The Dukan Diet was particularly made famous after several celebrities announced they were on it for weight loss, including Duchhess Kate Middleton, Jennifer Lopez and Giselle Bundchen. But what is it, exactly? And is it safe?
The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet originated in France, designed by the physician Pierre Dukanin 1975. It was designed to be a mainly protein-based diet and completely devoid of carbs, at least in phase I. Dukan created it as a way to treat obesity, but became particularly popular when celebrities started trying it.
So what does the diet consist of? The diet has four phases:
Phase 1 is called the “Attack” Phase and lasts for 2 to 7 days. In this phase, you can have an unlimited amount of lean proteins, one and a half tablespoons of oats, and one and a half liters of water to drink every day. You can select from around 72 lean meats, poultry, fish, pork, soy, nonfat dairy and eggs (and not lamb). This is supposed to kickstart your metabolism, although you’ll feel a little hungry in the first three days. According to Dukan, the hunger will go away on the fourth day.
Phase 2 is called the “Cruise” phase. On top of your lean proteins and oats (switched to two tablespoons per day), you can choose between 32 veggie options to eat every other day. This phase goes on until you lose 1 kilogram per week.
Phase 3 is called the “Consolidation” phase. This is a less restrictive phase, which allows for unlimited protein (lamb included), and veggie intake every two days. Other foods you’re now allowed to have include just 1 piece of a low-sugar fruit of choice, 1 hard cheese piece, and 2 whole wheat bread slices per day. Some servings of “celebration meals” or starchy foods are also permitted every week.
Phase 4 is called the “Stabilization” phase, where you’re just focused on maintaining your weight. You could eat whatever you’d like as long as you have three tablespoons of oats and take 20-minute walks everyday. One day of every week should also follow phase 1.
Is This Safe? No
This will no doubt make you lose weight, but it’s not a very healthy diet. Most required food groups, including veggies, fruits, grains, nuts & dairy, are all restricted to dangerous levels, which may lead to health issues on the long run.
Side effects of just the first couple of days on this diet include constipation, dry mouth, fatigue and bad breath.
Despite what is commonly believed, consuming an excess amount of proteins is actually pretty dangerous. It can lead to kidney failure, dehydration, and high levels of cholesterol. Contrary to what you might think, it can also lead to weight gain. Any protein your body doesn’t need will be turned to fat for storage.
This diet also doesn’t teach you any healthy eating trends, or a realistic plan you can continue on for a long period of time.
It’s important to note that losing weight does not automatically mean you’re being healthier.