by Nadia

Last Updated 10/01/2022

Want to know more about the OMAD Nigerian diet?

Well, you're in the right place. Because in the ultimate guide, you'll discover everything you need to know about the OMAD diet and more (Including a sample OMAD diet meal plan).

Let's get started right away...

Introduction to the OMAD diet 

OMAD (One-Meal-A-Day) is a type of intermittent fasting (IF) where one meal is typically consumed within 1 hour followed by fasting for 23 hours.

Fasting is the voluntary abstinence of food and sometimes drinks for a prescribed length of time. People fast for health, cultural and religious reasons. IF is a pattern of eating where people cycle between eating and fasting. The fasting window can last for a few hours or it can go on for days. 

There are two main reasons why people chose the OMAD approach. The first is to be in a caloric deficit and therefore lose weight. The second is to reap the benefits of fasting. 

OMAD for weight loss

No matter how efficient you are at eating, there is only so much you can consume in an hour.

Consuming less calories than is needed to keep us alive and for our physical activities will result in a caloric deficit and we will lose weight. In addition, adopting a clean eating (i.e. whole natural foods) approach will further increase the degree of caloric deficit, as these foods tend to be more filling and lower in calories.

Conversely, indulging in huge amount of unhealthy and high calorie meals and drinks could result in a caloric surplus and weight gain while still doing OMAD!

OMAD is generally not recommended by nutritionists and health professional due to the risks associated with this method of eating and the fact that you can attain the benefits through shorter fasting window and overall calorie restriction.

However, if you still have your mind set on doing OMAD what Nigerian meals can you eat?

what to eat on oMAD to lose weight

Firstly, OMAD is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. It is more a time restrictive pattern of eating.

So you can eat anything you like.

Some people combine it with a low-carb, ketogenic or balanced diet. The one meal can be breakfast, lunch or dinner (the most common choice).

For ease, instead of one big meal some people choose to consume two small meals close together. Essentially, there is flexibility, so do what works for you. 

You do not have to worry so much about portion size, so far you are eating whole nutrient dense foods. Instead eat to satiety, which is till you are “belle full!” and then stop!

I will stress that careful meal planning and meal prep is a must. It is important to consume a variety of nutrients.

Your meals should contain proteins (they keep you fuller for longer and helps to maintain muscle mass), energy and nutrient carbohydrates (they provide strength, fibre, vitamins and minerals) and healthy fat. See some examples below:

Proteins: beef, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, milk, yoghurt.

Energy Carbohydrates: garri, fufu, amala, yam, plantain, rice, beans, corn, oats. 

Nutrient Carbohydrates: ugu, bitter-leaf, okra, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, most fruits. 

Healthy Fat: avocado, ube, coconut, egusi, groundnut, cashew nut, palm oil, coconut oil. 

OMAD Nigerian Diet Meal Plan sample 

Here's a sample of a typical 5 day OMAD Nigerian meal plan:

DAY

23 Hours

1 Hour 

Day 1

Fast!

  • Yoghurt, Mango & Oats.
  • Eba with Egusi soup (with ugu, stockfish) & Chicken

Day 2

Fast!

  • Catfish / Mackerel pepper soup with boiled yam
  • Roasted corn & ube. And Pineapple.

Day 3

Fast!

  • Groundnut and garden eggs.
  • Beans with ugu, prawn stew and chicken, steamed 

Day 4

Fast!

  • Oranges (eat the pulp too).
  • Moimoi, eggs, slaw salad and a side of sardine. 

Day 5

Fast!

  • Pawpaw and whey protein shake.
  • Jollof rice with beef and roasted carrots and peppers tossed in coconut oil. 

OMAD for the benefits of fasting:

In the context of health, numerous benefits have been attributed to fasting, from improved metabolism to anti-aging. For this post, I will concentrate on the four benefits below. 

1. Reduction in blood sugar:

After a carbohydrate meal, our blood sugar level rises following its digestion. A hormone called insulin is released by the pancreas in response to the blood sugar increase.

Insulin acts as a “key” to unlock a door if you like in our cells. Cells are our building blocks; we are made up of trillions of cells. 

The sugar in the blood stream enters the cells through this open door and following a series of reactions inside the cells, energy is produced to keep us alive and functioning. At the same time blood sugar will normalise. Any surplus energy is converted to fat and stored around our body.

Inactivity and eating excessive food continuously over time can result in obesity and insulin resistance. 

Insulin resistance is when the “doors of the cells” will increasingly not open to insulin (the key). The blood sugar will remain high, and the pancreas works harder by releasing more insulin. If we carry on eating the same way, we can develop type 2 diabetes eventually. 

Type two diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, the high blood sugar is simply a symptom of the disease. Medical treatments focus on blood sugar reduction (symptom control), but you can treat the actual cause (the insulin resistance) right from your kitchen.

Fasting is one way to decrease insulin resistance and normalise blood sugar, thereby preventing type 2 diabetes and its many complications. Always consult your doctor if you suffer from a chronic medical condition to discuss your options and how to implement them safely.

2. Improved blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels:

Fasting in general has been shown to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

3. Reduce inflammation:

 Whenever we encounter a threat, be it a virus during a cold, bacteria infecting a wound we have or something we are allergic to, our body mounts an immune attack against these “invaders”.

This immune attack is an inflammatory process. As well as destroy the invaders, this inflammation also damages our body to a certain extent (like a collateral damage).

That is why the wound might be red, have pus and we may develop a fever. After a short while, we get better and everything goes back to normal. This short term (acute) inflammation is beneficial to us and allows us to heal.

Poor lifestyle choices (like eating excessive unhealthy foods, smoking etc.) can cause long term (chronic) inflammation.

Over months and years, this background chronic inflammation contributes to the development and progression of health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, cancers etc. IF can limit this chronic inflammation.

4. Improved brain function and productivity:

 IF has been reported to result in mental clarity and increased concentration, especially when practiced long enough for the body to get used to it.

One sure benefit of OMAD is that you will have more time to do other things. As you will be cooking less and spending less time eating. 

It is natural to daydream (a lot!) about food when fasting. Always plan your day to avoid wasting this precious time on mindless activities. Make a to-do-list but focus on one task at a time. Work in intervals and take adequate breaks in between.

To sum up the benefits of fasting:

Although IF can provide these benefits, they are not exclusive to IF only or prolonged fasting periods like OMAD. They can be attained through shorter fasting window, overall calorie reduction (but eating anytime) and increased physical activities. 

 You may notice that these problems (insulin resistance, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure) occur together, they fuel each other resulting in a vicious cycle of health deterioration.

They are grouped together and called “metabolic syndrome”. They significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In turn these cause many health complications and premature deaths.

However, you have the power to prevent and even reverse them.

Practical tips for a successful fast

  • Be mentally prepared, because you will need mental strength and self-discipline to resist the powerful urge that is hunger. 
  • Be mindful and address any bad habits you have around food, because simply switching to a new diet / eating plan without tackling them will sadly result in another failure. 
  • Hydration is paramount as thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Water, black tea, herbal tea and black coffee are usually acceptable, but you can vary this as you wish.
  • Replenish electrolyte. You can add salt / electrolyte powder to water.
  • Keep busy, boredom can be mistaken for hunger too.
  • Still engage in physical activities, even if it is walking. 
  • If you are a beginner, start off with shorter fasting windows like 12 or 16 hours and build up.
  • Make sure you get adequate sleep. 
  • Listen to your body and know when to stop. Excessive stress caused by the insistence to fast by fire or by force can be detrimental to health, weight loss and even reverse some of the positive benefits of fasting.

Can everyone fast?

Fasting is not safe for everyone. You should always consult your doctor if you are embarking on a prolonged fast or suffer from chronic health conditions. The following people should not fast:

  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • Children and teenagers up to 18 years old.
  • People with Type 1 diabetes as they are at risk of dangerous hypoglycaemia.
  • People known to have eating disorder.

What are the risks of OMAD and fasting in general?

  1. Getting all required nutrients in one meal is challenging. Therefore, doing OMAD in the long run could result in nutritional deficiencies and malnourishment.
  2. Excessive hunger can result in rebound binge eating and over consumption of food.
  3. Drastic calorie restriction can cause significant muscle loss. The holy grail of weight loss is to have maximal fat loss and minimal muscle loss.
  4. Irritability (as they say: a hungry man IS an angry man!).
  5. Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
  6. Physical symptoms related to hunger and hypoglycaemia (headache, fatigue, poor concentration, dizziness, fainting).
  7. As social creatures, our communal eating is a special and bonding experience. Continually missing out on this because you are doing OMAD can suck!

Conclusion 

Yes, fasting has benefits that extends beyond just losing weight. However, you will only reap the benefits of a program if you actually do it.

The truth is that many people are either unable or unwilling to fast. The best lifestyle modification is one that you can follow consistently and sustainably.

OMAD is an extreme form of IF that is simply not sustainable for a lot of people in the long run. It can cause nutritional deficiencies, rebound binge eating and loss of muscle mass.

You could still reap the benefits by fasting for shorter periods and or limiting OMAD to once or twice a week.

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