The Dukan Diet claims it’s the ideal diet for people who want to lose weight quickly without having to count calories or weigh their food. Unlike many other diet books, it promises to help keep off lost weight for good.
Summary of the diet plan: adapted from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Eatright Media Press Room, The Dukan Diet by Dr Pierre Dukan (Crown Archetype 2011), Reviewed by Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN
This high protein, low calorie plan is divided into four phases. The first two phases are geared toward helping reading los weight quickly, while the second two are designed to maintain weight loss permanently.
The Attack Phase: The goal of this phase is dramatic weight loss of ±1½ – 4½ kg seven days or less. During this phase, readers eat a pure protein diet consisting of unlimited amounts of lean protein supplemented by 1½ tablespoons of oat bran. In addition to lean meat, fish, shellfish, skinless poultry (with the exception of goose and duck), eggs, tofu, seitan and fat-free dairy products are also allowed.
The Cruise Phase: Readers alternate pure protein days with days of pure protein and non-starchy vegetables until they reach their “true” or goal weight. During this phase, readers can expect to initially shed ±1½ kg a week. As weight loss slows, they can expect to lose about 1 kg a week.
The Consolidation Phase: Once readers achieve their goal weight, they transition to the maintenance phase of the plan. The first part of this phase is the Consolidation Phase, targeted at preventing rebound weight gain. This phase lasts for five days for every ½ a kilogram lost. Readers can eat unlimited amounts of protein and non-starchy vegetables and can also reintroduce limited amounts of fresh fruit, whole-wheat bread and cheese. They can also enjoy two weekly servings of starchy foods, such as pasta, beans or potatoes. To balance the newfound freedom of this phase, readers must follow the pure protein diet from the Attack Phase for one day a week.
The Permanent Stabilization Phase: The final phase of The Dukan Diet is designed for lifelong weight maintenance. Once readers have reached this point they can return to eating whatever they desire as long as they follow these three rules:
– Eat a pure protein diet one day a week.
– Always take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators.
– Eat tablespoons of oat bran daily.
Pro’s: on the upside, the diet does recommend several healthful practices such as:
– Exercise daily.
– Choose leaner cuts of protein.
– Moderate salt intake.
– There is no weighing of foods or calorie counting required.
– Strive for lifelong weight management.
– Because it is highly regimented, The Dukan Diet can be a good fit for people who require a highly structured plan.
– It may be difficult to follow long-term due to the diets strict nature.
– The rate of weight loss recommended is too fast to be considered safe or healthy.
– It is not well-suited for carb-lovers or vegetarians.
– The diets high-protein content forces the body to flush out fluids. As a result, much of the weight lost initially may simply be water.
– By restricting carbohydrates, The Dukan Diet forces the body and brain to use fat for fuel. This pushes the body into a state of ketosis, which has been linked to health problems such as fatigue, constipation, kidney damage and gout. The ultra-restrictive Attack Phase can also cause fatigue, bad breath, constipation and dry mouth.