One Meal A Day Diet: Know If It Works For Weight Loss

Medically reviewed by G. Liakeas, MD FACT CHECKED

Food is the most crucial part of our lives. A human requires food to stay fit and alive. Food breaks down into other nutrients to fuel the body’s energy.

Hence, eating the right amount of food is very important. On a usual basis, human beings eat three meals a day.

These meals act as the energy source for our body to work well. As time evolves, the requirements of a person increase.

The same happens with the appetite needs of a person. That is why people tend to become obese. There are a million ways to cure yourself of obesity.

All these methods range from easy to hardcore. One such method includes eating one day a meal diet.

People follow this popular method to improve their health and reduce weight. This method of reducing calorie intake is very beneficial for people.

This article will discuss this popular calorie-restricting method, widely known as one meal a day diet.

1 Meal A Day Diet

One can follow many types of fasting diets to reduce weight. One such diet includes one meal a day.

The core responsibility of such a diet is to create a calorie deficit in the body.

This way, the body will adapt to the new practices and draw energy from available sources in the body.

In this type of diet, a person tends to consume a certain kind of meal each day just once.

After the consumption of the meal, the individual fasts for the whole day. It is generally designed as a one-hour eating window with the rest of 23 hours of fasting.

In this diet, the person has short energy consumption periods. This teaches the body to draw energy from all the available resources in the body.

One meal a day diet is also known as the warrior diet. In this diet, a person can follow the food-eating regime in different ways.

You can consume a meal once a day and spend the rest of the day fasting. Consuming a single meal a day could adjust metabolic flexibility.

It could do so when the individual is involved in physical activity which may increase fat oxidation in the body.

Alternatively, you can also consume a very small fraction of light food items throughout the day alongside the staple one meal a day.

A little easier or more relaxed version allows one meal a day and occasional drinks like green tea or black coffee in the fasting hours.

One Meal A Day Diet And Weight Loss

To lose weight, one needs to create a calorie deficit in the body, which helps reduce fat. This approach is used in every diet plan.

The same is the case with one meal a day, which is very hardcore with the fundamentals.

This is why people that follow one meal a day diet reduce weight faster than any other person.

The sad part is that studies have shown that this method is not more efficient than all the other traditional methods used to reduce weight.

Another unfortunate finding is that this type of fasting also has many side effects.

Benefits Of One Meal A Day Diet

Now that we have talked about all the bad effects of a one-meal-a-day diet, it is time to focus on the benefits that this diet can provide us.

Besides weight loss, this diet can help reduce sugar levels even for people facing type 2 diabetes.

It can also help you reduce any sort of problem-related to heart disease and prevent them. One meal a day diet can easily help you reduce bad cholesterol in your blood veins.

A study has also proven that One meal a day diet can help you reduce problems related to neurodegeneration and further provide longevity.

The only problem is that the study is still in the testing phase. These benefits are noted to be very effective with fasting and not one meal a day.

Side Effects Of One Meal A Day Diet

A one-meal-a-day diet is a very good way to reduce your weight, but it has few side effects.

All these side effects are because of restricting your diet to a very less amount of calories in food.

A study has suggested that this can oppositely affect your insulin. Due to this, you may have to suffer from extreme hunger, fatigue, and stress.

The reason behind it is only the increased amounts of ghrelin in your body.

You may also stay irritated throughout and lack focus.

Also, as eating more amounts of bad food can increase your blood sugar, eating fewer amounts of food can also reduce your blood sugar.

This can further cause hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a medical term to define a condition in which the blood sugar level of your body falls drastically lower than a healthy level.

Besides this, there are many side effects that this certain practice can hold. All these side effects can be mild or harsh. All such side effects include-

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability in stomach
  • Low energy levels
  • Constipation

Who Should Not Follow One Meal-A-Day Diet?

While this certain diet plan is followed by a lot of people and is recommended by many, it may not suit a lot of people.

Thus, people with eating disorders, teens, children, pregnant women, and older adults should avoid using this method to reduce their weight.

Children and teens should not follow this dieting method because they need a lot of nutrients in their bodies to sustain their health and grow better.

Using one meal a day diet will stop their growth and become a limitation to their health.

Following this meal for them can cause many major problems and improper neurological development in the coming time.

On the other hand, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should avoid one meal a day diet because they need to provide nutrients to the developing baby inside them.

Following this diet can be harmful to both the baby and the mother.

Older adults also require a lot of nutrition to stay fit and healthy. They need more macronutrients to sustain living processes.

They are also at a higher risk of osteoporosis, muscle mass loss, and deficiencies.

So, they are recommended to keep away from one meal a day diet to avoid any complications or health hazards.

Foods To Consume

Now because you are consuming one meal a day, you need to remember that eating any type of food will not help you reduce weight, but rather provide you with more problems.

Consumption of bad food will end up causing major problems anyway.

Therefore, consuming only certain types of food is highly recommended while opting for one meal a day diet.

  • You should stick to the basic healthy food in this diet which includes fruits like bananas, and cherries.
  • Grapes, mangoes, watermelon, and pineapples should be consumed in limited amounts due to high GI.
  • Green leafy vegetables like kale, Broccoli or cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, asparagus, and pepper.
  • Other veggies can be carrots, sweet potato, white potato with peel, and beetroot.
  • Also try to fill up your plate with vegan protein sources like tofu, mushrooms, and beans.
  • Include animal fat sources like full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, bacon, and poultry.
  • Dairy-based products also have plant-based substitutes like cashew milk, coconut milk, or unsweetened yogurt.
  • Legumes that fit in perfectly are chickpeas, black beans, and lentils.
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and melon seeds are also great to add nutrition and variety to the meal.
  • Some whole grains like brown rice, millet, barley, and quinoa are fine to be consumed in one meal a day diet.
  • Other healthy vegan fat sources are almond butter, olive oil, peanut butter, and sunflower oil.
  • To beat the monotony and add flavor, top up your food with herbs and spices like mint, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, coriander, chili flakes, rosemary, ginger, fennel, and many more.
  • As far as drinks and beverages are concerned, stick to plain water or lemonade. 
  • You can also go for animal protein-rich sources like chicken, beef, and egg.

Foods To Avoid

It is best to avoid fast food items, soda, white bread, sugary cereals, chips, and junk food.

It is only recommended to stick to healthy food items available at home.

This is because you need to restrict yourself to calorie consumption and fast food items provide a huge amount of calories even when consumed in a single meal a day.

Other sources of food to avoid may include-

  • Stay away from soy and high-fat meats
  • Go for plain and unflavored yogurt
  • Avoid high-GI fruits and canned fruits
  • Do not opt for cashew nuts, butter, and mayonnaise
  • Skip processed foods like sausage, jams, and jellies
  • Avoid canned foods like peas, meats, and tomatoes
  • White rice should not be consumed or can be consumed in moderation. 


Eating a single meal a day is a very popular diet that people follow to reduce weight in less time.

These meals follow the simple fundamentals of fasting throughout the day to reduce weight through calorie restriction.

While fasting has been proven to have major benefits for the body, the same cannot be said for one meal a day diet.

While a one-meal-a-day diet provides results in less time, it has not proven to be as efficient as other traditional methods to lose weight through calorie restriction.

People who wish to start their weight loss journey this way must be very careful about their health and should rather opt for consuming a small number of food items throughout the day after a single meal.

Opting for this method in any other way than recommended could be catastrophic for a person’s health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *