Diet and Nutrition

What to Know About the Dukan Diet

Siobhan O'Grady

Is this diet for you?

Is this diet for you?

Key Takeaways

  • The is a phased, high-protein, low-calorie diet.
  • The base of the diet is lean-proteins and oat bran with plenty of water, rather than counting the calories in the food.
  • The diet plan also recommends at least 20-minute walk daily.

The Dukan diet, designed by the French physician Pierre Dukan for treating obese people, has become very popular in other parts of the world after the publication of the book in the same name. The diet plan, which helped about 5 million French people to lose extra weight, is a phased, high-protein, low-calorie diet. The base of the diet is lean-proteins and oat bran with plenty of water, rather than counting the calories in the food. The diet plan also recommends at least 20-minute walk daily.

This phased plan helps the weight watchers to lose weight rapidly in the initial phase which motivates them to continue further. Vegetables are taken in the second phase with small amounts of fruits. But the author warns that dieters may have to face bad breath, constipation, dry mouth and fatigue, which are common symptoms of high-protein diets.


Phases of Dukan Diet

  • Phase 1 – This phase is also known as the ‘attack’ phase where the dieters are allowed to eat good amount of lean protein with 1.5 teaspoons of oat bran and 1.5 liters of water every day. This phase is designed to increase the metabolic rate of the dieters and help them to lose as much as 4.4 to 6.6 lbs within a week. About 72 types of protein-rich foods can be taken during this phase including low-fat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, soy and non-fat dairy. Dieters are expected to stay on this phase from one to ten days at a stretch.
  • Phase 2 – Also known as the ‘cruise’ phase, this is a gradual way to reach the weight they aim for by choosing from 28 different kinds of protein-rich vegetables along with the unlimited low-fat protein, and 2 teaspoons of oat bran. Dieters are not allowed to eat starchy vegetables like carrots, peas, corn and potatoes in this stage. The number of days to be spent on this phase depends on how much weight a person wants to lose. According to Dukan, a dieter should stay in this phase till they achieve the goal weight.
  • Phase 3 – This is the ‘consolidation’ phase of the diet which is designed in such a way that it prevents the dieters from gaining more weight in the future. In this phase the dieters are allowed to have 1-2 servings of starchy foods and 1-2 ‘celebration’ meals per week along with unlimited protein. This phase is the most important step between weight loss and maintenance. The author urges the dieters to stay on this phase for about 5 days for every pound that is lost. This will prevent regaining the lost pounds.
  • Phase 4 – This phase is referred to as the ‘stabilization’ phase and is the maintenance part of the diet plan. During this phase, the dieter can eat whatever they feel provided they follow the rules. The rules include one day a week of all-protein diet (similar to phase 1), 3 teaspoons of oat bran a day, and 20-minute walking session a day.

The diet plan also allows the followers to have sugar-free gum, artificial sweeteners, vinegars and spices. The author of the plan urges the dieters to have a daily dose of multivitamins and minerals.

Expert Opinion on Dukan Diet

Experts do agree that the Dukan Diet will definitely help in losing extra pounds as calories are cut down considerably. Reducing the carbohydrates will help in cutting down hunger also. 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, the daily dose of multivitamin may not be enough to compensate for those 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, gall stones which shows that this is not a healthy diet.

Dukan Diet – your decision

This diet plan is sure to help in losing extra weight, but whether it can be taken up for long haul is still a question for you. The side effects and lack of healthy food groups in the diet makes it a wrong choice for some. A healthy diet in any case is made up of food groups including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy and healthy fats along with lean protein, but this diet makes protein as a standalone component. Whether to take up this plan and follow it up 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 at any given point of time. 

Dukan Diet is high-protein diet which is initially restricts both carbs and fat. It supports the diet which is a high-protein, low-carb and low-fat diet. According to the study, it is found that when the fat with a high-protein, low-carb meal consumed by the people burn approximately 69 more calories than those who do not consume the fat at all.

The high protein intakes have impact on the kidneys and bone which is beneficial. Earlier it was believed that a high intake of protein could damage the kidney. But according to the latest research it has proved that the high protein diet is not harmful for the people having healthy kidneys. The new ways of Dukan Diet has offered many new simple but effective techniques which can help the people in leading healthy and happy life.

Dunkan Diet has certainly changed the way of life for most of the people who otherwise were worried about their weight and their diet.

Dukan Diet Food List

According to the Dr. Pierre Dukan, following is the list of approximately 100 ingredients which can be the part of the Dukan diet. The preferred ingredient can be chosen as per the choice from the list and added into the list of Dukan diet. The list of items has 72 animal-based ingredients to be eaten from attack phase and 28 plant-based ingredients which are the part of cruise phase.

Dukan Diet Food List: Meat

The items related to Meat and offal are given in a variety and  are classified as

Beefsteak, breasola/  air-dried / wind dried beef, calf's liver, Fat reduced bacon, fillet of beef, game, kidney, pre-cooked ham slices. Also the list added the meat of rabbit, roast beef, rump steak, sirloin steak, tongue, veal chop, and veal escalope as a part of non-vegetarian diet.

Dukan Diet Food List: Chicken

The items categories as Poultry are classified into the categories of

Chicken, chicken liver, guinea fowl, ostrich, pigeon, poussin - very young chicken along with  pre cooked chicken and turkey slices, quail, turkey.

Dukan Diet Food List: Fish

The food products related to the fish category are classified into

Bass, cod, seafood sticks, dab/lemon sole, dover sole, grey mullet, haddock/smoked haddok, hake, halibut/smoked halibut, herring, mackerel, monkfish, plaice, pollock/coley, red mullet, salmon/smoked salmon, sardines, sea bream, skate, swordfish, trout (rainbow and salmon), tuna, turbot, whiting

Dukan Diet Food List: Seafood

The various different categories of Seafood are given a list in details

 Calamari/squid, clams, cockles, crab, crayfish/crawfish, Dublin bay prawns, lobster, mussels, prawns/shrimps, oysters, scallops, whelks.

Dukan Diet Food List: Egg

The category of eggs is given as

Hen's eggs, quail's eggs

Dukan Diet Food List: Dairy products

Dairy products are classified as

Cottage cheese (low fat), fat free fromage frais, fat free Greek yogurt, fat free yoghurt, Quark (low fat), skimmed milk

Dukan Diet Food List: Vegetable

Vegetables –are in variety and the list combines all the different types of vegetables

Artichoke (globe), asparagus, aubergine, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery/celeriac, chicory, courgette, cucumber, fennel, French beans, kohlrabi, lamb's lettuce, leek, lettuce, mushrooms, onion, palm hearts, peppers, pumpkin, radish, rhubarb, soybean sprouts, spinach, tomato

Dukan Diet Health Benefits

Most of the nutritionists do not support the Dukan diet at the earlier stages. Most of the dieticians hace rejected Dukan diet because, according to them the diet is incomplete and do not include most of the nutritional food items in the diet.  Even the American Dietetic Association completely rejected the dist because it has ignored many useful and highly effective food items in the Dukan diet. But Dukan diet remains stronger and never let the criticism affect it. With the time, it has proved that Dunkan diet is perfect and most suitable and it offers the best of food-options which makes it exceptional diet for the weight loss.

Dukan Diet Health Benefits: Weight Loss

The Dukan diet has offered the unique benefit in terms of low-carbohydrate and low fat diets which work effectively in the Dukan diet.

According to the study the comparison between low-fat (LF) vs. a low-carbohydrate (LC) on weight loss it is found that

The energy restriction achieved by a very low-carbohydrate (LC) diet is equally effective as a LF diet strategy for weight loss and it desecrates body fat in overweight persons or in obese adults.  The Dukan diet is of both types -  a low carbohydrate as well as low-fat diet. When you study the situation, you can easily apply the results to the diet.

Dukan Diet Health Benefits: High Blood Pressure

The similar study shows that the diets were equally effective in reducing blood pressure. The blood pressure can be reduced by about 10 mm Hg and the by 5 mm Hg of diastolic pressure. It clearly shows that the Dukan diet is effective in controlling the blood pressure.

Also according to the study the ratios of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol are immensely improved offering positive results. And it shows that the Dukan diet support the cardiovascular benefits also.

Dukan Diet Health Benefits: Diabetes

Dukan diet also helps diabetes also. But it does not show any direct evidence but the fact is the diet helps in reducing the weight and it leads in the reduction of insulin which helps in controlling the deadly disease diabetes.