Diet and Nutrition

What Is the Dukan Diet?

What is the Dukan Diet?

There are many diets available out there to maintain one’s physique. Especially with the growing awareness of health and fitness, we humans strive to walk the healthiest path in order to live a full and vigorous lifestyle. An estimated 95% of people who follow some kind of diet to lose fat regain the weight they’d lost quite rapidly after completing the plan.

The Dukan diet focuses on protein, low fat, and low carbs, and it forces its participants to follow the strictly detailed diet; the only way to alter the food plan is if you have an allergy or medical condition. Other than that, the Dukan diet is really fun to try. Its motto is, “Eat whatever you will like and as much as you wish.”


The Dukan diet has gained popularity throughout the western world and is rapidly gaining global fame because of its effective and rather quick way to lose weight. The Dukan diet cares more about healthy lifestyle than weight loss and thus includes exercise routines to escalate its effects.

The Dukan diet, designed by French physician Pierre Dukan, who treats people with obesity, has become very popular in other parts of the world. Pierre Dukan has since been gaining praise for this uniquely designed and effective diet plan. The plan, which has helped about five million French people lose weight, is a phased, high-protein, low-calorie diet.

The base of the diet includes eating lean-proteins and oat bran with plenty of water. Rather than counting calories, it focuses on eating healthy foods. Sometimes, we lose hope quickly because of the constant crave for sugar, the hunger, and, obviously, when we don’t see results on the scale. The Dukan diet actually lifts morale, as it doesn’t promise any instant results, nor does it cut off food spontaneously.

The diet plan also recommends at least one twenty-minute walk every day. Exercise is known to multiply the effectiveness of whatever diet you follow. The Dukan diet will restrict your caloric intake, but it doesn’t make you feel hungry, as its protein-packed foods will keep you full.

Perhaps these are the reasons contributing to its immense popularity in the western culture. Many nutritionists actually recommending the Dukan diet for its effective nature. 

This phased plan helps people lose weight rapidly in the initial phase, which motivates them to continue. Vegetables are added in the second phase with small amounts of fruits; you may have guessed by now that, in the Dukan diet, you take baby steps towards altering your eating habits.

Changing one’s eating habits can be hard, but the Dukan diet takes great care of that. However, the author warns that those who choose this diet may have bad breath, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue, which are common symptoms of high-protein diets.

The diet is generally divided into four phases, with each phase serving a different purpose and importance to the healthy journey you are on. It is said that the paleo diet is a rip-off of the Dukan diet. The Dukan diet has been criticized heavily because of its strict nature, but it soon revived its market position and gained the number one spot.

The phases of the Dukan Diet are as follows:

  • Phase 1 – This phase is also known as the “attack” phase. It is not an actual assault, but rather an attack on your junk food habits. In this phase, participants are allowed to eat a good amount of lean protein with 1.5 teaspoons of oat bran and 1.5 liters of water every day. This will keep you full and energetic throughout the day without any fatigue, as this diet doesn’t completely cut off the calories you usually consume in a day. This first phase is designed to increase the metabolic rate of the participants and help them lose as much as 4.4 to 6.6 pounds in one week. About 72 types of protein-rich foods can be consumed during this phase, including low-fat meats, fish, poultry, eggs, soy, and non-fat dairy. The Dukan diet does have variety to it, so you can tailor the plan to your preferences, and if you have any medical condition or allergies, you can eliminate or add a specific food item, but only after consulting your nutritionist. The Dukan diet is very flexible when it comes to ingredients and food, but only if you have a condition, otherwise you cannot alter the diet completely. Participants are expected to stay on this phase up to ten days at a stretch.
  • Phase 2 – Also known as the “cruise” phase, the second phase is a gradual way to reach one’s desired weight by choosing from 28 different protein-rich vegetables, along with unlimited low-fat protein, and two teaspoons of oat bran. As mentioned above, you can eliminate any dietary component you may be allergic to or if you have a medical condition that doesn’t allow you to consume a specific food. Participants are not allowed to eat starchy vegetables like carrots, peas, corn, or potatoes at this stage. The number of days to be spent on this phase depends on how much weight a person wants to lose; it can last up to a month or twenty days. According to Dukan, the participant should stay in this phase until they achieve their goal weight.
  • Phase 3 – This is the “consolidation” phase of the diet and is the third strike against the unwanted fat you have been holding onto. The third phase is designed to prevent participants from gaining more weight in the future, as you may have noticed that people who go on a diet gain the weight they’d lost pretty fast after finishing. In this phase, the participants are allowed to have one to two servings of starchy foods and one to two “celebration” meals per week, along with unlimited protein. You need some motivation to keep going, and a cheat day always helps when following a diet. This phase is the most important step in weight loss and maintenance. If looked after carefully, it will bring significant weight loss results, and you will be absolutely delighted to see your progress and fit physique. The author urges participants to stay on this phase for about five days for every pound that is lost. This will avoid regaining the weight.
  • Phase 4 – This phase is referred to as the “stabilization” phase. As its name implies, it is meant to stabilize and maintain the healthy weight you have achieved and the vigorous lifestyle you are now following. This is the maintenance part of the diet plan and thus is the most important of all. During this phase, the dieter can eat whatever they like as long as they follow the rules. These rules include one day a week of an all-protein diet (similar to phase 1), three teaspoons of oat bran per day, and a twenty-minute walking session every day. The diet is incredibly easy to adopt and even easier to maintain in the long run.

The diet plan also allows followers to have sugar-free gum, artificial sweeteners, vinegar, and spices to satisfy sugar cravings. The Dukan diet doesn’t shut down all sugar supplements; we all know how hard it can be to keep away from sweet treats, after all. The author of the plan urges participants to have a daily dose of multivitamins and minerals because, eventually, this diet plan will focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Expert Opinions on the Dukan Diet

Experts agree that the Dukan Diet will certainly aid in losing extra pounds as calories are cut down considerably. Reducing carbohydrates will help lessen hunger as well, thus preventing many sugar-oriented diseases. But, they feel that the diet does not include all the nutrients that are required for proper health.

According to Keri Gans, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, a daily multivitamin may not be enough to compensate for the nutrients obtained from fruits and whole grains. “If the restrictive phases of the diet plan are continued for a longer period of time, it may result in nutritional deficiencies and renal problems,” added Gans.

Experts add that rapid weight loss may lead to muscle loss and gallstones, which indicate that this may not be a healthy diet. The Dukan diet does have cons, but the pros overpower them; even if you opt for another diet plan, it will still have as many cons as the Dukan diet, if not more.

Dukan Diet – Your Decision

This diet plan is sure to help lose extra weight, but whether it can be continued for the long haul is still a question for you because, after all, you are the one who will be following the Dukan diet. The side effects and lack of healthy food groups in the diet make it the wrong choice for some, and it is not recommended for those with a food deficiency.

A healthy diet is made up of food groups, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats, along with lean protein, but this diet makes protein a standalone component. Whether to take up this plan and follow it as a life-long commitment is totally your choice. However, experts feel that choosing a calorie-controlled eating plan, including all the healthy groups, would be a better choice. Following a diet plan can bring many joyful changes to your lifestyle; you will feel good both inside and out. 

As previously mentioned, this diet does have some room for flexibility in extreme conditions, but you cannot alter every element of the diet. It is very strict, but the results are beneficial, and to gain something worthwhile, you have to go through a little pain.