Proper food and nutrition are definitely one of the most important aspects when it comes to holistic wellness. However, intermittent fasting like OMAD diets can put one’s health on a big risk as a person only eats during that one-hour window in the span of 24 hours (including the time, you sleep).
Intermittent fasting has numerous variations – the 16/18 comprises fasting for 16 hours (for men), 14 hours (for women), and eating during 8-10 hour window or the 5:2 wherein one eats normally for 5 days of the week and limits the calorie intake to 500 – 600 calories for 2 days of the time period.
Intermittent fasting is believed to help lessen the risk of chronic disease, reduce weight, aid cardiovascular health and type 2 diabetes, it is also thought to bring in more discipline.
The spontaneous meal skips, wherein one skips meals when not hungry or eat-stop-eat (fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week), substitute day fasting, the warrior fast wherein one fast during the day and has a big meal at dinner.
The OMAD recently started trending when Twitter CEO John Dorsey opened up about OMAD being a part of his wellness routine. It has been touted as the new wellness regime by many celebrities claiming that it helps them keep more maintain weight, focused and is far easier to follow as the diet does not require you to keep a track of your calories. One is allowed to consume anything during the 1-hour eating window. There are also a lot of well-known Hollywood celebrities who claim to be on this particular diet.
The diet does convey an incorrect message as the human body is at a high risk of eating disorders like binge eating, where you binge eat in a short period of time and you starve all day or Anorexia/starvation where you limit yourself from eating to such a level of self-starvation. Those who are accustomed to messy eating are more likely to get away with it under the excuse of this diet.
The diet is tremendously limiting and it is not likely to meet the body’s day to day requirements of micro and macronutrients. As there is not enough intake of nourishments which your body requires, it is more likely to break down muscle for required strength, in addition, the diet also lacks to meet the body’s requirements of micronutrients. On the other end of the spectrum, starving all day could lead to binge eating calorie-dense foods during the one-hour eating window, which is also another form of disordered eating – Binge eating or hogging can also lead to malnutrition as your body doesn’t meet the daily requirements of micronutrients and minerals.
Wellness by meaning is being in a position of good health – Anemia (low iron levels), brittle hair and nails, irritability, brain fog, osteoporosis (weak bones – due to lack of calcium), low energy and constipation are certainly not the definition of wellness. It likens more towards malnutrition, which by definition is lack of proper nourishment, instigated by not consuming enough to eat and not eating enough of the right thing.
The human body has certain nutritive necessities to be able to function optimally, lack of nutrients or excessive intake have a disadvantageous effect on the body.
Disproportionate lack of physical activity and intake of calories is the main cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Controlled intake of food, on the other hand, causes a multitude of nutritional deficits as stated above like, osteoporosis, anaemia, memory loss, muscle weakness, fatigue and can also cause chaos with the body’s hormonal system resulting in amenorrhea in women (Missed menstruation/ absence of menstruation), infertility.
We are living in the digital age and are so inclined towards celebs and their lifestyles that we often leave common sense away and are in a haste to imitate their choices. Social media inappropriately only highlights the glamour and not the actual struggles. Celebs often have the resources and means to support them while on extreme diets. They have the accessibility to nutritionists, experts and chefs to fill in the gaps.
Inputs by Ms. Carlyne Remedios, Group Manager – Clinical Practices, Nutrition & Product Development – Digestive Health Institute by Dr. Muffi