Since its development in France over 30 years ago, the Dukan diet has grown to become one of the most popular diets in the world. A best-selling book released in 2000 by its developer, nutritionist Pierre Dukan, and rave reviews from high-profile celebrities have helped raise the profile of the Dukan diet internationally. Dukan claims that the diet can achieve dramatic results, without requiring dieters to go hungry or count calories, but some experts are not convinced. Here are the facts about the Dukan diet.
How it works
Similar to the Atkins diet, the Dukan diet is centered on consuming the right kinds of protein, while avoiding most other types of foods. Dieters can eat as much as they want and as often as they want, as long as it’s lean protein (fish, low-fat dairy, white meat turkey, beans. Unlike the Atkins diet, however, you must cut out fats in addition to carbohydrates, but for a much shorter time period. Like most other diets, the Dukan diet is split into distinct phases. During the early stages, dieters can lose as much as one or two pounds per day, which helps to instill long-lasting sense of determination. There are, however, some unpleasant side effects associated with the diet, including bad breath, fatigue, dry mouth and constipation. Anyone considering trying out the Dukan program should consult a doctor before making any drastic changes to their diet.
Dubbed the “attack” phase, this is perhaps the most difficult of the four stages. In this phase, dieters can eat as much lean protein as they want, as well as a liter-and-a-half of water and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran. There are 72 different lean protein rich foods to choose from, including various types of meats, fish, eggs, soy and non-fat dairy.
After losing between 4.4 and 6.4 pounds, dieters enter the second phase, known as the “cruise” stage. Similar to the “attack” phase, dieters are allowed to eat a limitless amount of lean proteins, along with 2 tablespoons of oat bran daily, but they can now also consume as much of the 28 recommended non-starchy vegetables as they wish. During this phase, individuals should ideally be losing around 2.2 pounds per week.
Once you’ve reached your target weight, it’s time to begin the “consolidation” phase. This stage is not about losing extra pounds, but instead focuses on transitioning you into a position where you can maintain your current weight. Fruit, vegetables, bread, cheese and starchy foods are reintroduced into your daily diet, and two special “celebratory” meals can also be consumed each week.
The final phase of the Dukan diet is designed to help you stay healthy and slim permanently. According to Dr. Dukan, dieters can eat virtually whatever they want during the “stabilization” phase, but must follow three simple rules: eat one tablespoon of oat bran per day, choose to take the stairs whenever possible, and have one pure-protein day each week to help keep you on track.