The Dukan Diet, sometimes called the Dukan Method, is the creation of French nutritionist and dietitian Pierre Dukan. The diet is heavy on protein and is based on how primitive hunter-gatherers ate. By following the four phases of the total plan, the Dukan Diet promises rapid and steady weight loss without experiencing feelings of hunger.
According to lore, Dr. Dukan developed the diet in the 1970s after being inspired by an obese patient who promised to do anything to lose weight, with the exception of giving up meat. The diet is similar to other high-protein plans, including Atkins and the Stillman Diet. However, while other diet plans rely heavily on calorie restriction, the Dukan Diet encourages eating as much protein as possible in place of other food groups. According to the plan, by initially eliminating all carbohydrates, your body is forced to burn calories for energy.
The four phases of the Dukan Diet include two weight-loss phases and two maintenance phases. The duration of the phases is based on how much weight you want to lose to reach your “true weight.”
In the initial phase, you eat unlimited lean protein and a small portion of oat bran to jumpstart weight-loss. You can lose up to six pounds in three to five days. The diet also regulates how much water to drink and how much exercise to do. In the next phase, you gradually add select vegetables while still abstaining from fruit. This phase slows weight-loss to around two pounds each week and lasts for a longer period of time depending on how much weight you have to lose. The next phase is designed to maintain weight-loss while adding restricted foods, like fruit. The final phase is designed for the long-term and shouldn’t result in weight gain or loss.
The opinions on the Dukan Diet remain mixed. Although it is healthy to lose weight, especially if you are obese or overweight, the diet is not considered sustainable over the long-term because it is so restrictive. This restriction also means that the diet is considered incomplete because grains and other nutrients are excluded. Furthermore, the rules and restrictions of the Dukan Diet make it difficult to follow because only select fruits and vegetables are allowed. One benefit of the Dukan Diet is that while many plans eliminate alcohol, a daily glass of wine is allowed in the later stages of the diet plan.
If you have other dietary restrictions for health reasons, it can be difficult to follow the Dukan Diet. However, it may be easy to maintain a gluten-free diet on the Dukan plan as it eliminates many grains, but you should still read labels carefully to avoid contamination. The Dukan Diet may not be a good idea if you have diabetes, kidney failure, or other conditions because of the limited number of foods. Much of the success of the diet depends on your individual health and how much weight you have to lose, so you might want to consult your physician before you begin this type of diet.