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Dukan Diet: A perfect diet to reduce weight!

Dukan Diet: A perfect diet to reduce weight!
Written by Medhaavi Mishra

The Dukan Diet, a popular eating plan, is based on the idea that increasing your protein intake is crucial for weight loss. The program encourages a variety of high-protein, low-carb foods over the course of four phases. The potential to lose up to eight pounds in the first week of dieting is also mentioned. You cannot, however, include many healthy foods in your meal plan because of the Dukan diet. In addition, some nutrition experts believe that may be extremely strict, unsustainable, and ineffective over the long run.

What is Dukan Diet?

“The Dukan diet is based on the notion that eating a lot of protein can help one lose weight. According to Ontario-based registered dietitian Kelsey Russell-Murray, the diet places a strong emphasis on consuming a lot of protein. He also founded the nutritionist practice known as Gut Healthy Dietitian. There are four phases to the Dukan diet, each with distinct guidelines for what you can and cannot eat. Only about 100 different foods are allowed in total, 68 of which are “pure proteins,” or foods. The Dukan diet is high in protein but low in calories and fat, like meat. Most foods that are high in fat or carbohydrates are initially avoided. 

Dieters can expect to lose up to eight pounds during the first phase of the Dukan diet. They must lose about two pounds per week until they reach their “True Weight,” which the plan defines as a sensible, ideal weight. With that, you can conveniently preserve over the long term without hunger or calorie restriction. The plan states that to determine your True Weight, factors such as your gender, age, highest weight, lowest weight, average weight, hereditary traits, bone structure, and the number of pregnancies you’ve had are all taken into consideration. The typical time frame for the diet will depend on your target weight.

History of the Dukan Diet

When Pierre Dukan first introduced his program, the primary diet advised for weight loss consisted of low-calorie, single-serving meals. It was hard for his patients to keep up. Dr. Dukan’s plan now focuses primarily on lean protein, which reduces appetite and makes the diet regimen easier to follow.  For the next 20 years, he continued to make changes to his diet. The first edition of the Dukan Diet was released in 2000 by Dr. Dukan in the internationally popular French book “Je ne Sais Pas Maigrir” (I Don’t Know How to Get Slimmer).

The “Dukan Diet” book was already well-known when it was released in the UK in 2010 and the US in 2011. It was among the best sellers in the New York Times and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. It has also been translated into more than 14 different languages, according to the Dukan Diet website.

How well does the Dukan diet work?

Dieters who adhere to the Dukan Diet eat more high-protein foods while consuming fewer carbohydrates and fats. It compares eating a lot of protein to helping you lose weight. According to a 2015 study, people who consume more protein than those who don’t burn 260 more calories per day. This is undoubtedly supported by science. Since the process of metabolizing protein requires more energy, doing this will increase your calorie burn. A Harvard study also discovered that protein helps people feel fuller for longer. It is fantastic for reducing the need for snacks or excessive eating. A list of 100 foods that people can eat as part of the plan is given to them. Out of those, 28 are vegetables and 72 are proteins. Dieters start on their diets with the 72 proteins, then as they advance through the phases, they add vegetables and other foods.

Phases of the Dukan Diet

Phases of the Dukan diet have been classified into 4 categories:

The attack phase

You eat things from the “pure protein” list when you’re in the attack phase. It aims to shed pounds quickly. It is thought that increasing your protein intake will hasten your metabolism. Although it takes a few more calories to digest protein. Dietitians concur that no particular food can increase metabolism. However, exercise may make it higher. People may start to lose weight at this point. Because cutting back on carbohydrates causes your body to lose water, dehydration combined with weight loss could occur quickly. The attack phase typically lasts two to five days.

People who want to start losing more than 40 pounds may, however, spend a week or more in this phase. During this phase, a person may eat any of the 68 pure proteins listed. Lean beef, fish, chicken, eggs, soy, cottage cheese, and dairy products with no added fat are a few of these. You should select options that have few calories and no added sugars. There is no restriction on how much one can chew, and there is no diet.

Additionally, they need to consume at least 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran each day (tbsp). There is a lot of fiber in oat bran. The body cannot digest or break down the majority of this carb. Fiber-rich foods can help quell hunger. A person must drink at least 1.5 liters (l) of water and exercise for 20 minutes every day while on the attack phase of the diet.

The cruise phase

The cruise phase aims to gradually reduce a person’s body weight through the gradual addition of 32 specific vegetables to the diet. The list’s 100 items are all currently edible. But they ought to try to alternate between days that contain only protein and days that contain both protein and vegetables. The length of this phase will depend on how much weight the person wants to lose. It lasts for three days for every pound they would like to lose. Unrestricted amounts of low-fat proteins and non-starchy vegetables like spinach, okra, lettuce, and green beans are also acceptable. During the cruise phase, the diet specifies that they should exercise for 30 to 60 minutes each day and eat 2 tablespoons of oat bran per day.

The consolidation phase

Instead of attempting to reduce weight gain, the consolidation phase aims to prevent it. Introducing a few starchy foods is acceptable. Now that they can eat every day:

  • Protein and vegetables indefinitely
  • One fruit only.
  • A 1.5-ounce piece of hard cheese
  • Two slices of whole-wheat bread

They are allowed to eat one or two portions of starchy food each week in addition to one or two meals for special occasions. At a celebration meal, anyone can consume whatever they want. During this phase, they must adhere to the fundamental diet of only pure protein, ideally on the same day each week. You must exercise for the next 25 minutes every day.

The stabilization phase

The stabilization phase of the plan is the long-term maintenance component. The person shouldn’t anticipate gaining or losing weight at this time. Every week, they will receive an all-protein day, just like they did during the attack phase. 

Apart from that, they can eat whatever they want as long as they follow a few simple rules:

  • Eat 3 tbsp of oat bran every day.
  • As frequently as you can, take the stairs.
  • Have a “pure protein day” every Thursday.
  • Exercise for 20 minutes each day.
  • Keep drinking 1.5 liters of water each day.

The stabilization phase is a long-term strategy that becomes ingrained in the person’s way of life. Now accepted are spices, vinegar, sugar-free gum, and artificial sweeteners. The diet also suggests taking vitamin supplements with mineral deposits.

Does it work?

You might lose weight if you eat a protein-rich diet. But scientific evidence does not support the validity of this weight loss.

According to a 2014 study, there are several reasons, including the following, that high protein diets may help with weight loss:

  • Making the person feel satiated
  • Reducing the hormone ghrelin, which causes hunger
  • Improving the body’s balance of glucose
  • Causing the body to lose fluid or diuresis

Because it excludes some food groups, like grains and fruits, the diet is not nutritionally balanced, according to researchers. It can also be a difficult and inconvenient diet. All meals must be prepared entirely from scratch. You could go out to eat. It might be difficult to control restaurant food preparation, though. It may be difficult to adhere to the Dukan diet’s many restrictions, especially if there are family members who are not on the diet.

Other problems include the following ones:

  • The majority of the first-time weight loss will be transient water.
  • Two expensive sources of lean protein are fish and meat.

Diet for seven days

The Dukan Diet is unusual. The diet is divided into four separate phases, each of which has its own goals and methods for achieving them. This 7-day diet plan was inspired by the Cruise phase. Because that is when weight loss occurs. The Dukan Diet recommends alternating days of pure protein with days of nutrients and vegetables, and this sample menu does the same.

  • Day 1: Vegetarian burgers, eggs sprayed with olive oil, and chicken that had been sautéed with an egg wash and dusted with oat bran were among the meals.
  • Day 2: A baked salmon dish with steamed broccoli, Brussels sprouts wrapped in prosciutto, lean pork roasted with cauliflower, and an oat bran muffin are among the meals.
  • Day 3: An oat bran pancake with tofu, low-fat Greek yogurt, and lean ham.
  • Day 4: Included oat bran meatballs, artichoke and asparagus salad, salmon with shallots marinated in lemon and ginger, and eggs sprayed with olive oil.
  • Day 5: Baked tempeh, a tablespoon of Goji berries blended with oat bran and low-fat bacon, and lean, roasted center-cut pork loin.
  • Day 6: Include fat-free cottage cheese, pumpkin oat bran waffles, beef tenderloin with mushrooms and onions, and watercress soup with low-fat pork.
  • Day 7: Included baked lemon haddock, roasted wild duck with tofu, and cottage cheese with oatmeal bran mixed in.

The Dukan diet allows you to lose a lot of weight, right?

According to studies, dieters who follow the Dukan diet can lose up to 2.5 stones. 8–10 weeks of the plan were observed by a group of women in a Polish study. The average weight loss reported overall, they found, “was about 15 kilograms.” “Many people have lost a lot of weight by using the plan and adhering to the Dukan diet recipes. The amount of weight you need to lose, though, will determine this “explains Dr. Dukan. The most crucial thing is to reach and keep your true, natural weight.

The Dukan diet claims that your actual weight is “the maximum weight you can carry without feeling sad or harming your health. It is also the weight you can maintain over an extended period without experiencing discomfort, hunger, or restricted eating.” This target weight takes into account factors like sex, age, and height. Moreover, the heaviest and lightest weights you’ve ever felt.

Why is the Dukan diet superior to the Atkins diet?

The Atkin’s diet and the Dukan diet both call for limiting carbohydrates, so there are some similarities between the two, according to the Dukan diet website.

There are a few notable exceptions, though:

  • It is not necessary for those who adhere to the Dukan diet to keep track of their calorie, carb, or another dietary intake.
  • The Dukan diet offers a list of 100 foods plus some extras in the final phase, unlike Atkin’s diet, which is more limited.
  • The Dukan diet prioritizes low-fat protein, including fat-free dairy products, whereas Atkin’s diet does not place any restrictions on dairy fats, meat fats, or any saturated fats.
  • Atkin’s diet recommends shakes, bars, and other packaged foods, whereas the Dukan diet emphasizes 100 natural foods.

Is the Dukan diet an effective long-term plan?

The Dukan diet has some nutritional benefits, but doctors do not believe it is a long-term solution. The Dukan diet promotes a diet high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates for “sustainable” weight loss, claims nutritionist Ellie Busby, the brains behind the plant-based eating regimen Vojo. There are a few problems with this weight loss plan, though. She is aware that the Dukan diet is a ketogenic one. And that studies have demonstrated that following this diet can aid in weight loss. However, dieters should plan on the weight returning relatively soon after. The problem with these stringent diets is that they work well for short-term weight loss. People are unable to sustain them for longer than six months before regaining all of the lost mass. She goes on to say that they are hard to understand. And also, make socializing difficult because you can’t quickly eat out.

The Dukan diet’s benefits and drawbacks

Nothing processed

Every component of the Dukan Diet recipes is natural, according to Dr. Dukan. “For the sake of your health, try to avoid processed foods whenever you can. No processed meats or fish. It is comparable to the diet we followed decades ago, making it the healthiest diet imaginable.”

High-fat food

 consumption of butter, fish, olive, and sunflower oils, as well as other animal and plant fats, is advised. These are thought to be heart-healthy because they contain polyphenols, polyunsaturated fats, and vitamins.

Satisfying dishes

Remember that the Dukan diet promotes eating as much of the suggested foods as you like. According to an Amazon reviewer of the diet book, “I don’t feel hungry.” “The meals are filling and satisfying.”

Water weight loss

The majority of the weight you initially lose will be water. This is only a temporary condition, and the pounds will most likely come back once you stop the diet.

Vital nutrients missing

Fruits are not allowed until the third phase, while vegetables are not allowed during the first phase. This implies that your body won’t have enough of the vital mineral nutrients it needs to support healthy function.

Detrimental effects

A diet high in protein and oat bran, according to TOWIE star Maria Fowler, can lead to mood swings, and headaches. And hunger pangs in addition to bad breath and bowel issues.

Not advised for those with known conditions

Before beginning, anyone who has kidney, liver, or gout issues should consult a doctor. A Polish study found that kidney and liver disease, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease were more common in women. Women, who used Dukan for an extended period.

Heightened risk of kidney stones

Urinary stones may develop as a result of Dukan-style ketogenic diets, claims the author of an Italian study. On those who have a history of stone disease, he advises against using these diets.


Fish and lean meat, are frequently expensive. The Dukan diet is an important source of protein, and they add up during the weekly shop.


EastEnders actress Lacey Turner thought the diet was a little boring. Eating as much as you want might not feel very satisfying after dinner after dinner of poached chicken and steamed broccoli, she cautioned.

Not easily understood

If you have a packed social calendar, a hectic schedule, and kids to take care of, it might be challenging to adhere to the strict rules.

Safety worries regarding the Dukan Diet

The Dukan Diet is extremely restrictive and may be difficult to follow. Additionally, there is little evidence to support nutrition’s basic tenets or to demonstrate that it is effective. The meal plan excludes numerous highly nutritious foods due to their high fat or carbohydrate content. Only 100 foods make up the diet, according to Russell-Murray. And completely leaves out fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes, as well as the majority of starchy vegetables.

Even though you are not required to count calories, the diet is still restrictive. It suggests that it is naturally very low in calories. You may be more likely to experience nutritional deficiencies if you follow a low-calorie diet. It may also slow your metabolism, making it harder to maintain weight loss, according to recent research from the Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. It is critical to stress that Lubeck believes eating a high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys. Your kidneys have a difficult time breaking down and filtering protein for your body. As a result, they must exert more effort. An excessive protein intake may cause kidney damage. 

Is the Dukan Diet a Reliable Choice?

Experts say that if you want to lose weight safely, the Dukan Diet may not be the best choice. You can safely lose weight by staying active, consuming fewer calories, and eating a nutritious, balanced diet, claims the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). “Even though I appreciate the focus on eating whole foods and exercising frequently. I have more concerns about some aspects of the Dukan Diet than others. However, it could be harmful, “declared Russell-Murray.

 “The Dukan Diet’s dangers and high protein intake are probably to blame. It reduced the consumption of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which have been linked to positive health effects. Lubeck agrees and says she wouldn’t advise anyone considering trying the nutrition to do so.” However, the Dukan Diet may provide you with some insightful information. There’s a good chance that you’ll develop many more bad eating habits. Through the instillation of new rules and fears regarding food, such restrictive diets can lead to disordered eating patterns.


The Dukan diet is a high-protein, low-carb eating regimen. Although the diet may help people lose weight, research has linked it to several potential health problems. The diet’s apparent requirement for daily exercise could also be to blame for any weight loss. A person should speak with a doctor or nutritionist before actually making any significant dietary changes. These medical professionals can advise healthy ways to lose weight.

About the author

Medhaavi Mishra