There are so many different diets out there, so it can become very confusing when you’re trying to pick one. The Dukan Diet is one popular diet that is meant to help people lose weight quickly and maintain their lower weight for life. Kate Middleton follows this diet.
In this article, I’ll explain more about the diet, how it helps with weight loss, and if it is a healthy and sustainable option. :)
What Is the Dukan Diet?
How the Diet Started
The Dukan diet was created by a former French physician, Dr. Pierre Dukan, in the 1970s. He created this diet to try to help his patients lose weight. Many of them would go on low-calorie diets that weren’t sustainable, so he looked for alternatives.
Over the years, Dukan fine-tuned the diet, and he eventually published a book about it in 2000 called “Je ne sais Pas Maigrir (I Don’t Know How to Get Slimmer),” and it was later published in different languages all around the world. It eventually became a best-selling book.
The Basics of the Diet
The Dukan diet is based on the idea that you don’t lose weight when you’re hungry. Lean protein can help you feel full and provide you with energy. Because of this, the Dukan diet emphasises eating low carbohydrate, high-protein meals. It is similar to the Atkins Diet, which is another low-carb diet that prioritises protein.
People on the Dukan diet are allowed to pick from about a 100 different foods, and most of the items are low in carbs and high in protein. Unlike a lot of other low-carb diets, this diet is also low in fat. In addition to the protein, people eat oat bran, drink a lot of water, and go for 20-minute long walks each day.
The diet claims to help people lose weight quickly without feeling hungry. In addition to this, it promises to help people keep their extra weight off for good.
People on the diet can follow the eating recommendations on their own, but there is also coaching available for people who want extra support.
How Does the Dukan Diet Work?
The Dukan diet is broken into four different stages: the attack phase, the cruise phase, the consolidation phase, and and the stabilisation phase.
When you begin the diet, you calculate your goal weight (which is called your “true weight”) based on your age, previous weight loss attempts, and other personal characteristics. How long you stay in each of the phases depends on your goal weight and how much you need to lose in order to reach it.
In each phase, you’re allowed to eat different foods, and each phase serves a different role. The first two phases are all about losing weight, and the third and fourth are supposed to help you maintain your weight loss.
Phase 1: The Attack Phase
In this phase, people on the diet are supposed to be able to lose 4-6 pounds (2-3kg) per week. Depending on your weight loss goals, this phase lasts anywhere from two days to one week.
You can eat as much lean protein as you want. Some examples include:
- lean beef
- skinless poultry
You can also eat a small amount of low-fat dairy products, and you can use olive oil to grease the pan when you cook.
You also eat 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day, and you’re supposed to drink 6-8 glasses of water. People should also begin exercising during this phase. Going for walks, especially in the morning, is encouraged.
Phase 2: The Cruise Phase
In this phase, people on the diet are supposed to be able to lose 2 pounds (1kg) per week, and it lasts much longer than the attack phase. People can stay in the cruise phase for up to one year, depending on their goals. It lasts for three days for each pound of weight you want to lose. If you want to lose 10 pounds (4.5kg), you stay in this phase for 30 days.
You can eat the same foods from the attack phase, and you’re allowed to start eating some vegetables too. The vegetables that you’re allowed to eat include:
- leafy greens, like spinach
- onion, leeks, and shallots
- green beans
However, you’re not allowed to eat these veggies all the time. During the cruise phase, you alternate between protein-only days and protein-and-veggie days. This is supposed to help keep your metabolism active.
In addition to this, you eat 2 tablespoons of oat bran a day and go for 30-minute walks every day.
Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase
Once you reach your “true weight,” you start the consolidation phase. This phase also varies in length, and the length depends on how many pounds you’ve lost. For every one pound of weight loss, you follow the consolidation phase for five days. This means that somebody who lost 10 pounds (4.5kg) would stay in this phase for 50 days.
During this phase, you can eat the same foods that you ate in the attack phase and the cruise phase, but you can add in a little bit of fruit, bread, starchy vegetables, cheese, other types of meat, and wine.
During the first half of the consolidation phase, you eat fewer carbs and fat than you do in the second half of the phase. The goal is to slowly introduce a limited amount of carbs and fat back into your diet.
Once a week you follow a pure protein day, and you can only eat foods from the attack phase.
In the consolidation phase, you eat 2.5 tablespoons of oat bran a day, and participants are encouraged to take a 25-minute walk every day.
Phase 4: The Stabilisation Phase
This phase lasts indefinitely. You continue to eat according to the consolidation phase, but you can be less restrictive with it. People in this phase can eat more of what they want as long as they don’t notice any weight gain.
However, there are still three main rules during the stabilisation phase:
- Eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran every day.
- Take the stairs when you can to stay active.
- Once a week, eat only protein from the attack phase for the entire day.
Is the Dukan Diet Healthy and Sustainable?
Although there haven’t been many studies done on The Dukan Diet, some people report that it has helped them lose weight. Because The Dukan Diet is so restrictive in the beginning, people experience weight loss pretty quickly.
One thing I like about this diet is that it emphasises walking as a form of exercise, drinking plenty of water, eating fiber through oat bran (even if it is limited), and avoiding too much sugar and alcohol.
However, the diet is super restrictive, and this can cause a variety of problems. One of the biggest problems is that restrictive diets tend to be really hard for people to maintain, and so they are often not sustainable. It’s very hard to cut out entire food groups, and many people simply won’t stick with diets like that. Most people will do best with diets that they can maintain long-term.
Another serious problem is that really restrictive diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Because this diet restricts fruits and vegetables, people will likely struggle to consume an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.
Research also suggests that The Dukan Diet can lead to other health problems, including:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- cardiovascular disease
- metabolic issues
Other negative side effects can include headaches, bad breath, constipation, and fatigue.
Should You Try the Dukan Diet?
This diet might help you lose weight, especially at first. However, it is a very extreme diet, and I recommend following balanced diets that are more likely to help you maintain your weight for the long-term.
Because this diet is so extreme, I suggest talking to your doctor or another medical professional before you try it. This diet can increase your risk of other health conditions, and there are other healthy ways to lose weight that don’t pose the same types of risks.
Remember, being healthy isn’t just about losing weight. Eating lots of nutrients, drinking water, sleeping well, and exercising will all help you feel and look your best. :)
Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions about The Dukan Diet in the comments!
Love Rachael Xx