What Is the Omni Diet?

Omni diet

Verywell / Debbie Burkhoff

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At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and take the whole person into consideration. Prior to starting a new diet plan, consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

The Omni Diet is a six-week plan that claims to boost your health and aid in quick weight loss. Nurse Tana Amen developed the Omni Diet after years of struggling with nutrition and health. She says that despite eating foods she’d grown up thinking were healthy, she still dealt with nutrition-related discomforts, such as bloating, fatigue, and skin breakouts.

The overarching promise of the Omni Diet? Lose 12 pounds in two weeks. While the Omni Diet mostly emphasizes healthy eating patterns, as well as exercise, most experts and public health organizations recommend you only lose 1 to 2 pounds of body weight each week. Weight loss at a faster rate can indicate an underlying health condition or lead to a rebound after the diet is over. 

What Experts Say

“The Omni diet recommends both plant-based foods and protein foods to spur weight loss and prevent disease. Experts agree this can promote good health—but note that eliminating most grains and dairy may be too restrictive and requires additional attention to certain nutrients.”

Chrissy Carroll, RD, MPH

What Can You Eat?

The Omni Diet is similar to the flexitarian diet in that it emphasizes mostly plants, and to the paleo diet in that it eliminates grains and dairy. Amen claims that “the balance of 70% plant-based foods and 30% protein restores energy, slashes the risk of disease, optimizes brain and hormone functioning, produces dramatic weight loss, and promotes health from the inside out.” The plan omits dairy and gluten and only includes organic, hormone-free, and anti-inflammatory foods. 

Amen’s “Omni Golden Rule” is to eat 70/30 for 90/10: Eat 70% plant-based and 30% protein-based foods, 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time, you can give yourself some nutritional leeway.

What You Need to Know

You’ll follow a six-week plan with phases on the Omni Diet. Phases 1 and 2 are the most restrictive. Each phase is two weeks long. Exercise is also a required part of the Omni Diet plan, starting in Phase 2.

  • Phase 1: Follow the food list and avoid all other foods. Fruit is limited to 1/2 cup per day. You will drink a meal replacement smoothie (the Omni Diet green smoothie preferred) once per day, consisting vegetables to fruit in a 4-to-1 ratio, healthy fat, and 20 to 30 grams of protein. At all other times, prioritize water as a beverage. Protein should be consumed every 3 or 4 hours and make up 30% of your diet in the form of mainly lean meats. Amen also urges sauna sessions twice per week for so-called detox purposes.
  • Phase 2: Similar to Phase 1 except approved, unprocessed desserts without added sugar or white flour are allowed. You will add a 30 minute walk and work up to the provided full-body workouts.
  • Phase 3: In this phase, you can stray from the diet occasionally as long as you follow it 90% of the time. Amen suggests eating only 3 bites of foods not on the approved list, if you must, although this is generally discouraged. Two 5-ounce glasses of wine per week can be consumed, although also is not recommended. This phase is two weeks, but is recommended to be followed for the long-term.

Amen’s book doesn’t specify meal timing, so you should eat when you’re hungry. You may find it helpful to stick to your current eating timeline, as switching both meal contents and meal timing all at once can be stressful and overwhelming. Most people do well with three large meals per day or five to six smaller meals. The best regimen will be one that suits your schedule and keeps you satiated throughout the day.

The Omni Diet gets really restrictive, really quickly. It might be hard for some people to completely turn over their diets and avoid foods they’re used to eating regularly. If that sounds like you, try eliminating foods one at a time before you start Phase 1 of The Omni Diet. 

What to Eat
  • Fresh vegetables except white potatoes

  • Moderate amounts of fruit, particularly berries

  • Naturally raised lean meat and poultry

  • Eggs

  • Beans and lentils

  • Herbs and spices

  • "Super foods" such as maca root and goji powder

  • Coconut, almond, olive, grapeseed oil

What Not to Eat
  • Dairy

  • Grains and gluten

  • White potatoes

  • Sugar

  • Soy

  • Corn

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Alcohol

Naturally Raised Lean Meat and Poultry

On the Omni Diet, you’ll eat grass-fed beef and free-range poultry. There’s limited evidence that grass-fed beef is healthier than grain-fed beef, as well as that free-range poultry is better for you than its conventional counterpart. 

Eggs

You can eat eggs on the Omni Diet, but they must be cage-free. There’s some evidence that cage-free eggs are healthier, but regular eggs still offer plenty of health benefits. 

‘Superfoods'

This group of foods is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, two cornerstones of the Omni Diet. And remember that you don't necessarily have to seek out exotic ingredients like goji berries. Many more familiar foods, like blueberries and broccoli, can also be considered "superfoods."

Coconut, Almond, Olive, Grapeseed Oil

These healthy oils will give your food flavor and help you feel full Plus, healthy oils with omega-3s and omega-6s are known to keep your brain and heart healthy. Amen also recommends taking supplements, including a daily multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics.

Sugar

High sugar consumption is linked to several chronic conditions, including obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Added sugar can also cause day-to-day symptoms like bloating, headaches, fatigue and difficulty focusing, and skin breakouts. 

Soy

There’s a great debate about soy: It’s a known allergen, and many diets encourage people to avoid soy because of its supposed harmful effects (most of which have been refuted), but soy is also known to help build muscle and contain all 9 essential amino acids.

Corn

Another common allergen, corn, is rich in carbohydrates and fiber but low in protein and fat. It’s a relatively fast-digesting carb, which makes it good post-workout food. The Omni Diet suggests avoiding corn because it may spike your blood sugar, especially if eaten alone.

Alcohol

You can’t drink alcohol during Phase 1 of the Omni Diet, and Amen urges you to skip it during Phase 2 as well. If you drink alcohol in Phase 2 and beyond, Amen encourages you to limit yourself to two glasses of wine or cocktails per week. Beer and other alcoholic beverages containing gluten aren’t allowed in any phase.  

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Emphasizes fruits and veggies

  • Teaches you to make healthy food decisions

  • Relatively simple

  • Encourages exercise

Cons
  • Difficult to start and not very sustainable

  • May interfere with social and family life

  • May lead to a weight rebound

  • Unnecessarily cuts out food groups

  • Expensive

Pros

Focuses on Healthy Foods

The Omni Diet encourages a high consumption of healthy foods, especially vegetables, that will provide plenty of nutrients and fiber. The diet omits processed foods, so you won't be eating foods high in sodium, unhealthy fats, and sugars.

Relatively Simple

Even though the Omni Diet is pretty restrictive, it’s not necessarily difficult to follow. The rules are hard and fast. Focus on produce and lean protein, and you’re good to go. 

Encourages Exercise

The Omni Diet encourages physical activity. Many diet plans leave this critical component of health out of the picture. The Omni Diet provides exercise guidelines throughout the six weeks, starting with walking and leading up to a full-body workout. 

Cons

Difficult to Start and Not Sustainable

Switching to the Omni Diet may feel like a major leap from your regular diet, particularly if dairy, grains, and packaged foods are currently staples. But restrictions ease as you move through the phases. 

May Interfere With Social and Family Life

The Omni Diet requires you to cut out many foods that are integral to the typical American diet, and those foods will undoubtedly show up at social events. You can try eating before you go to an event, or bringing your own food. If you’re going to a restaurant, look up the menu beforehand to find something compliant. 

Expensive

Amen encourages Omni dieters to purchase grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, free-range eggs, and all-organic ingredients. It’s true that these types of foods might have small benefits compared to conventional foods, but they can get pricey.

Is the Omni Diet a Healthy Choice for You?

The Omni Diet guidelines align well with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations on food and nutrition, but the Omni Diet is a bit more restrictive. Both recommend consuming plenty of vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and healthy fats.

The USDA recommends eating dairy, while the Omni Diet does not. Gluten-containing grains are completely avoided on the Omni Diet regardless of whether or not you have a sensitivity or allergy. The USDA does not differentiate between gluten-free and gluten-containing grains. As well, the USDA suggests limiting your sugar intake while the Omni Diet requires outright avoidance of sugar.

No matter what diet you choose to follow, it's important to know how many calories you should be consuming each day if you hope to lose weight or maintain a weight loss. Most people need around 2,000 calories per day. Women and children may need less, while men and very active people (male or female) may need more. Your age, height, weight, genetics, occupation, and physical activity level all play a role in your calorie needs. This weight loss calorie goal calculator can help you determine your daily caloric needs.  

The Omni Diet is relatively healthy with its focus on unprocessed, whole foods that are highly nutritious. However, many people may find it too restrictive and unsustainable.

Health Benefits

Emphasizes Fruits and Veggies

On the Omni Diet, the bulk of your meals will consist of produce, fresh or cooked. You have free reign here: Stock up on leafy greens, cruciferous veggies (like broccoli and cauliflower), squash, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, bananas, apples, and more. All of these foods provide essential macronutrients and micronutrients, which may help improve overall health.

Teaches You to Make Healthy Food Decisions

By forcing you to avoid processed foods, the Omni Diet will teach you to purchase, cook, and enjoy healthier foods. It also provides a reminder that physical activity and dietary changes go hand-in-hand for successful weight loss and maintenance.

Health Risks

May Lead to a Weight Rebound

Diets with a specific start and end date can lead to the yo-yo effect. Anyone can lose weight quickly for a short period of time, but many people tend to regain all the lost weight—if not more—when the diet is over. The real challenge is maintaining your weight loss after the diet ends. 

Unnecessarily Cuts Out Food Groups

Some people have food allergies or sensitivities to dairy and gluten, but most people do not. For the majority of Americans, gluten and dairy have a healthy and important place in their diets. Many nutritious whole grains contain gluten, and dairy provides calcium and vitamin D, among other nutrients.  

A Word From Verywell

The Omni Diet encourages people to make better food choices, but it unnecessarily cuts out major food groups. While some people do need to avoid dairy and/or gluten, most people don’t, and those two food groups can be part of a healthy diet. 

Additionally, the Omni Diet may be difficult to start and stick to if you’re used to eating a typical American diet. If you decide to try the Omni Diet, you should consider consulting with a registered dietitian or your physician to make sure you don’t leave any gaps that could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Remember, following a long-term or short-term diet may not be necessary for you and many diets out there simply don’t work, especially long-term. While we do not endorse fad diet trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we present the facts so you can make an informed decision that works best for your nutritional needs, genetic blueprint, budget, and goals.

If your goal is weight loss, remember that losing weight isn’t necessarily the same as being your healthiest self, and there are many other ways to pursue health. Exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle factors also play a major role in your overall health. The best diet is always the one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.

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