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The Dukan Diet

A French diet that has helped many A-list celebrities lose weight.

QUICK FACTS Start the Diet Now Advertisement
  • Established: Book published in 2000 after over 20 years of research
  • Founder: Dr. Pierre Dukan
  • Headquarters: Paris, France
  • Accessibility: Book and online coaching
  • Diet Type: Low-glycemic index, high protein and low-carbohydrate
  • Gender: Male and female
  • Celebrity Endorsements: Kate Middleton, Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen
BACKGROUND

The Dukan Diet is a French-based weight loss plan that was rumored to be followed by Kate Middleton, model Gisele Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez, following their pregnancies.

Created by Dr. Pierre Dukan, the diet is the number one weight loss plan in the UK attracting women of all shapes, sizes and ages to help them lose weight. It is also referred to as the "Je ne sais pas maigrir" ("I don't know how to lose weight") diet plan.

The plan is centered around eating protein-based meals in a four-cycled program. The four cycles are: Attack, Weight Loss, Stabilization and Cruise.

The Dukan Diet is a remastered version of the Protein-Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF), which is a high-protein diet that was created over three decades ago for obese individuals.

The Dukan Diet has been criticized for being a fad diet as well as a diet that may be dangerous because of its strict guidelines.

You can expect to lose three to five pounds per week while following it.

There is both a Dukan Diet website and book that lays out very clearly what the diet entails including what you can and can't eat, portion sizes and the length of time you should remain in each phase in relation to your weight loss goal.

A new English language edition of Dr. Dukan's book was released on April 19, 2011. It is called The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever and claims to be "The Real Reason The French Stay Thin." There is also a companion cookbook.

PRO
  • Will result in weight loss
  • Can help to jump-start a sluggish metabolism
  • Includes a daily exercise plan

CON
  • Strict guidelines are likely to cause weight regain
  • May be dangerous for some who are at risk for electrolyte imbalances
  • Considered a fad diet
  • Likely to produce moodiness and lethargy especially during the first phase
DIET and NUTRITION

The Dukan Diet is comprised of four specific phases that cycle the kinds of protein and carbohydrates you consume. The reason for this cycling is to dip into fat stores for energy and trick the metabolism into an efficient fuel-burning machine.

Few starchy carbohydrates are allowed except for those in the form of low glycemic vegetables like lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes and broccoli. In addition, oat bran should be consumed each day. Its amount varies according to the phase of the diet you are in. Oat bran is also a staple ingredient in many of the Dukan Diet recipes.

Here is a breakdown of the four cycles:

  • Attack Phase: Only very lean veal, beef, chicken (skinless) and turkey (skinless), fish and shellfish, eggs, fat-free dairy products are allowed. Greek yogurt with 0 percent fat and plain yogurt are considered great choices for dairy. Tons of fresh water is also required. This phase should not be followed for longer than 10 days.

  • Cruise Phase: Alternating in five-day cycles, you cycle back and forth between eating protein and non-starchy vegetables and eating only protein. No butter or oil can be used and tons of fresh water is required. Follow this phase until your goal weight is attained.

  • Consolidation Phase: One serving of fruit, two slices of whole wheat bread and 1.5 ounces of cheese is allowed each day. Two times each week, you are allowed to eat two 5-ounce servings of starch, like potatoes, rice or another grain. Protein is also a mainstay. In addition, two times a week, you can eat a cheat meal including wine and dessert. But the day after these cheat meals, you can only consume protein. The Stabilization phase is done for the number of days that equals four days for every half-pound lost.

  • Stabilization: Normal eating is resumed with one day a week devoted to consuming only protein.

A quality vitamin and mineral supplement must also be taken in order to maintain proper nutrient intake. Spices, moderate amounts of diet soda, artificial sweeteners are allowed. No added sugars, fats, oils or sugary condiments are allowed.

EXERCISE

Walking is the form of exercise that is strongly encouraged within each phase. You are expected to walk 20 to 30 minutes a day, depending upon the phase you are in. The book also includes several strength-training exercises you can also incorporate into your daily routine.

Learn More
View About The Dukan Diet Slideshow
CONCLUSION

The Dukan Diet is a high protein weight loss plan that cycles you back and forth between a protein-based diet that allows for certain kinds, quantities and frequencies of carbohydrates.

The diet is a mega hit in the Europe as well as with some celebrities. And while it receives a few gold stars for its clear guidelines and its capacity to help you lose weight, it probably won't result in long-term weight loss and it may even cause health problems or at the very least, moodiness and dreams of bread, particularly during the Attack phase.

Common Misspellings

dukand diet, duken diet, ducan diet, duckan diet, ducking diet, duekan diet


Related Diets: Atkins Diet, The Cheater's Diet, High Protein Diet, Low-Carb Diet, The Cheat to Lose Diet, Crack the Fat Loss Code


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(Page 3 of 5, 84 total comments)

Leigh

I have been on the diet 5 days and have lost 6 pounds. I am starting the cruise phase tomorrow and am so looking foward to those vegetables. I find I am eating less I feel satiated sooner and I really think I can stick with this one.

posted Aug 12th, 2011 1:34 pm


jenn

I've been on the Dukan plan for 2.5 months and I believe it has changed my life like no other diet has (note: I've done Weight Watchers several times, Atkins and once considered myself a South Beach devotee). I've lost ~20 lbs., and I'm currently in the Consolidation phase. I'll start Stabilization in mid-September. Here's what's working for me:
1. No alcohol. Initially I truly struggled with this, thinking I wouldn't be able to stick to the diet because of the alcohol restriction, especially living in California and loving wine so much. However, once I got through the Attack and Cruise phases, where you cannot touch it, I realized that I don't need it in my life and that drinking it puts me into a domino effect where I lose all inhibitions and eat too much. In fact, when I took a drink for my first "celebration" meal in Stabilization, I had a horrendous hangover following morning, which cured me for life. I'm pleased to say that I can go to parties and not feel pressured or deprived with no drinking. My beverage of choice: Pellegrino with a twist and a splash of Torani sugar-free syrup (they come in lots of flavors). Without alcohol I no longer feel sluggish, I don't have those "lost weekends," and I have a deeper sense of clarity of mind.
2. I appreciate and embrace "celebration" meals--guilt-free. Before Dukan I would feel really, really guilty about "slipping," which invariably put me into a downward spiral of "well I've blown it now--I'll just eat whatever I want all day." Now I plan my weekly menus, including the beloved celebration meal and the pure protein day, and I don't want to overeat. I eat all celebration courses, including dessert, (sans alcohol), and I truly appreciate it. I do however have a tendency to get a sugar hangover the next morning if I have an exceptionally sweet dessert.

3. I know when my body is full, and I push away from the table. I've always been one of those people who will keep eating even after feeling full. I'm not sure how the plan trains your body to know it's sated, I now have no desire to eat until full. I can stop just before that full feeling and have no reservations about leaving food on my plate.
4. I've given up two "healthy" foods and will never turn back--peanut butter and hummus. Formerly a staple in my kitchen and allowed on South Beach, I tended to overindulge in these foods. I no longer eat them, nor do I miss them.

If you decide to do this diet, please follow it to a T. Do not ignore the Consolidation phase's addition of bread, fruit, starches and celebration meals. (on South Beach, I never added bread back into my diet, which I believe was a huge mistake, as your body needs a transition from dieting to maintaining weight loss). Good luck!

posted Aug 5th, 2011 12:57 pm


lisa

Behavior change vs quick fixes: What makes the dukan diet work! I don't have a question, but a comment. This diet is like many others that recommend high protein eating. The problem is most people don't carry out the recommendations AFTER the initial weight loss. If you look at the last two phases, it incorporates some behavior modification guidelines that are very credible. As humans, we tend to resort back to our old habits thinking we have lost the weight forever. I lost 35 pounds on a similar self-created diet and have kept it off for 4 yrs. So my advice it to pay even more attention to the guidelines of maintenance and remember, there is no FREE lunch when it comes to weight loss! Thanks for listening!

posted Aug 3rd, 2011 7:59 am


Anneke

Hi,

I weighed in at 86 kg (13.5 stone i think). I am 178 cms tall . There I said it.... sorry for the metrics. I started the diet 1 week ago. Have lost 4.6 kgs and am pushing through for a few more days. I have added salad to my meats, just for a mix in flavor. Aim is for 75, wish me luck. I miss the sugar more then anything (although considering it is only a small craving) especially in the evening with my tea, but hey, each gram counts and reaching for the chocolate is not worth it. Watch out doing too much sport, i have found i get pretty flat. Overall i am really ok with this diet plan. Good luck and don't forget to eat.

posted Jul 31st, 2011 11:53 am


Jo f

Guys,
I have started the diet yesterday morning and currently weigh three pounds lighter, I am now 12 st 2 and my target weight is 10 stone. I wish people would write what they weigh as if you have lost 10pounds on the diet but only weighed 10stone then you don't have as much weight to lose as other people and therefore the weight comes off quicker and easier the bigger you are, please let us know what you weigh initially so we have a better understanding of your weight loss :) ps will keep you posted as to how I get on!

posted Jul 19th, 2011 11:06 am


hazel

If this diet is so oblivious to health concerns, please explain how the eskimo/ inuit tribes have been living on high protein diets their entire lives. They have never lived on vegetable and grain diets for thousands of years. Please explain how that is possible that entire populations can survive without gallstones and kidney failure that the "experts" claim this diet will cause.

posted Jul 2nd, 2011 12:14 pm


Gail McDowall

excellent diet, I always felt full so didn't crave sweet or fatty things - 1kg off my goal weight - yeah!

posted Jun 10th, 2011 5:29 am


Rachel Holt

Why have i not lost my weight, having been on the diet for 8 weeks, i have only lost 1 kilo, (need 2 kilos) Whilst i am enjoying the diet, i have only got 3 kilos to lose, and have so far only lost 1 kilo, i have been on the diet for 2 months now, although i am still having the occasional alcoholic drink on the weekend. It is very frustrating, i run everyday and do gym 5 days a week.

posted Jun 9th, 2011 10:21 pm


NativeAtlantaGirl

I have been on Dukan for about 6wks. I've lost approximately 20lbs but have been unable to exercise due to injury & subsequent surgery.

Lots of people protest the Dukan diet is unhealthy, but it is a matter of what foods you choose. I don't eat processed foods, nitrates, artificial sweetners, etc. I use Stevia for sweetening things. I do use olive oil (sparingly) despite Dr Dukan's admonishment.

I have been a long-time 'healthy Atkins' dieter but have been stalled for a long time. Making the adjustment has been pretty easy. I am a 'foodie' and have been to come up with many delicious & creative meals. I don't feel deprived.

Non-fat Greek yogurt has been a staple. Very easy 'go to' for me.

My challenge is lack of appetite. I am just not hungry. I log everything I eat/drink on sparkpeople. Some days I haven't even had 400 calories & I was not hungry/weak.

To battle constipation, I drink 100oz water or decaf organic iced tea. I may take a natural supplement to deal with the 'back-up'. Problem solved.

I didn't have any sort of cravings/headaches - but. Have been eating low carb for years. I have Lupus, so I get fatigued from time to time. I cannot say I have experienced more fatigue than normal.

I found the book itself hard to follow. There should have been a better ghost-writer involved. Dr Dukan's on site & boards at time contradict what is in the book.

It has worked for me (from a weight loss perspective), but no matter which diet you choose, you have to make it work for you and adapt long-term. I still have a ways to go before I move toward Consolidation - one cannot go bck to eating like they used to when reaching their goal.

posted Jun 3rd, 2011 5:53 pm


Marie

It is very effective, but I have changed the 'protein-only' days to include lettuce and/or spinach or kale, as they have hardly any carbs anyway and add a lot of fibre. They have not impacted the weight loss at all.
I decided to track what I ate on livestrong.com, and discovered that I was eating less than 800 calories per day - it is hard to eat a lot of calories on a lean-protein, low-fat diet! I was not hungry after the 2nd day of the attack phase.

posted Jun 1st, 2011 2:11 pm


zoe

On Day 7 of Attack Phase and have already lost 5 lbs.

posted May 29th, 2011 2:35 am


JM

Like many others here, I didn't have a lot of weight to lose (12 lbs) but had been unsuccessful despite being a pretty healthy person. The idea of reaching my goal in 1.5 months seemed great! In 3 days of attack I lost 4.4 lbs, and I am now in my 17th day with 7.2 lbs lost, which still puts me on track to lose the rest in another 3.5 weeks. I have adjusted to the diet pretty well, and am looking forward to the consolidation phase, which for me will be back to normal life.
I think people always have something to say because they want to find reasons to not try a diet, and try to justify the reasons why they are overweight. This diet is not like Atkins which promoted eating fats! And for those that criticize because you can't eat fruits, I would guess no one actually got fat by eating fruits, so it's time to make a sacrifice and try something that works! And this one does...

posted May 26th, 2011 12:53 pm


Jackie

This is the best diet I've tried so far ;no counting calories, never hungry,I lost 8 pounds so far in three weeks; carbs are usually my weakness but after the first few days I did not really have cravings for carbs

posted May 19th, 2011 9:33 pm


Marion

Amazing! So easy to do. Felt more energetic from the first day. I am on day 11 and very optimistic that I can reach my goal weight within a month.

posted May 13th, 2011 8:59 am


sally

can u have spelemda

posted May 10th, 2011 6:52 pm


Amy

If you have high cholestrol you can follow the diet still but you just use egg whites instead of the whole egg. In the book it recommends that if you high cholestorel that you only have between 3 and 4 egg yolks a week. This diet is really good as I'm not feeling hungry on it at all, but as I don't eat fish my choice of Pure Protien foods is fairly limited, I'd recommend it but you need to have good willpower to suceed and be really organised about haing all the foods you need and plan you daily menu that has helped me enormously, Good Luck :)

posted May 7th, 2011 11:57 am


Molly9094

The diet sounds wonderful but would like to hear from people that worry about high cholesterol. Mine has always been in the 500 range and is finally down to 222 with Crestor. I love my fruits & yogurt, veggies, beans, oatmeal too. I eat meat and fish but in very small portions. I love the idea of the diet but don't want my cholesterol to skyrocket or lose nutrition. Any advice would be very welcome. If allowed, would you also email me at Molly9094@aol.com thank you all.. good luck :)

posted May 3rd, 2011 11:49 am


brian

I've been on the diet for 4 day and have lost 8 pound , I love the ( U Can Diet !!!! )

posted Apr 29th, 2011 11:18 am



Emilie Hassan

I hated that diet...

In fact I lost a lot of pounds (they came back with friends really fast lately) but I lost also my gallbladder. Too much cholesterol, bad breath, I looked so bad... 10 pounds lost, 20 found 6 months later after surgery.

posted Apr 28th, 2011 2:36 pm


Sarah

A very important note on this diet: You aren't supposed to be on it forever. It's designed to make you lose a lot of weight very fast and then keep it off. Eating only protein is not a normal diet and never will be -- this is what makes it different than the Atkins diet, which goes out of its way to villainify carbs. Carbs are not bad, nor are they the enemy.

What this diet does is force your body into starvation mode while at the same time keeps your muscles from being attacked like they normally would if you were in total starvation. I've been following it and so far I've lost quite a bit of weight in attack mode (7 lbs in 6 days). I expected that and am delighted. However I didn't expect to be utterly sick of meat this quickly, lol.

posted Apr 10th, 2011 6:50 am



 

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