The French Doctor Pierre Dukan designed the Dukan Diet to help overweight and obese patients lose weight and keep it off. When he was first confronted with a case of obesity in 1975, the accepted form of treatment consisted of small, low calorie meals. Dr. Dukan set out to design a new and more effective strategy and after more than 20 years of research published his findings in 2000 in a best-selling book called Je ne Sais pas Maigrir which translates to: I don’t know how to get slimmer.
Pierre Dukan’s diet plan, which has been used for more than 30 years, consists of four phases which guide participants through ever-easier restrictions. The Dukan diet allows dieters to eat as much as they want, but only of certain foods. The four phases are the attack, the cruise, the consolidation and the stabilization phase.4
Dukan Diet – The Attack Phase
The attack phase is meant to kick-start the metabolism, allowing new dieters to lose 4.4 – 6.6 pounds in just two to seven days. During this phase, Dukan Diet participants may eat unlimited amounts of foods chosen from a list of 68 protein-rich options. These options include veal, pork, lean beef, venison, turkey, chicken, ham, eggs, nonfat dairy products, calorie-free drinks, tofu, seitan, and tempeh. Like all stages of the Dukan Diet, the attack phase includes a call for 20 minutes of walking each day and a dose of oat bran, specifically 1.5 tablespoons during this phase.
Although dieters may enjoy a wide range of food options, no fruits, vegetables or carbohydrates may be eaten during the attack phase. Depriving the body of carbohydrates forces it to turn to fats for energy. This causes the body to burn stores of fat rather than consumed carbohydrates, producing maximum results in a minimum amount of time. The attack phase lasts between 2 and 10 days, depending on how much weight the dieter needs to lose. Typically, those looking to lose 20 – 40 pounds drop four to seven pounds during the course of a five day attack phase.
Dukan Diet – The Cruise Phase
During the cruise phase, Dr. Dukan recommends that dieters alternate each day between the “pure protein” diet called for during the attack phase and a diet consisting of protein and non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables like salad greens, cucumbers, mushrooms and peppers can be enjoyed in unlimited quantities during the vegetable-protein days. During this phase, the daily dose of oat bran is increased to two tablespoons. Participants should stick with the guidelines of the cruise phase until their ideal wight is achieved. Typically, two to four pounds can be lost each week.
Dukan Diet – The Consolidation Phase
The consolidation phase is a transitional period meant to help dieters keep off the weight they’ve lost. The phase should last five days for each pound of weight lost. The protein and non-starchy vegetables allowed in the first two phases are all-you-can-eat. Additionally, dieters may enjoy a serving of fruit, 1.5 ounces of cheese and two slices of whole grain bread each day. Two servings of starchy foods like pasta and two “celebration meals” are also allowed each week provided they aren’t enjoyed back-to-back. Once each week, Dr. Dukan recommends dieters stick to the protein-only diet called for during the attack phase.
Dukan Diet – The stabilization Phase
The stabilization phase is meant to last a lifetime. Three tablespoons of oat bran are required daily, and one day each week participants should follow a strict diet of only animal protein. On other days, dieters are allowed to eat whatever they desire, however, keeping the guidelines of the consolidation phase in mind will help prevent weight gain caused by consumption of excessive starchy foods.
Those looking to lose weight should talk with their doctor before beginning any type of restrictive diet. Although limiting carbohydrate intake is a great way to lose weight, it’s not always ideal in the long-run, especially for those with certain nutritional deficiencies or health concerns.
Pros of the Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet may be a good choice for those looking to lose weight quickly, easily, safely and permanently. The diet can be started with simply the cost of food and since there’s no calorie limit, participants don’t have to go hungry.
Cons of the Dukan Diet
- Strict rules
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Side effects of ketosis
Because certain phases of the Dukan Diet completely eliminate the consumption of fruits, vegetables and grains, participants may not be consuming enough nutrients like calcium, fiber, vitamin D and potassium. Additionally, when the body turns to fat as an energy source, a process called ketosis, unpleasant effects like dry mouth and bad breath may occur.
Although the Dukan Diet isn’t right for everyone, it is a relatively safe and effective method for weight loss. In addition to consulting with a doctor, those looking to use the Dukan Diet safely may wish to add a multivitamin to their diet in order to ward off deficiencies.