woman intermittent fasting

Alternate Day Fasting Vs OMAD? Which should you use?


Alternate day fasting vs OMAD

Alternate day fasting is an intermittent fasting schedule that calls for 36-hours of fasting accompanied by a normal day of eating then fasting again.  Just like other intermittent fasting schedules, it comes with lots of health benefits and can help you lose weight too. Alternate day fasting has been praised for its weight loss effects, and it’s easy to see why. With this eating approach, you’re missing out on an entire day of eating. This helps you create and maintain a calorie deficit week after week allowing you to lose weight. A common alternate-day success story is that of Sumaya, a woman who lost 50 pounds in 8 months with alternate-day fasting.


OMAD, also known as the one meal a day diet, is another extreme intermittent fasting schedule that calls for 23-hours of fasting and 1-hour of eating. With this eating approach, all your food is consumed as part of one big meal. OMAD diet can help lose weight because there’s only so much you can eat within 1 hour. However, many critics say it’s likely that you’re not getting all the nutrients you need due to its limited eating window.

Days of the week

How to do alternate day fasting

With alternate day fasting, you fast for at least 36-hours before eating. If your last meal is an 8-pm dinner on Monday, your next meal will be after 36-hours, Wednesday at 8 am. On your eating day, you eat all your meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It’s very much a fast-eat–fast-eat approach. On fasting days, you’re only allowed zero-calorie drinks such as water, coffee, and tea. However, these have to be plain with no added sugar or creamer. As you’re missing out on several full days of eating, you can lose 2 pounds a week, if not more. Another way to get started is with the modified alternate-day fasting. This schedule allows you to eat at least 500-calories on your fasting day, about 20% – 25% of your total daily calories. This approach makes it easier for beginners to adjust their eating habits.

a big plate of food

How omad works

OMAD also known as one meal a day is an intermittent fasting schedule that calls for 23-hours of fasting and 1-hour of eating. Like other intermittent fasting schedules, it’s not about what you eat but about when you eat. On this diet, all your food is consumed as part of one big meal during your 1-hour eating window. During your fasting window, you are allowed zero-calorie drinks such as tea, coffee, and water. Staying hydrated is a good way to reduce hunger pangs and fatigue when fasting. Your one meal can either be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Experts recommend that you schedule it after your most active part of the day to avoid breaking your fast due to hunger. For example, if you go to the gym at 4 pm and are on the OMAD diet, it’s better to schedule your meal after your workout.


Alternate day fasting and weight loss

Alternate-day fasting is often praised for its quick weight loss effects because it helps create and maintain a calorie deficit. When eating on alternate day fasting, you’re missing out on a full day of eating several times every week.  For example, for someone eating about 1500 calories a day, with alternate-day fasting, they’re missing out on at least 3- 4 days. That’s a 4500 – 6000 calorie deficit.  To lose 1 lb, you need to burn at least 3500 calories. Alternate day fasting allows you to achieve this caloric deficit due to the many days you forego eating. Expect to lose at least two-pound every week.

woman measuring thigh with tape

OMAD and weight loss

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. You can do this by burning off extra calories consumed or limiting the number of calories you consume. With the OMAD diet, the number of calories you consume is limited due to the short 1-hour eating window available. There’s only so much you can eat within that 1-hour eating window. This is what allows you to lose as much as 2 pounds per week on the OMAD diet like other intermittent fasting schedules.


Alternate day fasting pros

  • Promotes weight loss

One of the reasons alternate day fasting is so popular is that it can help you lose weight. Studies have shown that this eating approach is just as effective as calorie reduction. With 36-hours of fasting, you’re going for a full day without food several times each week. This creates a calorie deficit that allows you to lose weight. Expect to lose at least two pounds every week. If you don’t like counting calories for weight loss, alternate day fasting is a better alternative. Here is one of the best alternate-day success stories from Sumaya, a woman who lost 50 pounds in 7-months with alternate-day fasting.


  • Autophagy

Autophagy is the process by which the body cleans out old cells to make room for new cells. Numerous studies have shown that intermittent fasting schedules such as alternate day fasting fasten this process. As a result, it delays and reduces the risk of diseases such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases.

woman clutching chest

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease.

According to a study done on participants over an 8 – 52 week period. Alternate day fasting led to a reduction of blood pressure and bad cholesterol. These are major contributing factors to heart disease especially for those who are overweight and obese.

OMAD diet pros

  • Can lead to easy weight loss

Most people will lose weight on the OMAD diet due to its short eating window. There is only so much food you can eat in 1-hour and this allows you to create a caloric deficit for weight loss. Also, keep in mind that as your body gets used to eating one meal a day, you end up eating less and less yet staying just as full.


  • Reduces risk of heart disease

OMAD like other intermittent fasting schedules has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing risk factors such as blood pressure and bad cholesterol.


  • Increased productivity

Ever been hit by the afternoon slump after lunch? You feel like doing nothing after your meal. With one meal a day, that will be a thing of the past especially if you schedule your meal earlier in the morning or late at night. In fact, you might find that your experience increased productivity with an empty stomach.

meal prep

  • Save time and money.

You will save money on your groceries with the omad diet. This is especially helpful for those trying to eat well on a budget as this approach saves you money. Your groceries will last longer with one meal a day. This is especially helpful for those trying to eat well on a budget as this approach saves you money. You only have to prepare one meal every day. Besides, you might find that you only need to cook a few times every week.


Alternate day fasting and omad cons

  • Not suitable for everyone

While both these schedules are safe, they’re not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women, those with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, underweight, children should not be using alternate-day fasting or OMAD


Alternate day fasting vs omad which is best?

AS both are different forms of intermittent dating, none is better than the other and it comes to your lifestyle. They’re both a great way to lose weight and boost your health.  If you’re working with a busy schedule with limited time to eat like those working a night shift, consider OMAD. If you have enough time to prepare all three meals, don’t want to fast daily, or want to lose a significant amount of weight, then alternate day fasting.

alternate day fasting vs omad