The OMAD diet has no specificities on the time one should eat. There are, however, factors to be considered while choosing the best time to eat while on OMAD. For instance, when do you need most of your energy? What type of activities do you typically engage in? Do you exercise, and if so, at what time? Most people who have tried the OMAD diet agree that the best time to eat is in the evening due to the maintenance of energy levels during the day and allowing for better sleep at night.
In the Morning
Is it advisable to eat food as breakfast while on OMAD?
Breakfast is eaten to provide the much-needed energy required during the day. The effects of eating in the mornings were studied in this study and it was concluded that eating in the morning was not effective for weight loss. The study further supposed that the addition of breakfast was not a good idea for weight loss as it might have the opposite effect. This study shows that eating in the morning can be unhelpful to those seeking to lose weight. Additionally, eating one meal of the day in the morning increases your energy levels earlier on which may lead you to feel lethargic during the rest of the day.
Eating in the morning may negatively affect a person’s sleep at night. Let me explain. You see, your body or any human’s body has a natural clock known as a circadian rhythm that generally informs your body when to sleep. The circadian rhythm is affected by the levels of melatonin in your body. Melatonin, according to the US Department of Health and Sciences is a hormone that helps with the timing of circadian rhythm and sleep. In this study, it was found that the levels of melatonin increased after a late dinner.
While it is important to note that the level of melatonin also increases with the onset of darkness, it is important to note that food too can influence its amounts in our bodies. So eating later during the day will increase the level of melatonin in the body, therefore leading to better sleep. Additionally, eating in the morning can lead to hunger pangs during the day or at night. In this study, it was found that shorter sleep duration was a result of increased hunger and appetite.
If you need to eat in the morning, does it mean that OMAD may not be the best option for you? We think not, OMAD‘s effectiveness is not determined by when you eat, but rather, by what you consume. In her book, Alyssa Sybertz states that one can choose to eat in the morning if they feel that that is the best time for them to eat, that the success of the OMAD is not dependent on the time of eating.
The Afternoon or Evening?
The best time to eat for most people on the OMAD diet would be in the afternoon. The proponents of this notion argue that eating in the afternoon allows the body enough time to digest the food and also creates a time within which you can take a break due to the amount of food you will consume.
The first advantage of eating late is better sleep. In a recent study, as found earlier, melatonin levels are likely to increase when a person eats later rather than earlier, which means that eating in the late afternoon may increase one’s melatonin levels for better sleep.
Additionally, eating in the afternoon or late evening is better for social functions. For instance, it is more appropriate to eat during dinner when everyone else is also having dinner than to eat large amounts during breakfast when everyone else is just having a simple meal.
Another benefit to eating in the late afternoon or evening is that it prevents the snacking times that are caused by nighttime hunger pangs. All of us have experienced that time of the night when we feel we have to take a snack. Taking a huge meal closer to nighttime can help reduce these hunger pangs thereby preventing nighttime snacking, leading to increased glycemic control.
In another study, it was found that the longer the overnight fast, the lower the BMI. Eating in the afternoon increases the period of the overnight fast as compared to eating in the morning, leading to a lower body mass Index.
The only caveat to eating in the evening is to make sure that your time of eating is not too close to your sleeping time. Nighttime eating close to the time of sleep has been known to have adverse effects on our bodies and our general health.
When deciding which time to eat while on OMAD, it is best to consider what work you do, your social activities as well as any physical activities. This is to help you eat on time so as to avoid hunger pangs that may disrupt your OMAD diet.
Also, it is best to consult with your nutritionist or dietitian to pave a better way for you and your lifestyle. Remember, if this system of fasting does not work for you, there are so many other diets out there or other systems of fasting that you can try out. Some of these include the 16:8 system where you fast for 16 hours and have an eight-hour window to eat.