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The Dukan Diet

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

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  • 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

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.

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

  • 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

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.


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

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 5 of 5, 85 total comments)


My husband has been doing this diet for over two months. he has lost alot of weight ( 10 kilos), but I am now wondering whether it is too much too quickly. He has been unpleasant, moody and difficult to live with. Summer this year has NOT been fun around him. I miss my summer evening glass of wine...seems we are all suffering because of this diet!!
Would love to hear from other people how they are feeling and whether the moddiness is a factor and why you think this is.


posted Aug 16th, 2010 10:03 am


I have started the Dukan diet today and will update you with my honest progress. I am already struggerling to think of meal ideas, I guess it is partly to do with breaking old eating routines! My goal is to lose 20llbs. Watch this space!

posted Aug 16th, 2010 8:53 am


Interesting review but it has a few errors in it. I have been on the Dukan diet for 40 days and have lost 25 lbs. Most of that was in the intial phase and was water weight. I now lose 2 - 3 lbs a week at a steady pace. I have read the book and have spent time at Dr. Dukan's website as well I belong to a support forum with other successful Dukan dieters. Here are a few points I would ike to clarify:

1. Excercise.
Excercise is MANDATORY on this diet. You are to walk for 20 minutes a day during attack and 30 minutes a day during cruise. Dr. Dukan also shares several toning exercises in his book.

2. Carbs
You must also eat oat bran everyday including your protein days. With the oat bran you are limited to the amount you can have by the phase you are in. With the oat bran you can make porridge, muffins, bread, cake, cookies, coating for meat, etc. On protein days I frequently have a ham and chicken sandwich on toasted oat bran bread with low fat swiss cheese spread on the bread. It is delicious and filling. On veggie days you are eating the oat bran plus how much veggies you want. You can also eat yogurt and cottage cheese up to 1 kg a day on both protein and protein/veggie days. I certainly don't see this as a high protein diet that would tax the kidneys. There is lots of variety and hundreds of dishes you can create with the approved ingredients.

The stages above are incorrect. Here is the correct names and descriptions:

The four phases of the Dukan Diet are:

1. The Attack Phase is the most simple in terms of what food is allowed but it is also the phase that doesn't tolerate deviation of any kind. This phase involves initial weight loss and lasts from three to 10 days, depending on how much weight a person wants to lose. Only the following proteins are allowed to be eaten: veal and beef except for T-bone steaks; poultry except for duck and goose; seafood and fish; eggs and fat-free dairy products. All food should be cooked in non-stick pans, grilled, barbecued or roasted because fat cannot be used for cooking.
2. The Cruise Phase alternates two sub-phases and lasts until the goal weight is reached. The two sub-phases are: vegetables with proteins and only proteins. Vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked but again, no oil or butter can be used to cook or dress vegetables. All vegetables are allowed except for starchy vegetables such as, potatoes, corn, peas, beans and lentils. The recommended cycle is alternating between the two every day.
3. The Consolidation Phase helps prevent the yo-yo effect of most diet programmes. A person slowly returns to eating normally with certain restrictions concerning the quantity of fruit, bread, cheese and starchy foods. The good news is that dieters are also allowed two full, unrestricted meals per week with wine and desert. This phase lasts a different length of time for each person as it is calculated on the amount of weight lost: 5 days of Consolidation for each pound lost.
4. The Stabilization Phase is the final life-long stage of how to eat without re-gaining the lost weight. The only restriction is that a person eats only protein one day of every week for the rest of his life.

Once I hit my target weight, I will have to go on Stabilization for almost a year. This phase is less restrictive by over time with stablize your body at your new weight.

The final two phases are what is missing in every other diet out there. You get your weight down and then it is a struggle to keep it off. This diet takes time but it will help you stay at your goal weight better than anything else out there.

It is not Atkins! I gained 75 lbs on Atkins after losing 100 on a lower fat plan. The liberal amounts of fat allowed in Atkins work at first but then the body does a switch and you can not maintain your loss without cutting fat. Easy to lose on Atkins, not easy to keep off. Dukan will take you much further than any other diet.

posted Aug 9th, 2010 6:38 pm


The Dukan Diet has worked VERY well for my parents. They have tried diet after diet and still end up regaining the weight. They found this diet and have shed lbs while staying full. They're both only a few lbs away from their goal weights and find the diet easy to follow.

It is a lifetime commitment to having a "protein day" every week for the rest of your life starting in the final phase to "shock your body" back.

Having seen my parent's amazing results I started two days ago and I'm thinking I've finally found something that is going to work for me.

Good luck to everyone out there who is trying the Dukan diet... the one that actually WORKS!!

posted Jun 16th, 2010 6:22 pm


You say as cons: "Strict guidelines are likely to cause weight regain" and 'Considered a fad diet"

Well I have found after being on the diet for 9 months that it teaches you about nutrition, cooking and healthy eating and it will be very difficult for me to go back to unhealthy eating.

I'm an English guy living in France and this is not a Fad diet. It's been around for ages and is becoming a household name here. It's just starting our in the UK. Don't mistake it for a fad diet - it is a really good program.

In 9 months I have lost 32 Kg (about 5 stone). I have a few more to loose, but I am confident that I will get down to my target weight. I am very happy with the diet and how it has changed my life for the better.

posted Apr 29th, 2010 3:01 am


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