Dr. Pierre Dukan is a French nutritionist who created a weight-loss method called the Dukan diet that promises fast and permanent weight loss.
The Dukan diet is an eating plan that focuses on high protein and low carbohydrate intake.
Dukan diet consists of four phases named attack, cruise, consolidation, and stabilization. The first two phases focus on weight loss, while the last two – on weight maintenance.
Dr. Dukan claims that we don’t lose weight when we are hungry. That’s why the Dukan diet emphasizes lean protein and fat-free dairy products to keep you satiated. However, each phase of this nutritional approach has some variations in the list of foods you can eat.
In addition to nutritional rules, the Dukan diet encourages followers to be active and exercise regularly.
This phase continues for two to seven days and aims at a rapid weight loss. During the attack phase, you can eat an unlimited amount of lean protein, some low-fat dairy, olive oil for greasing pans, and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day. In addition, it is advisable to drink at least six glasses of water per day.
This phase can continue for several months and up to a year. During this period, you eat all the foods from the attack phase with the addition of some non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, peppers, mushrooms, and cucumbers). In addition, you increase the amount of oat bran to two tablespoons per day.
Notably, some days of the cruise phase are “pure protein,” while the others are “protein/vegetables.”
This phase begins as soon as you reach your “true weight,” which can be calculated using a unique calculator developed by Dr. Dukan. The length of the consolidation phase depends on the amount of weight you lost – five days for every pound lost.
During this phase, you continue to eat foods from the attack and cruise phases. However, now you can reintroduce small amounts of fruits, starchy food, bread, and hard cheese. In addition, you increase the amount of oat bran to 2.5 tablespoons per day and can have a “celebration meal” twice a week. One day per week is a “pure protein” day when you follow the menu from the attack phase.
This phase lasts indefinitely. During the stabilization phase, you follow the guidelines from the consolidation phase but loosen the rules as long as your weight remains stable.
People with existing conditions, especially kidney problems, gout, liver disease, diabetes, and heart disease, should avoid the Dukan diet. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women and children shouldn’t try this nutritional approach.
How to avoid possible nutritional deficiencies
Since the Dukan diet restricts whole food groups, especially during the attack and cruise phases, you may develop deficiencies in some nutrients while following this eating plan. Nutrients at risk include fiber, thiamin (vitamin B-1), folate (vitamin B-9), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and iron. To fulfill your body’s requirements for these vitamins and minerals, make sure to include some of the following foods in your diet:
- fiber: beans, fruits, berries, vegetables, oats, whole grains, whole-grain bread, nuts;
- thiamin (vitamin B-1): seaweed, black beans, navy beans, edamame, lentils, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, fish, pork, yogurt;
- folate (vitamin B-9): leafy greens, eggs, beef liver, Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, bananas, citrus fruits;
- vitamin C: citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, papaya, mango, pineapple;
- vitamin D: egg yolk, cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, herring, canned tuna, mushrooms;
- vitamin E: almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, asparagus, pumpkin, red bell pepper, spinach, avocado, mango;
- magnesium: dark chocolate, tofu, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, legumes, buckwheat, quinoa, salmon, leafy greens, avocado, bananas;
- calcium: milk, yogurt, cheese, canned salmon, sardines, almonds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, tofu, beans, lentils, leafy greens, and rhubarb;
- iron: dark chocolate, spinach, broccoli, legumes, tofu, red meat, meat organs, turkey, tuna, quinoa, pumpkin seeds;
Some people can find it challenging to get an adequate amount of the listed nutrients in their diet. In this case, they can fulfill the body’s needs using supplements. Consult your doctor or dietitian to discuss possible supplements you may need.
Tips on improving your dieting experience
Even though the Dukan diet restricts carbohydrates, especially during the first two phases, you are allowed to eat oat bran from the very beginning of this nutritional plan.
Oat bran doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, huh? However, in reality, you can make various delicious dishes using this ingredient. For example, you can make:
- oat bran porridge
- oat bran cookies
- oat bran galette
- oat bran muffins
- oat bran crackers
- oat bran vanilla swiss roll with cocoa spread
- oat bran ginger biscuits
- oat bran toast
- oat bran microwave bread
Try some of these recipes to diversify your menu and make your dieting experience more pleasant.
Overall, the Dukan diet can help you lose weight quickly since it restricts entire food groups. However, it is not a sustainable nutritional approach to stick with for the long term. Many people find the Dukan diet to be overly restrictive.
Following the Dukan diet for the long term may lead to inadequate nutrition. In addition, this diet may be unsuitable for people with certain conditions.
It is essential to remember that fast weight loss is not always a healthy way to reach your goal. Talk with your doctor to decide what eating plan will be the best for you.