The Dukan Diet was developed by French nutritionist and medical doctor Pierre Dukan over ten years ago and has gained incredible popularity since its creation.

To maintain a healthy life it is essential that you actively monitor your body weight and if it’s higher than it should be, follow steps to bring it to a level within the boundaries of your ideal weight. However, there’s no doubt that the culture we live in does not make it easy to maintain your ideal weight, so for many people a diet plan is the only option.

Losing weight, staying slim

Diets that work are few and far between and those that do appear to work are often diets for quick weight loss only and which don’t help people to sustain their weight loss in the long run. Keeping weight off is a characteristic that only the best diet plans have.

The Dukan Diet is a rare exception amongst diet plans. It helps you to lose weight quickly – during the first two phases – and to sustain the weight loss in the long run – the final phases. However, this low carb/high protein diet plan won’t work to full effect if you don’t follow every step.

According to media reports over 1.5 million French women rely on the diet to maintain their figures and apparently it has also been used by models and celebrities including Giselle Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez.

The Dukan Diet is based around eating high-protein foods while severely limiting all carbohydrates including fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Unlike the Atkins diet the emphasis is on sources of protein that are low in fat such as fish, poultry and reduced-fat dairy products.

Phase 1: The Attack Phase

The first phase of Dukan is followed for one to ten days depending on how much weight you have to lose. Dieters are told they can expect to lose between seven and ten pounds within the first five days.

  • During this phase dieters consume only protein foods that may be seasoned with condiments that do not contain fat or carbohydrates such as vinegar, mustard, salt, herbs and spices.
  • Calorie-free drinks including water, coffee, tea and diet soda are also permitted
  • You can include one and a half tablespoons of oatmeal each day.

Phase 2: The Cruise Phase

  • In this phase of the Dukan Diet, days of protein only are alternated with days of protein and vegetables.
  • The types of vegetables allowed in this phase are limited to those that do not contain starch such as lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumber, asparagus and tomato.
  • Vegetables can be consumed raw, steamed, or in soups and stews.

This phase is followed until you reach your target weight. Dieters can expect to lose up to two pounds a week on this phase.

Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase

This is the maintenance phase and commences once you have achieved your goal weight.

  • You will continue to base your diet on protein and vegetables but are also allowed one portion of fruit as well as two slices of whole-grain bread each day.
  • You are permitted one extra serving of carbs per week, which may include foods like pasta or rice.
  • In this phase of the Dukan Diet you are also allowed one ‘celebration meal’ each week, which is increased to twice a week after you have been in phase three for a while.

Phase 4: The Stabilization Phase

This is the ongoing lifestyle phase of the Dukan Diet. In this phase you are instructed to go back to eating whatever you like while continuing to use the rules of the Consolidation Phase as a guideline. One day of the week dieters are instructed to eat only protein.

Recommended Foods

Lean beef, lean ham, rabbit, veal, chicken liver, chicken breast, turkey, fish, seafood, fat-free yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk. egg whites, tofu, seitan, green vegetables, onions, herbs and spices, mustard, sugar-free ketchup, oat bran, coffee, tea, diet soda, Stevia, Silverspoon Sweetener, sugar-free chewing gum.

The Dukan Diet: What the experts say

You’ll certainly lose weight on The Dukan Diet because it cuts calories drastically. The lack of carbs also helps keep hunger at bay. However, the bottom line, experts say, is that this eating plan does not include all the nutrients you need for good health.

Sian Porter consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association said:  “There is absolutely no solid science behind this at all. This works on restricting foods, calories and portion control again.”

“Cutting out food groups is not advisable. This diet is so confusing, very rigid, full of very French foods that most Brits would run a mile from like rabbit and offal, and even Dr Dukan himself warns of the associated problems like lack of energy, constipation and bad breath – lovely!

“You may see the weight fall off in the first ‘Attack’ stage of no carbohydrates but be forewarned that this may mainly be water and is easily put back on when you start eating carbohydrates again. “ according to dietitian Sasha Watkins.
She says, “ This is also not a great diet for vegetarians as their diet will be very limited. This is another fad diet that advocates cutting out a food group (which is never a good thing!) and is hard to stick to in the long term.”

The Dukan Diet: Food for thought

There is no question this very restrictive diet will lead to weight loss, if you can actually follow it. However, the elimination of healthy food groups, and the unpleasant side effects, makes The Dukan Diet a difficult choice for the long haul.

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, but it cannot stand alone. A truly healthy diet includes all the food groups – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy and healthy fats along with lean protein. Your body needs the nutrients these foods provide.

Sample Dukan Diet Meal Plan

The following is an example of a meal plan for a protein and vegetable day in phase two:

Breakfast8 oz non-fat cottage cheese
1 slice turkey
Coffee or tea with skim milk and no-calorie sweetener
Morning Snack4 oz non-fat yogurt
LunchThree-pepper tuna
Stuffed mushrooms
Café crème
Afternoon Snack1 slice ham
Oat bran pancake (made with 2 tablespoons oat bran)
DinnerBeef kebab
Courgette soup
DessertFloating island

Exercise Recommendations

Exercise is considered an essential component of The Dukan Diet and is non-negotiable. Dieters must walk briskly for twenty minutes each day in phase one and this is increased to thirty minutes a day in phase two.

None of the diet plans that work, including low carb high protein diet plans, will have long lasting results unless you get some help and advice from experts. This is why the Dukan Diet is different and why it can really work for you.

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