A Comprehensive Review of the Omni Diet
The Omni diet was introduced in 2013 as an alternative to the heavily processed Western diet. The Western diet plays a critical role in the rise of chronic diseases.
The Omni diet is designed to restore energy levels, reverse chronic disease symptoms, and may even help you shed off at least 12 pounds in a couple of weeks.
The Omni diet has been criticized for being heavily restrictive, but there are reports of positive results. So, it is no surprise that one may wonder whether this diet may work for them.
You should note one thing: never confuse the Omni diet with the Omnitrition diet. Both are separate dietary programs with unique protocols.
This article highlights the benefits of the Omni diet, its downsides, and whether or not it is backed by science.
What is the Omni diet?
The Omni diet is the brainchild of Tana Amen, a registered nurse who struggled with chronic health issues and thyroid cancer. These health conditions plagued Tana at the age of 23.
In her 30s, Tana had battled several health conditions, including insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, high cholesterol, and chronic fatigue. After receiving tons of medications, Amen decided to take complete control of her health, which led to the development of the Omni diet.
Amen was a staunch supporter of the vegetarian lifestyle. But she realized that her cholesterol and insulin levels were not improving. In addition, most of the vegetarian foods she was eating were heavily processed with a vast list of artificial ingredients.
After a while, she switched to the other end by adopting a grain-free, sugar-free, and animal-protein diet. Although her energy levels came up, she still felt she was deficient in certain plant nutrients.
Finally, Tana focused on a balanced approach that allowed moderate consumption of animal and plant foods – also referred to as a flexitarian diet.
The Omni diet emphasizes an intake of 30% protein and 70% plant foods. Yes, protein is a macronutrient from animal and plant sources, but the Omni diet primarily refers to proteins like lean meats.
The Omni diet includes animal and plant products, but it is heavily restrictive. For instance, artificial sweeteners, potatoes, corn, soy, sugar, gluten, and dairy are not permitted.
Tana Amen claims that the Omni diet has transformed many lives by reducing symptoms of chronic disease, decreasing inflammation, eliminating or reducing symptoms of chronic disease, improving fullness, and optimizing cerebral function.
Phases of the Omni diet
The Omni diet is a diet program with a six-week timeline consisting of three phases. The first and second phases are highly restrictive, while the third phase is a weaning phase that permits the reintroduction of foods.
The first phase focuses on weaning off the Standard American Diet (SAD). SAD consists mainly of high fat, heavily processed, and high sugar foods.
The rules of the diet include:
- Avoiding all foods on the forbidden list
- Eating only foods that are allowed on the diet
- Eating protein every 3 – 4 hours
- Avoid desserts
- Eat no more than ½ cup serving of fruit every day.
- Drink more water than other beverages
- Detox your system at least twice a week at the sauna
- Take a smoothie designed to replace your meals – specifically the Omni Diet green smoothie.
During the first two weeks of the diet, you will eat only from a list of permitted foods. After that, you are not to eat any food not written on the list. Your diet will consist of 30% protein and 70% plant food. The protein is primarily lean meats.
The ratio of vegetables to fruits in smoothies should be no less than 4-to-1. Ideally, you may restrict fruit intake. Instead, eat healthy fat and no less than 20 – 30 grams of protein. The recipes are documented in “The Omni Diet” book.
Strive to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water every day. However, your water intake should not exceed 100 ounces per day. For instance, a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) should drink 2.2 liters (75 ounces) of water per day.
Finally, the Omni diet plan encourages the intake of daily supplements, such as magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3, and probiotics.
During the second phase, you are encouraged to adhere to the rules of the first phase but can also eat unprocessed desserts that don’t contain white flour or added sugar.
Daily exercise is also recommended. The diet creators recommend a daily 30-minute walk which should gradually be increased to a 30-minute full-body workout.
The third phase is a 2-week phase. Again, there is more flexibility in terms of food choices. It also doubles as the last stage of the program. As long as you are adhering strictly to the diet rules, you may eat 10% of foods from the restricted list. However, this is discouraged.
Those who wish to indulge must follow the three-bite rule, which involves taking three bites of a restricted food, munching it, and discarding the rest.
Dieters may reintroduce alcohol, but it is discouraged. You may drink two 5-ounce glasses of wine weekly, but you must avoid alcoholic beverages that contain gluten or sugar. Examples include mixed cocktails or beer.
You can enjoy food during celebrations, such as weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays. But you should plan ahead and only enjoy ONE forbidden food. Then, you should not feel guilty about whatever choice you make.
This phase should be followed for two weeks at the last but ideally indefinitely.
Foods to include on the Omni diet
- Non-starchy vegetables like artichokes, arugula, avocado, bell peppers, beets, bok choy, onions, radishes, lettuce, and kale.
- Meat, poultry, and fish
- Protein powder – rice protein powder or sugar-free pea.
- Fat and oils from plant sources like coconut, almond, grapeseed, olive oils, and macadamia nuts. The oils must be cold-pressed, organic, and unrefined.
- Herbs and spices, both fresh and dried.
- Flours made of seeds and nuts
- Raw unsalted nuts and seeds
- Beverages – green tea, water, unsweetened plant milk such as hemp, coconut, almond, and rice.
- Small amounts of stevia extract.
Foods to limit on the Omni diet
- Non-gluten grains
- Cooking oils such as ghee, corn, canola, safflower, and vegetable oils
- Plant protein – all lentils and beans must be dried, soaked overnight, and cooked before eating.
Foods to avoid on the Omni diet
- Vegetables like white potatoes
- Carbohydrates – simple carbs and grains
- Animal protein – ham, pork, commercially raised poultry and beef, farm-raised fish, and processed meats.
- Dairy products
- Plant protein
- Corn-based products – corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, popcorn, and corn chips.
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed food
- Beverages – all juices, lemonade, energy drink, regular and diet sodas, and fruit punch.
- Genetically-modified foods
What are the potential benefits of the Omni diet?
The Omni diet encourages the intake of more whole, unprocessed foods linked to better health and weight management. The diet also encourages paying attention to your natural hunger cues while embracing a holistic health approach.
The Omni diet is highly restrictive, inaccessible, and expensive to many groups of people. In addition, the Omni diet claims to encourage a balanced lifestyle, but in reality, it promotes disordered eating behavior and a diet-centric approach.
The Omni diet is trendy, no thanks to its claim as a balanced approach to eating.
It embraces a holistic lifestyle consisting of the consumption of whole foods, regular exercise, managing stress, and other healthy behaviors. These may help with weight loss, mainly if you are not used to this lifestyle.
But it is also important to note that the Omni diet has many restrictions not supported by science, making it more difficult to follow in the long term.