What is the Dukan Diet?
Followed by royalty (that's right, Kate Middleton herself) and celebrities around the world, the Dukan diet is one of the biggest diets to come out of the 21st century and for GOOD reason.
This high-protein diet was created by French nutritionist and eating behaviour specialist, Dr Pierre Dukan about 30 years ago in France. But since the book The Dukan Diet was translated into English back in 2010 it's fair to say the diet has become a phenomenon in the UK.
Every woman wants to feel good about herself, right? In fact a lot of us aren't happy with our bodies. A recent survey conducted by the diet showed that 96% of women asked didn't think they had a good enough body to go to the beach.
So for anyone who's looking to a confident beach bod just in time for summer, Dr Pierre Dukan says that TODAY is the official start for Dukaners to commence their Beach Body Countdown. Here's how to get started...
How does the Dukan Diet work?
Similar to a high protein diet, the Dukan Diet has a 4-phase programme. It's high in protein, low in calories and also reduces your appetite. What’s more, the body’s absorption of protein leads to high calorie expenditure and allows weight loss without loss of muscle strength.
The programme also takes the post-diet period into account and helps you avoid putting weight back on when you return to a normal eating pattern. Now that's what we like to hear.
How much weight can I lose?
The Dukan Diet isn't about being super skinny, it's about finding your true weight and reaching it. Calculate your true weight for free here. Simple as.
The Dukan Diet Phases
- Pure protein attack phase: In this phase you only eat protein, i.e. meat, poultry, fish, seafood and fat-free dairy products. This phase lasts for 3 to 10 days depending on your target.
- Cruise phase: Similar to the attack phase, but only vegetables are gradually added to the protein. All that's off the menu at this point is starchy foods (potatoes, sweetcorn, peas, lentils, green beans etc).
Alternate these 2 phases until you reach your desired weight (maximum loss 1kg per week).
- Consolidation phase: In this phase return to normal eating as slowly as possible to avoid the dreaded 'yo-yo effect', reintroducing forbidden foods gradually. Allow 10 days of consolidation for each kilo lost.
- Stabilisation phase: During this phase eat normally, respecting TWO golden rules: have a pure-protein day once a week for life, and eat 3 tablespoons of oats and bran per day. T'is simple.
Foods allowed during phase 1:
Meat (beef and veal), poultry without the skin on (apart from duck and goose), lean ham, fish, seafood, fat-free dairy products, water, tea and coffee can all be eaten in whatever quantities you want. All other foods are cut out.
Foods allowed during phase 2:
The above mentioned foods and vegetables (apart from potatoes, rice, sweetcorn, peas, lentils, green beans and avocados).
Here's a typical day during the Dukan Diet attack phase...
- Breakfast: Unsweetened coffee or tea, 1 or 2 low-fat yoghurts (fruit yoghurts if desired) and either 1 slice of turkey or ham with the fat cut off, or a boiled egg, or a bran pancake.
- Snack: 1 yoghurt or 100g of fat-free fat fromage frais (optional).
- Lunch: Seafood sticks, crab, 1 turkey escalope, and either 1 helping of fromage frais or a bran pancake. Yum.
- Snack: 1 yoghurt or 100g fat-free fromage frais (optional).
- Dinner: Chicken liver or a hard-boiled egg, fish or shellfish, One yoghurt.
Does the Dukan Diet work?
The attack phase guarantees substantial weight loss, but what about the longterm effects?
To really get an idea of what the diet has to offer you we teamed up with in-house nutritionist at leading health and fitness app Lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson who told us the good and the bad. Here's our expert's views.
- Weight loss is initially fast then controlled.
- The plan prescribes at least 20 minutes exercise every day, which is without a doubt really good for you!
- It’s Easy! The foods allowed are really easy to obtain as they constitute mainly of meat, poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables. You don’t need to have great cooking skills or special cooking tools at home like some diets require. There’s also no need to weigh or measure what you eat as the diet doesn’t include calorie counting and allows you to eat unlimited quantities of the permitted foods. Sounds good to us!
- This diet includes a long stabilisation period.
- The Dukan diet allows for 2 'pigouts' per week so you can have your cake, eat it and avoid getting downhearted!
- The fact that the Dukan Diet (especially in its first phase) allows you to lose weight quickly, is encouraging for those who are on it and attractive to those who are considering following it. However, not only is quick weight loss ill advised, but making your diet nutritionally balanced by including all food groups is very important. For instance, too much read meat is linked to increased risk of bowel cancer. Also, the lack of fruit and grains, which are only introduced in phase 3, may result in constipation problems.
- The risk with a diet of this kind is that it doesn’t really help individuals develop healthy and sustainable eating habits, making it difficult for them to maintain initial results in the long term.
- The first phase has the same disadvantages as a high protein diet, notably the risk of deficiencies so it’s advisable to take vitamin and mineral supplements to avoid any problems.
- Being able to eat as much egg and meat as you want during the early phases could increase your cholesterol levels.
As with any diet, there's a risk of nutritional deficiency. Consult your doctor for advice on vitamin and mineral supplements. There are always going to be pros and cons so don't take our word for it, try the diet out for yourself and see if this is the one for you!
Dukan Diet: calculate your True Weight for free and reach it!
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