May 19, 2022

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Fast forward- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: It was in February 2021 when Spoorthy MN, 49, weighed nearly 200 kg and had intense obesity. In about nine months, his weight dropped down to 137 kg and if you thought he achieved that by going to the gym or trying some other fitness activity, you guessed wrong. Architect Spoorthy’s weight-loss regime included long-interval fasting with only liquids and gradually moved on to one meal a day, or popularly known as OMAD. 

While the pandemic has seen some people binge eat and gain weight, there were others who decided to lose weight by eating less. Going beyond gyms, people are now adopting the OMAD model to lose weight. While the eating time per day is just one hour, the remaining hours are spent by drinking black coffee or green tea. However, health experts warn it can cause serious health consequences in the ‘long-run’ leading to acidity, hunger pangs and behavioural changes. 

Dr Ramana Krishnan, founder of The Fasting Studio, a Bengaluru-based studio that addresses health disorders through fasting, mentions that at least eight out of 10 people who signed up during the pandemic have adopted the OMAD strategy. 

According to Krishnan, it is fairly convenient for an individual to reduce eating a number of times than to reduce the quantity of eating. 

“OMAD is mostly about calorie restriction. It is one of the faster ways of losing weight but it is advised to take it up only after 21 years of age. The larger idea here is — eating less number of times can increase the longevity of your life, prevent metabolic disorders and also help you control your blood sugar levels,” says Krishnan.

Bhawna Nand, a member of The Fasting Studio, has been following this model for 10 months. “I was suffering from arthritis and I had to lose weight. Since going to the gym did not work for me, I decided to take up OMAD. I now have my meal between 4 pm and 5 pm,” says the 47-year-old, who also runs and practises boxing in the mornings.

Suchithra Deepkiran, 31-year-old working professional, adopted OMAD in August 2021. “After my pregnancy, I weighed over 100 kg. I suffered from PCOD and fatty liver issues. I tried allopathic medicine which didn’t work. Hence, I decided to adopt a natural process of fasting and took up OMAD,” she says.

“I eat rice or chapati between 7 and 8 pm and for the rest of the day, I drink green tea or black coffee,” adds Deepkiran. 

Meanwhile, Spoorthy has survived on liquids for over three months. “I took up long interval fasting for 110 days, post which I adopted the OMAD strategy where I eat only after it goes dark. Being a non-vegetarian, I also stopped eating meat now, ” he says. 

It might have resulted in a positive way for these folks, but nutritionists aren’t fully convinced. They believe that OMAD cannot be a lifelong habit because when a person quits the OMAD model and goes 
back to normal eating habits, the body will not be ready to adapt easily, therefore causing health problems. 

Laxmi Pandrala, sports and wellness nutritionist, founder CEO of lami.fit, says,  “I don’t find the science behind eating one meal a day or intermittent fasting valid. It is advised to stay physically fit with exercises and reduce calories rather than adopting the OMAD strategy forever. Using supplements to suppress your hunger levels is a worry. OMAD in the long run can cause gut issues, irritability and also increases your fasting sugar levels.” 

The OMAD Model

Pros:  

  • Increases longevity of life
  • Weight loss  
  • Prevents metabolism disorders

Cons:  

  • Increases fasting sugar levels  
  • Irritability  
  • Gut issues

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2022/jan/26/fast-forward-2411297.html