In this post I’m looking at The Dukan Diet – it has recently started to gain recognition (largely due to the publicity surrounding some of the people who have used it), although it has been around for many years in Europe and the UK.
It’s a four-step plan which focuses on high protein and it could be described as low carb eating the French way. With the French reputation for their cuisine, no wonder the Dukan Diet is becoming popular!
The book was written by Dr Pierre Dukan, and it outlines a diet based heavily on pure, lean protein. The diet itself involves more than just the book – it stresses how unique and personalized every person’s plan will be, and includes “coaching” from Dr Dukan himself.
Dukan Diet Plan
There are 4 stages and before you even start, you can find out how long you’ll need to spend on each stage. This is all done on the website where you need to enter some details. You have to answer some non-invasive questions and put in your goal weight and you will be presented with your “True Weight” and a program breakdown like this:
(this one is mine – I have used kilos but on the US site it’s all in pounds!) For every person these phases will be different lengths, depending on how overweight you are. It can be discouraging to see the number of days, particularly in the 2nd phase, as that can stretch to many months and is likely to be the most difficult to adhere to. On the other hand, it’s very motivating to see the end goal.
The 4 phases of the Dukan Diet Plan:
Phase 1: Attack Phase
This phase lasts only a few days (3-10 days) – you eat ONLY LEAN PROTEIN for the duration. Unlimited quantities to satisfy your appetite, but it must be LEAN! Allowed foods are lean beef, veal, fish, shellfish, chicken and other poultry, eggs, ham, lean cuts of pork and nonfat dairy. The only other thing you can have is a daily Oat bran “galette” (pancake). It is claimed that dramatic weight loss is achieved in these few days.
Phase 2: Cruise Phase
Described as “XX days of perseverance” above, you introduce vegetables on alternate days. So you’ll continue with your days of protein only, alternated with days of protein with allowed vegetables. Of course, all starchy vegetables like potatoes are off-limits, but that’s no problem for low-carbers like us!
I think this stage looks very daunting because it does not allow for any occasions where you may not have control over the food preparation. Still, nobody said weight loss was easy… and this is how the Dukan Diet works, and you stick with this phase until you reach your True Weight.
Phase 3: Consolidation
Once you have achieved your True Weight, the focus stays on lean protein but you can now include some fruit, bread, more types of meat, cheese and pasta into your diet as well as the veggies. AND you can have 2 “celebration” meals per week where you can treat yourself and indulge in anything you want. There’s your motivation right there! You must also continue to have one “protein only” day per week. You stay on this phase for 5 days for every pound lost. The length of this phase is dependent on the amount of weight lost.
The key here is to ease back into an everyday eating plan without giving the body the opportunity to rebound. Dr Dukan warns that this is the stage where most people disregard the plan and tend to start to regain the weight and it is easy to see how this can happen.
Phase 4: Stabilization
The final phase – to last for the rest of your life, is achieved when you have consolidated your True Weight. You are now almost entirely free in your food choices – the only thing you must continue to do regularly is to have one day a week of “lean protein only” – Dr Dukan suggests Thursdays! By this time you will no doubt understand how to make better food choices and how to incorporate what you have learnt in your daily life.
Please note: The Dukan Diet also has information about exercising, drinking plenty of water, etc. This article has only focused on the meals and the different allowances at each phase. You should buy the Dukan Diet book if you want the complete picture! There is also a companion recipe book.
Dukan Diet reviews
There are many reviews on Amazon about the Dukan Diet plan, most of them very positive! Those who are able to stick with it will undoubtedly lose weight and very quickly reap the rewards of eating low carb – as we know, one of the biggest benefits is curbing your appetite and cravings.
Whether it is good for insulin resistance, I don’t yet know. I have to do some research – or perhaps someone will let me know if they have had success with the Dukan Diet. I doubt if I will embark on it, simply because it seems to be too strict for too long.
Dukan Diet Pros and Cons
- No measuring or counting calories
- Individually tailored to your requirements depending on your weight loss goals
- Rapid weight loss at the start
- An attainable long-term goal of optimum weight for the rest of your life – if you stick with it
- Restrictive – and the restrictions last a long time while your body adjusts
- Doesn’t allow for the normal situations in daily life where you may not have control over your food preparation
- Easy to regain the weight at Phase 3
- You will need to plan your meals carefully