The Dukan Diet is a high-protein, low-carb weight loss diet that is split into 4 phases. It was created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French general practitioner who specializes in weight management. Dr. Dukan created the diet in the 1970s, inspired by an obese patient who said he could give up eating any food in order to lose weight, with the exception of meat. After seeing many of his patients experience impressive weight loss results on his diet, Dr. Dukan published the book The Dukan Diet in 2000. The book was eventually published in 32 countries, and became a major bestseller. It reportedly helped people achieve rapid, easy weight loss without hunger. The Dukan Diet shares some features of the high-protein, low-carb Stillman Diet, as well as the Atkins Diet.
How does it work?
There are four phases on the Dukan Diet: two weight loss phases and two maintenance phases. The diet starts by calculating your “true” weight, based on your age, weight loss history and other factors. How long you stay in each phase depends on how much weight you need to lose to reach your “true” weight. These are the four phases of the Dukan diet:
- Attack phase (1-7 days): You start the diet by eating unlimited lean protein plus 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day.
- Cruise phase (1-12 months): Alternate lean protein one day with lean protein and non-starchy veggies the next, plus 2 tablespoons of oat bran every day.
- Consolidation phase (variable): Unlimited lean protein and veggies, some carbs and fats, one day of lean protein only per week, and 2.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day. You should do this for 5 days for every pound lost in phases 1 and 2.
- Stabilization phase (indefinite): Follows the basic Consolidation phase guidelines, but rules can be loosened as long as weight remains stable. Oat bran is increased to 3 tablespoons per day.
Dukan Diet food list
Each phase of the Dukan Diet has its own pattern. Here’s what you’re allowed to eat during each:
The Attack phase is primarily based on high-protein foods, plus a few extras that provide minimal calories:
- Lean beef, veal, venison, bison and other game.
- Lean pork.
- Poultry without skin.
- Liver, kidney and tongue.
- Fish and shellfish (all types).
- Eggs, etc.
This phase alternates between two days.
On day one, dieters are restricted to foods on the Attack phase list. On day two, they’re allowed Attack phase foods plus the following vegetables:
- Spinach, kale, lettuce and other leafy greens.
- Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
- Bell peppers.
- Eggplant, etc.
During the Consolidation phase, dieters are encouraged to mix and match any of the foods from the Attack and Cruise phase lists, along with the following:
- Fruit: 1 serving of fruit per day, such as 1 cup berries or chopped melon; 1 medium apple, orange, pear, peach or nectarine; 2 kiwis, plums or apricots.
- Bread: 2 slices whole grain bread per day, with a small amount of reduced-fat butter or spread.
- Cheese: 1 serving of cheese (1.5 oz or 40 grams) per day.
The Stabilization phase is the final phase of the Dukan diet. It is all about maintaining the improvements achieved during the earlier phases of the diet.
No foods are strictly off-limits, but there are a few principles to follow:
- Use the Consolidation phase as a basic framework for planning meals.
- Continue having one “pure proteins” day every week.
- Never take the elevator or escalator when you can take the stairs.
- Oat bran is your friend. Take 3 tablespoons of it every day.
True to its claims, the high-protein Dukan Diet can produce fast weight loss. However, it also has several features that may make it difficult to sustain long-term. Overall, it’s a quick weight loss diet that can work, but forces you to avoid many healthy foods unnecessarily.