The Dukan diet is one of the most famous high-protein weight-loss diets in the world. It takes place in 3 main phases and allows a spectacular weight loss from the first days of the diet. Unfortunately, in most cases, weight loss does not last long. Moreover, this method does not seem to be harmless in the long term.
Features of the Dukan diet:
- High protein diet
- Composed of three main phases and one-lifetime stabilization phase
- 72 sources of protein are to be consumed at will
- Duration of the diet according to the number of kilos to lose
- Very low fiber and nutrient diet
The Main Principles of the Regime
We owe this diet to the French nutritionist, Pierre Dukan. The Dukan method was first drafted in the 1970s, so it has been available for 40 years. In 2000, Mr. Dukan published a book “I don’t know how to lose weight” in which the principles of his diet appeared for the first time. The Dukan method is a derivative of high protein diets. It has been followed in France by more than ten million people. The method is now being disseminated around the world. The Dukan method books have been translated into 15 languages and distributed in 30 countries.
How Does the Dukan Diet Work?
The Dukan diet is divided into 3 main phases to initiate and consolidate weight loss:
- Attack phase: consists of consuming only proteins to initiate weight loss very quickly. This very restrictive phase lasts 5 days and produces effects similar to those of fasting.
- Cruise phase: during this phase, there is an alternation between pure protein days and days when certain green vegetables are allowed in addition to protein. This phase lasts 1 week per kilo to lose. If you want to lose 15 kilos, you will have to hold out for 4 months to hope to achieve this objective. This phase remains quite restrictive since it does not allow any deviation. Starchy foods, fats, fruits or desserts are prohibited.
- Consolidation phase: during the consolidation phase, some food categories are reintroduced daily. It is recommended to include one fruit per day, a small portion of starchy foods and a little cheese. This phase should last 10 days per kilo lost. If you have lost 15 kilos, you will need to keep 150 days of consolidation.
In addition to these 3 periods, there is also a stabilization phase that must be continued for life. It includes one day of pure protein per week in parallel with a diet that remains restrictive.
How Does This Diet Make You Lose Weight?
The Dukan diet is very low-calorie and highly limited in terms of the food categories represented. This is why weight loss is fast and dramatic in the first two phases. The almost exclusive consumption of protein produces an effect similar to that of fasting and pushes the body to draw on its reserves quickly.
How Long Does the Dukan Diet Last?
The duration of the diet depends entirely on the weight to be lost:
|Cruise||1 week per kilo to lose|
|Consolidation||10 days per kilo lost|
The 72 Protein Foods
The Dukan diet consists of 100 foods authorized at will, including 72 protein sources. In addition to these, there are a few vegetables in the cruise phase and a greater variety of foods in the consolidation phase.
- Lean meat
- Seafood products
- Vegetable proteins
- Milk products with 0% fat content
- Green vegetables
- Goji berries
- Rapeseed and olive oils
List of Prohibited Food
This diet is more or less restrictive depending on the feeding phases. In general, it is recommended to limit the following foods:
- Oils and fats other than rapeseed and olive oil
- Milk products other than 0%.
- Candy candies
- Viennese pastries
- Industrial dishes
- Starchy people
Dukan Diet and Recipe Program
|Attack Phase Menu||Cruise Phase Menu||Consolidation Phase Menu|
|Breakfast||Unsweetened coffee or tea
1 to 2 yoghurt 0% 0%
|Unsweetened coffee or tea
1 to 2 yoghurt 0% 0%
|Unsweetened coffee or tea
Oat bran cake
White cheese and herb sauce
Fruit yogurt 0%
|Fish papillote with vegetables and lemon
1 slice of wholemeal bread
40 g cheese
|Snack||2 slices of turkey breast||2 slices of turkey breast||1 slice of turkey breast
Fruit (except banana, grape, and cherry)
|Zucchini cream and cheese
|0% vegetable wok with shrimps and wild rice (3 tablespoons)
Advantages and Disadvantages
The Positive Points of the Dukan Diet
- Quick weight loss at the start
- Sense of satiety
- Requires little cooking
The Negative Points of the High-Protein Diet
- Limited food variety in the early stages
- Difficult to monitor in the long term
- Risk of significant deficiencies
- Very frequent yo-yo effect
- Unpleasant side effects: fatigue, constipation, bad breath, etc.
Recommendations and Precautions
Are There Any Risks?
The Dukan diet involves risks that are important to consider before undertaking this method:
- This diet can induce the yo-yo effect because of the rapid weight loss during the first two weeks
- It is very restrictive and can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is low in micronutrients, especially in the first two phases. Although Mr. Dukan recommends taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, it does not compensate for the lack of nutrients found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which have many protective effects on health
- People on this diet may experience some side effects such as headaches, menstrual cycle disorders, kidney fatigue (so drink plenty of fluids), orthostatic hypotension due to low sodium intake, night cramps and muscle weakness due to lack of potassium. Also, because of the absence of carbohydrates in the first phase, there is a production of ketone bodies that can cause bad breath, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and insomnia
- Phase 1 being very low in fiber, this increases the risk of constipation. Adding oat bran, as recommended, may not be enough
Is This Diet for You?
People on this diet must be very creative to compose interesting meals, as the variety of foods in this diet is low. You may also be inclined to isolate yourself to eat, which is generally not desirable. In addition, those who follow this diet can make their lives easier by purchasing food products labeled “Dukan diet”, such as oat bran cookies and sugar-free ketchup. Whatever the objective, this type of diet is not recommended.
Is This Diet Compatible with Training and Sport?
Mr. Dukan almost never encourages the practice of sports, yet it is essential. On the one hand to avoid muscle loss due to rapid weight loss and on the other hand to consolidate the results obtained by the diet. It is recommended to have a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
How to Not Gain Weight?
Despite a lifetime stabilization phase, the Dukan diet leads to a recovery of lost weight in less than 5 years and in 80 to 95% of cases. Weight loss is often far too sudden to be physiologically sustainable.
Our Opinions of Dukan Diet
The dangerousness of this regime has, for several years, been highlighted by many health professionals. The almost exclusive consumption of protein is dangerous for the health of the kidneys and the body in general. The absence of fibers and micronutrients can also lead to deficiencies and sometimes have very serious consequences (intestinal obstruction, anemia, etc.). At no time does this method promote good eating habits: listening to food sensations, physical activity, healthy cooking, etc. Finally, this diet leads to a return to lost weight almost systematically. It is not uncommon to gain even more weight than those lost during the long months of the diet. I strongly advise against the Dukan diet for people who want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
A clinical engineer by training, I have always been interested in well-being and nutrition since an early age. On Gurze.com, I give my knowledge and tips on diets and nutrition in general. While I enjoy sharing my opinions on these subjects, you should always consult a health professional for more personalized answers on your case.