The Dukan diet is a high-protein diet developed by the French physician Pierre Dukan. It is a multi-stage diet that promotes weight loss by minimizing calories of both fats and carbohydrates consumed, focusing instead on eating protein. It achieves this by providing dieters with a list of allowed foods, as well as rules for each stage of the diet. Like the Atkins diet, Dukan does not place an emphasis on calorie counting but instead places heavy restrictions on what foods are allowed.
The first phase of the Dukan diet is called the “attack phase” and its goal is to promote rapid weight loss over a period that depends on your individual weight loss goals and history. In this phase of the diet, only lean sources of protein are allowed, and dieters must consume 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and 1.5 liters of water a day. This lasts from 1-7 days and is the portion of the diet in which weight is lost most quickly, which serves as encouragement for those who wish to continue. Exercise is also emphasized.
The second weight loss phase of the Dukan diet is called the “cruise phase” and introduces a list of allowed non-starchy vegetables to the unlimited foods. In this phase, the dieter will be allowed an even number of protein only days, in which the diet is the same as the attack phase, and protein/vegetable days in which vegetables can be added from the allowed list. Oat bran and water are still a part of this phase, and 30 minutes of brisk walking a day is encouraged.
The third phase is called “consolidation” and allows unlimited proteins/vegetables from the allowed list on every day, as well as gently reintroduces items like fruits, whole grains, cheese and starchy vegetables. It also allows for two “celebration meals” per week. The goal of this phase is to slowly return to normal eating patterns in a way that maintains the weight lost in the first two phases of the diet. One pure protein day a week is emphasized to keep weight off, and even more exercise is introduced.
The final phase of the Dukan diet is the “stabilization phase” which introduces three basic rules which are to be followed for a lifetime. Eat three tablespoons of oat bran a day, have one protein only day a week, and exercise daily, taking the stairs whenever possible.
These are the basics of the Dukan diet, although this should not be taken as a complete guide. While most experts do agree the diet will result in weight loss, some are skeptical about its health effects or long-term viability. As with any diet, it’s important to do your own research or speak with a health care professional before making a decision.