benefits, but can you do it safely? Find out the ins and outs of this challenging diet plan.

Keto omad

Both the keto diet and intermittent fasting (IF) have grown in popularity in the past few years. These diets have many benefits, including impressive weight loss results and a boost in energy levels. Due to their beneficial properties, many users have also sought to combine the eating methods, but how does this work?

One such combination of IF and the ketogenic diet is the combination of the OMAD method of fasting and keto. Find out whether you could benefit from this diet and what it entails below.

What Is Keto OMAD?

Keto and OMAD is the combination of the ketogenic diet with the one-meal-a-day (OMAD) intermittent fasting plan. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb intake diet, while OMAD is a type of fasting that allows you to eat just one meal a day.

On the OMAD intermittent fasting plan, you would typically eat one large meal during the day and then fast the rest of the time. You should eat that one meal at a similar time each day. For example, if you eat a meal at 3 PM one day, you should eat it around 3 PM the next day.

The ketogenic diet is a popular weight loss method that pushes the body into a state known as nutritional ketosis. In this state, the body burns body fat for fuel rather than blood sugar. It is achieved by eating a much-reduced carb intake and increasing your fat intake.

The combination of the two essentially means eating a keto meal once and fasting for the rest of the day.

Can You Combine OMAD and Keto?

Yes, you can combine the keto diet with the OMAD method. It will require doing some research into suitable OMAD keto meals and ensuring you are taking measures not to endanger your health while only eating one meal a day.

The keto diet is great for fasting because it is high in fat and protein. Both of these macronutrients can help you to fast, and protein increases feelings of fullness and suppresses the appetite, suggesting you get fewer hunger pangs.

While fasting can be combined with the keto diet, it is important to note that it is not suitable for some people. For those who have or have had an eating disorder, both of these eating methods are not recommended. In addition, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a disease that may be aggravated by either diet, you should avoid this combination.

If you are an avid gym-goer or regularly work out, you also may not be able to get enough energy from this kind of diet to continue a strict training routine. Take this into consideration before trying it.

Remember to seek your doctor’s advice before making any significant dietary changes.

4 Benefits of Keto OMAD

Many people have chosen to combine keto with intermittent fasting because the combination enhances the benefits of both. We have explored some of the advantages of this specific combination below to help you decide whether it is the right choice for you.

#1 Weight loss

Losing weight is often the goal of people who follow both keto and IF, so you’ll be pleased to know that the combination continues to be a good way to lose weight! There are a number of weight loss mechanisms at play when following both diets together.

Long periods without food, like those during a fasting window, also induce a state of ketosis. So, fasting can help maintain the state and the weight loss associated with it. In fact, using the OMAD keto meal plan may sometimes be referred to as speed keto. This refers to using fasting to enter ketosis much more quickly than when you do keto on its own.

In addition, intermittent fasting leads to a much lower caloric intake. This is because it is physically impossible to eat as many calories at one meal as you would throughout an entire day.

Fasting will create a natural caloric deficit, which is the only way you can lose weight. It means eating fewer calories than you burn. Fasting is also thought to increase your metabolism; in fact, older research suggests that it can increase it by up to 14%. A faster metabolic rate can make weight loss easier too.

#2 Reduced inflammation

While the role of inflammation in the body is necessary in some cases, chronic inflammation has been linked to a series of illnesses and conditions that can be debilitating. Diseases include everything from gastrointestinal disorders to cardiovascular diseases to neurodegenerative disorders.

Intermittent fasting protocols are thought to be useful in reducing inflammation in the body. Indeed, long fasting periods are associated with a reduction in inflammatory responses, which can, in turn, reduce your risk of developing one of these conditions.

Like IF, the keto diet is also linked to a reduction in inflammation. The diet was first used to treat and support children with epilepsy, and current research is trying to determine its role in neuroinflammation. Research also suggests that the ketogenic diet is effective in reducing symptoms of other inflammation-linked diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Combining the two diets may enhance these anti-inflammatory effects and may be a good choice for people with a disease that is even partially caused by inflammation. While the research supports this idea, it is always important to talk to a doctor before starting such a restrictive diet.

#3 Better insulin sensitivity

Insulin is a hormone used in the body for blood sugar control. If your body does not respond well to insulin (insulin resistance), this can lead to complications like prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Intermittent fasting has been found to improve blood glucose regulation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome. Additionally, research suggests that the shortened eating window on an IF schedule can lead to weight loss and better insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The keto diet, too, has a positive effect on glycemic control and blood lipid levels in patients with diabetes. This means that combining these diets could be an effective way to limit the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It could also be useful in supporting people who have type 2 diabetes already, provided that their healthcare practitioner agrees.

#4 Healthier gut

The gut microbiome is very important for overall gut health. It is made up of millions of gut bacteria and can affect everything from your body weight to your mental health to your risk of certain diseases.

Intermittent fasting allows your gut a chance to recalibrate. This means that while you’re fasting for long periods, the gut microbiota has a chance to remodel itself, cultivating more beneficial bacteria and rebalancing the bad.

Additionally, there is some evidence that eating keto can have a positive effect on your gut bacteria. Indeed, as this restrictive diet limits the carbohydrates you can consume, you’re much less likely to eat ultra-processed foods, like refined carbs, which are associated with poor overall health outcomes, including poor gut health.

4 Downsides of Keto OMAD

While an OMAD keto meal plan can be an effective tool for some, the diet does have its downsides. We’ve briefly summarized them below.

#1 Nutrient deficiencies

Due to the significantly restricted eating window on the OMAD keto diet plan, there is a possibility you will miss out on key nutrients. While working to create OMAD keto meals that are nutritionally varied can help, it is difficult to get every single vitamin and mineral you need each day in one meal.

Followers of IF, keto, and other very restrictive diet plans often turn to supplements to ensure they get all they need nutritionally. You may also try adding electrolytes into your routine to keep levels within the optimal range during your long fasting window.

#2 Fatigue

Due to the low blood sugar levels experienced during long fasting periods combined with the low-carb nature of your one large meal per day, on this diet, you may experience fatigue, tiredness, and low energy.

While you can consume stimulants, like black coffee and green tea, during fasting periods, this could lead to jitters, stomach cramps, and more. It may be a good idea to restrict this low-carb fasting protocol to days when a lack of energy will not disrupt your life.

On keto OMAD, you also may feel dizzy. This could be a sign of very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), so you should not ignore it.

#3 Headaches

On both the ketogenic diet and IF plans, headaches are common side effects. They are generally caused by dehydration. To avoid headaches caused by dehydration, you need to ensure you’re drinking enough water each day.

Headaches are also a common symptom of keto flu, which tends to go away after the first few weeks of the keto diet.

#4 Concentration problems

Brain fog is a common side effect of what is known as keto flu. This state usually occurs as you begin to eat the keto way and is caused by the metabolic changes in your body. It can lead to an inability to concentrate. However, this state will likely pass once your body has adjusted to the new diet.

You may experience other concentration issues during fasting due to low blood sugar. Tips discussed earlier, like drinking green tea and black coffee, could help keep you more alert. Or you could opt to do keto while eating OMAD on days when you don’t need to worry about concentration.

Keto OMAD Meal Ideas

If you’re struggling to come up with meal ideas for OMAD keto/speed keto, we have you covered. Find some fantastic inspiration below.

  • Grilled salmon with asparagus and avocado
  • Bacon-wrapped chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts and a side salad
  • Beef stir-fry with broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms
  • Oven-roasted turkey with sautéed green beans and garlic butter
  • Shrimp scampi with zucchini noodles and a Caesar salad
  • Beef patty with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and a side of sweet potato fries
  • Baked salmon with roasted broccoli and a side of mixed greens with olive oil
  • Chicken pot roast with oven-baked root vegetables and a side of creamed spinach
  • Salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts and a side of garlic mashed cauliflower

Remember to always check the nutrition information of the ingredients you are planning to use to ensure they fit within your daily carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake limits.

1,000-Calorie Keto OMAD Meal

While it’s not recommended to consistently consume only 1,000 calories per day as it may not provide enough nutrients, our nutritionist gives an example of an OMAD keto meal that is approximately 1,000 calories:

Main course:

  • 6oz grilled salmon: 370 calories, 0g carbs, 24g fat, 36g protein
  • 1 cup sautéed spinach: 41 calories, 1g carbs, 1g fat, 5g protein
  • 1 medium avocado: 250 calories, 12g carbs, 23g fat, 3g protein

Side dishes:

  • 1/2 cup roasted Brussels sprouts: 28 calories, 5g carbs, 0g fat, 2g protein
  • 1/2 cup mashed cauliflower: 41 calories, 3g carbs, 3g fat, 2g protein

Dessert:

  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries: 21 calories, 5g carbs, 0g fat, 0g protein

Total: 751 calories, 26g carbs, 51g fat, 48g protein

You could add more healthy fats (such as butter or olive oil) to this meal to increase your fat intake. However, it’s important to consult with a nutritionist to ensure that this won’t be harmful to you.

FAQs

Is OMAD keto safe?

It is not recommended to consistently eat so few calories, and much of the research on keto has only been done over a short period. As such, it may be safer to use OMAD on keto every now and again.

Is OMAD too extreme?

The OMAD diet is an extreme diet that limits your food intake to once per day. It is too extreme for some people, including those who have had eating disorders or are pregnant. However, some people may be able to sustain it if they take steps to ensure their health, like consuming electrolytes and additional supplements.

Will OMAD keto increase lifespan?

OMAD includes long fasting periods, and there is research that suggests that autophagy is increased during these windows without food. Autophagy is the process by which cells are recycled and replaced and is linked to increased longevity. So OMAD may have an impact on your lifespan.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Combining OMAD and keto is an effective way to get the health benefits of both diets, but it is important to acknowledge that this is an extreme and restrictive method of eating. As such, it should always be approached with caution.

If you want to try OMAD on keto, it’s important to do so safely and speak with a healthcare provider first. Plan your meals in advance to ensure they are nutritionally sound, consider nutrient and electrolyte supplementation, and always discontinue this diet if you feel ill or experience debilitating side effects.

For a less restrictive option that will still allow you to burn fat and reduce your calorie intake, consider trying fasting or keto on its own, or combine keto with a less challenging fasting style, like the 12-hour fast.

Conclusion

Combining keto and OMAD can help to improve metabolic health, reduce your risk of certain diseases and help you lose weight. However, it is a difficult diet with many side effects. Always speak with your doctor before trying such a challenging eating method and make sure you do so safely by following guidance and stopping if you feel sick.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: September 28, 2023
9 min read 1267 Views 0 Comments
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