Dieting: The risks and advantages of eating one meal a day?

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Dieting: The risks and advantages of eating one meal a day?
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The “one meal a day” diet is becoming increasingly popular.  It is based on the idea of intermittent fasting. Of course if you don’t eat then you will lose weight.  However do the risks outweigh the advantages of this type of diet? 

Only one meal per day

Like all intermittent fasting the one meal a day diet involves alternating between a period of eating and a period of not eating.  It is a 23 : 1 ratio meaning that you go 23 hours without eating anything and then eat and drink for one hour per day.  This is the time that you can consume all you calories, vitamins and essential nutrients you need.

Often people following this diet choose the evening meal as they prefer to share food with their family.  However after this meal you need to wait until the next night until you can eat again.

During the moment when the fasting stops you can stuff yourself full and binge eat.  The majority of people eat what they want while others choose food that are rich in nutrients and essential vitamins.

You can also read: Is fasting good for your health?

Benefits for the one meal a day diet

Those who are used to this type of diet claim there are many benefits over and above the quick weight loss.

The biggest benefit of the diet is that it is easy to follow as you don’t have to count calories. You don’t have to feel like you have cheated as there are no forbidden foods.

Currently there are no (or few) studies that look into the advantages of an intermittent fasting diet practiced by women. Studies mainly look at men. However, the nutritional needs between men and women are different.

However, these studies show intermittent fasting helps to:

  • Lower blood sugar level and weight loss for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Positive effects of the food consumption and sleeping patterns of obese people; 
  • Possible beneficial effects of the heart and memory. 
poids balance obésité régime
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What are the risks with this type of diet

Although there may be some advantages of following a one meal a day diet or intermittent fasting, these diets are extreme.  They can also present many risk factors including:

  • Eating disorders
  • Trembling;
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Irritability;
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased cholesterol levels. 

These risks are even greater if the person has underlying health problems. For example, this diet is not recommended for people suffering from hypoglycemia as they must eat regularly so as to avoid an attack.
In addition some studies question the rapid weight loss. In terms of other diets the weight loss is the same. Binge eating for an hour per day means that the amount you eat is not necessarily different from other more regular diets that calorie count.

Last words

Today there are loads of diets that you can chose from.  They are all different so obviously they are not going to suit everyone.  If you want to start an extreme diet it is best to speak with your doctor or even better a nutritionist.

Food is good for our mind and body.  Often if you miss someone or are feeling down we eat to make us feel better.  If you are considering following a one meal a day diet make sure you have the emotional support behind you at home.  If you deprive yourself of food you could easily spiral into a complicated emotional frame of mind whether it is depression, anxiety, tiredness or jealousy.


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