Dr. Pierre Dukan has been disbarred from the Medical Association

Known internationally for his famous and controversial weight-loss method based on the adoption of a high-protein diet, Dr. Pierre Dukan has just been officially disbarred – a second time! – from the French Medical Order by the National Council of the Medical Order. This information is relayed by the Medical Press Agency (APM) (1).

The Facts

In the early 2000s, renowned nutritionist Dr. Pierre Dukan developed an innovative method of dieting that gives pride of place to protein intake, while at the same time banning carbohydrate and lipid-based foods. The method was so successful that its author decided to write a book about it, “I don’t know how to lose weight”, which also met with the same fate, to the point where it was translated into nearly 14 languages. Building on this success story, Dr. Dukan will continue to publish nearly 20 more books of the same type over the last decade with the same success. At the same time, the nutritionist will also offer a myriad of products bearing his name to promote his high-protein diet. Widely distributed in pharmacies and supermarkets, the latter will also “surf” on the phenomenal success of the “Dukan method” (2).

Only if the “success story” is beautiful and indisputable, it is nevertheless extremely controversial. Indeed, both the scientific community and the health authorities, in particular, the National Health Safety Agency, is concerned and strongly denounce the risks that the “Dukan method” poses to its potential followers because of the excess protein intake it imposes on the body (3). To add to this wind of controversy that swirls around him, raised by his famous method, Dr. Dukan will also propose in March 2012 that will provoke the wrath of the ordinal authorities: indeed, in an open letter that he published in the media and addressed to the future President of the Republic, the nutritionist proposes to institute a new option to the baccalaureate which would consist, to encourage young people not to fall into the trap of obesity, to award bonus points to baccalaureate candidates if they manage to remain within an ideal weight range during their last two years of high school (4).

Following these remarks, which it considers dangerous because of their potential impact on young adolescents suffering from obesity or anorexia, the departmental ordinary medical authority decided to file a complaint against Dr. Dukan in 2012 for violation of Article 13 of the Code of Medical Ethics. Indeed, according to this text, “a doctor must be careful about the repercussions of his remarks to the public”. Shortly afterward, the French Medical Authority (Conseil National de l’Ordre des Médecins – CNOM) followed suit, also filing a complaint against Dr. Dukan for this time misuse of medical practice for commercial purposes (in allusion to the “success story” of his method of dieting), a fact which is reprehensible under Article 19 of the Code of Medical Ethics.

Probably wanting to anticipate the outcome of these two parallel disciplinary proceedings initiated by the ordinary authorities against him, Pierre Dukan took the initiative, and on 19 April 2012, he asked on his initiative to be struck off the Medical Order without, however, specifying the real reason. This he obtained one month later. However, this voluntary de-listing will not stop the proceedings already initiated by the CNOM, because according to the admission made by Dr. Irène Kahn Bensaude, President of the Paris Medical Association, on the Nouvel Observateur website in 2012, the facts that the authorities had been reproaching him with up to then were all before his request for de-listing.

A year and a half after his voluntary striking off, the disciplinary procedure will, therefore, have finally been concluded with this second – this time symbolic – striking off of Dr. Dukan from the Medical Order for, according to the APM, ‘promoting [his method of] diet for commercial purposes’ and lack of temperance in his remarks (concerning the case of the proposal to introduce an optional baccalaureate bonus system based on the ‘balance weight’) (5).

Also read: Cohen diet

Notes & References

(1) https://www.dukandiet.com/low-carb-diet/20

(2)(3)(4)(5) http://www.lemonde.fr/vous/article/2012/05/16/dukan-radie-de-l-ordre-des-medecins-a-sa-demande_1701930_3238.html