Whether you’re looking to lose body fat, maintain a healthy body weight, boost mental clarity, and increase energy, the keto diet can help in all of these areas.
As effective as the keto diet can be at helping the body burn body fat stores as sources of fuel rather than burning carbs, adding intermittent fasting into the mix can supercharge your progress.
Rather than going days without eating, intermittent fasting is based on the premise of going most of the day without eating, and only consuming food within a smaller window.
That way you’re still eating, but you’re allowing your body to remain in a fasted state for much longer periods of time in addition to the nighttime when you’re fast asleep.
More specifically, one meal a day is a good start to fasting on keto diet.
But is one meal a day worth the sacrifice? What are the benefits and drawbacks to such an approach?
Lets find out…
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting involves alternating cycles of eating and fasting, and studies have shown that it can be effective for weight loss, improved metabolic health, and even protection against disease.
Instead of focusing on the exact foods that are being eaten and the number of calories being consumed (though these are important factors to consider), intermittent fasting is more concerned with when food is eaten.
There are a number of different intermittent fasting methods and cycles that can be implemented, all of which either split the day (and sometimes the week) into eating and fasting periods.
You already fast every day – in your sleep.
Those eight hours of rest are essentially fasting periods because you’re not eating.
Instead, your body is not consuming any calories and is relying on either food you’ve eaten before bed or your fat stores for energy.
With intermittent fasting, you basically extend your nighttime fasting period.
A popular means of intermittent fasting is eating the last meal of the evening anytime between 6pm to 8pm, then not eating until the next day around 10am to 12pm.
This would involve a 16/8 method, which is a common intermittent fasting cycle. That means you’d fast for 16 hours, and eat during an 8-hour window.
Of course, you can alter this cycle.
Some people may go a full 24 hours without eating once or twice a week, then consume their weekly calories on the other 5 or 6 days.
Others might shorten their fasting cycle to 10 hours, while others still might choose to skip dinner then eat their next meal at breakfast.
Benefits of Eating One Meal a Day on Keto
There are few advantages of eating just one meal a day while on the keto diet, including the following:
1. Speed up fat loss.
On their own, both the keto diet and intermittent fasting have been shown to speed up fat loss. But put together, fat loss can be boosted even more.
Eating all calories of the day within a very restricted window of time can cause significant fat and weight loss, without really having to count calories.
While this type of intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, following a healthy keto diet can help speed up fat loss even more.
It’s certainly still important to follow a healthy diet while fasting.
2. Improves cognitive function.
Fasting for the better part of the day is also good for the brain.
Researchers have shown that fasting can boost a specific protein in the brain called BDNF, which has been shown to improve memory and learning and strengthen neural pathways.
As such, the brain is better able to operate quicker and more efficiently.
3. Stabilize blood sugar.
Some studies have linked fasting with better heart health and stabilized blood sugar levels thanks to reduced glucose levels and an improvement in insulin efficiency.
Drawbacks of Eating One Meal a Day
In addition to the potential benefits of eating just one meal a day, there are some risks and drawbacks, such as:
- Hunger pangs
- Lack of energy
- Inability to focus
- Increased likelihood to binge eat
Eating one meal a day is also not recommended for those with diabetes because of the dangers of blood sugar fluctuation.
Eating One Meal a Day on the Keto Diet
Consuming just one meal per day is basically a type of intermittent fasting. Rather than allowing yourself a specific window of time to eat your meals of the day, you focus solely on consuming all of your daily calories in one sitting.
If you’re allotted 1,800 calories per day, you’d eat all of those calories and fill all of your macro requirements in that one meal.
This type of meal plan promotes weight loss by restricting the time of day when you eat and how many meals you consume in one day.
The premise behind this approach is to restrict calories and take advantage of fasting during all other times of the day while still maintaining your required nutritional content.
By eating just one meal a day, your body will be able to maintain a constant state of burning fat.
When you eat the traditional 3 meals a day plus snacks, your body is basically always in a fed state, which is not conducive to burning body fat.
Instead, when that constant influx of calories is removed, your body will have to rely on its energy from other sources, including stored body fat.
The actual meal that you choose to eat really doesn’t matter and all depends on which meal of the day you prefer to enjoy. While dinner is often the more common meal to include, some people may choose breakfast or lunch as their one meal of choice.
While the concept of eating one meal a day on a regular diet might not be too focused on macros, this is something that is certainly of importance for the keto dieter.
Obviously, carbs should be minimized or avoided altogether in this one meal, while focusing more on healthy fats and fatty proteins.
One Meal a Day – Meal Plan For Keto Dieters
When following a keto diet, your macros should look a little something like this:
- 60% to 75% (or more) of calories from fat
- 15% to 30% of calories from protein
- 5% to 10% of calories from carbs
Of course, your goal will influence how these macros will be calculated.
For example, your macros with the intent to lose weight might be slightly different than your macros with the intent to maintain your current body weight.
If you are trying to lose weight, you’d be well advised to stick with a moderate calorie deficit of about 10% to 20% in the number of calories from the total calories needed to maintain your current weight.
The key is to maintain a state of ketosis while on this meal plan in order to continue to burn body fat for energy.
To do this, you’ll need to consume no more than 20 to 50 grams of net carbs per day, a moderate amount of protein, and high amounts of fat.
More specifically, consuming a maximum of 30 grams of net carbs or less per day will usually induce ketosis.
For someone who needs to consume 2,000 calories a day, for instance, a fat intake of 70% to 80% would be about 144g to 177g of fat every day, and about 70g to 100g of protein.
Micros can be a bit of an issue on the one meal a day meal plan. More specifically, keto dieters may tend to experience deficiencies in the following:
Since you’ve only got a limited period when you eat your food, that might not give you enough time to get all these nutrients in.
And because it’s more difficult to get these nutrients from your diet, it’s recommended to supplement them.
You may also want to take supplements such as fish oil and chlorella tablets, which are effective at reducing inflammation, flushing toxins out of your body, and improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Here are a couple of meals that you may want to try while on the one day a meal keto diet.
- Grilled or pan-fried steak (250g) – 689 calories, 62g protein, 48g fat
- 3 eggs (any style) – 240 calories, 18g protein, 5g fat
- Baked sweet potato with 2 tbsp olive oil – 326 calories, 26g carbs, 28g fat
- Sliced avocado – 322 calories, 29g fat
- 1 cup of kale with 1 tbsp of ranch dressing – 180 calories, 6g carbs, 16g fat
Total Calories: 1,976
Total Carbs: 32g
Total Protein: 80g
Total Fat: 152g
- Salmon with Cauliflower Rice – 647 calories, 24g protein, 51g fat, 10g carbs
- Eggs (sunnyside up) – 3 eggs (any style) – 240 calories, 18g protein, 5g fat
- Burger (125g) – 354 calories, 20g protein, 17g fat
- Caesar salad (400g) – 200 calories, 14g protein, 9g fat, 18g carbs
- Cauliflower rice (1 cup) with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt – 145 calories, 14g fat, 5g carbs
- Coffee with 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp coconut oil – 219 calories, 26g fat
Total Calories: 1,790
Total Carbs: 33g
Total Protein: 76g
Total Fat: 122g
There is certainly evidence to suggest that restricting your caloric intake to just one big meal per day can accelerate fat loss and provide you with other health benefits at the same time.
That said, there may also be a few risks that you should be wary of.
If you’re uncertain if this meal plan is right for you, consult with a physician, or start gradually with intermittent fasting, steadily decreasing your feeding window until you manage to fuel your body with just one meal a day.