The Dukan Diet is based around eating high-protein foods while severely limiting all carbohydrates including fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Unlike the Atkins diet the emphasis is on sources of protein that are low in fat such as fish, poultry and reduced-fat dairy products.
The Dukan Diet has four phases: The first two promise a speedy slim down; the last two focus on maintenance so you don’t regain the weight you’ve lost.
The diet is based on a list of over 100 allowed foods, as well as four specific ground pillars also known as phases: 1-attack, 2-cruise, 3-consolidation, and 4-stabilization.
1 – Attack:
The attack phase is designed to enable dieters to rapidly lose 2 to 3 kilograms (4.4 to 6.6 lb) in 2–7 days by kick-starting their metabolism. Dieters are allowed to eat as much as they want of 68 protein-rich foods.
Attack is all about protein. You can eat unlimited lean meat, poultry, lean ham, organ meats, fish and seafood, eggs, and nonfat dairy (except no cheese). This phase, as well as the next three phases, also requires drinking six cups of water. You also take a 20-minute walk every day. In this phase and the next two phases, you eat one and a half tablespoons of oat bran daily (Dukan says it helps people feel full).
According to Dukan, most people stay in the Attack phase for five days and lose four to seven pounds.
2 – Cruise:
In this phase of the Dukan Diet, days of protein only are alternated with days of protein and vegetables.
The types of vegetables allowed in this phase are limited to those that do not contain starch such as lettuce, spinach, celery, cucumber, asparagus and tomato. Vegetables can be consumed raw, steamed, or in soups and stews.
The cruise phase is designed to allow dieters to more gradually achieve the weight they aim for by eating protein-rich foods with the addition of 28 specific vegetables (but avoiding those especially starchy or fatty, e.g., potatoes or avocados). The length of this phase is usually calculated as 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of weight loss per week, but this is based on specific personal conditions.
The diet forbids starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, peas, beans, and lentils. In this phase, you alternate protein and non-starchy vegetables with a protein-only day. So you eat meals that combine veggies and protein one day, then meals that are protein-only the next, and so on. In the Cruise phase, you walk for 30 minutes a day. This phase lasts until you reach your goal weight.
3 – Consolidation:
The consolidation phase is designed to help in preventing any future massive weight gain.
This is the maintenance phase and commences once you have achieved your goal weight.
You will continue to base your diet on protein and vegetables but are also allowed one serving of fresh fruit daily (except for bananas, grapes, cherries, and dried fruits), along with two slices of whole grain bread, and one and a half ounces of cheese per day, plus two servings of starchy foods, like pasta and potatoes, each week.
In this phase of the Dukan Diet you are also allowed one ‘celebration meal’ each week, which is increased to twice a week after you have been in phase three for a while.
In the Consolidation phase, you walk for 25 minutes a day. This phase is designed to prevent rebound weight gain; the length you’re on it depends on how much weight you’ve lost. For every pound you shed in the first phases of the Dukan Diet, you stay in the Consolidation phase for five days. So if you lost 24 pounds, this phase should last four months.
4 – Stabilization:
This is the ongoing lifestyle phase of the Dukan Diet. In this phase you are instructed to go back to eating whatever you like while continuing to use the rules of the Consolidation Phase as a guideline. One day of the week dieters are instructed to eat only protein.
See also: “Things You Should Know About Macrobiotic Diet“
allows you to eat whatever you want for six days, as long as the seventh day is protein-only. You also up your oat bran intake to three tablespoons and walk for 20 minutes a day. This phase is designed to help you maintain the weight you’ve lost.
The Dukan Diet: Effects
Though you may see rapid initial weight loss, it will mostly be from water and, later, from muscle mass. You’ll also likely experience fatigue, moodiness, and other symptoms because the diet is so severely lacking in carbohydrates. Nutrient deficiencies can happen in the first phases when you’re consuming few vegetables and fruits and complex carbohydrates. The first two phases also sorely lack fiber, which can cause constipation.
If you follow the high-protein, low-carb diet of the first two phases for too long, a condition called ketosis can set in. Here, a lack of carbs forces the body to break down fat for energy, which can cause fatigue, bad breath, and dry mouth; over time, it can damage the kidneys and liver.