What is the Dukan Diet?
The Dukan Diet is named after its founder, Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist, who aimed to develop a high protein, natural, healthy eating plan that promotes weight loss and helps keeps the weight off for life. There have been many recent studies and famous diets, such as the Atkins that promote low carbohydrate intake and the benefits of protein for weight loss and management but the Dukan diet is more of an eating plan that involves no calorie counting or feelings of hunger.
Before starting the four phases of the Dukan diet you work out your true weight on the website by entering various statistics into an online calculator. These include your:-
- Current Weight
- Realistic Target Weight
- The most you have ever weighed
- The least you have ever weighed
- Your average weight
- How many diets you have ever been on
- Family tendencies to weight gain
- Bone Structure
- Number of pregnancies
The Dukan diet site then sends you a graph and information illustrating which phase of the diet you should be on and for how long, based on these readings.
Alternatively, or for comparison purposes, you could have a look at Dr. Halls’ very own ideal weight calculator.
How does the Dukan Diet work?
There are 4 phases of the Dukan diet:-
- The Attack Phase: (5 to 10 days) Is designed to really kick start the weight loss and involves eating only pure proteins such as fish, eggs, lean meat and low-fat dairy products chosen from a list of 68 foods.
- The Cruise phase: (weeks to months) In this phase you add as many vegetables, fruits and natural foods as you like to the protein diet every other day. You stay in this phase until you have reached your true weight and roughly counted, it works out at 3 days for every pound that you want to lose.
- The Consolidation Phase: In this phase you can very gradually return all foods back into your diet but only in limited amounts. There is still one pure protein day per week, but this phase is designed to stop your body regaining any lost weight. The timing for the consolidation phase is 5 days for every pound lost.
- The Stabilisation Phase: This is basically your new pattern of eating for the rest of your life.
How much Weight Can I expect to lose on the Dukan Diet?
By cutting out carbohydrates which are normally the fuel source for the body, the body begins to burn fat for energy and thus, weight loss ensues. This can lead to a state of ketosis which also helps you to feel less hungry. There have been several studies into high protein diets and weight loss. Research from 2004 that systematically reviewed high protein diets, states that there is convincing evidence that a high protein intake leads to increased thermogenesis, (heat production), satiety (feeling full) and body weight and fat loss compared with lower protein diets.
Permitted Foods to Eat in the Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet
There are an extra 32 foods on the Dukan list of permitted vegetables and salads to add to your choice of proteins on alternate days. Vegetables should ideally be non-starchy but some such as beetroot and carrots are acceptable, although you should avoid having them too often. Any other foods not on the list of vegetables and salads should be avoided especially those high in carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, corn, peas, lentils, and avocado.
Permitted Foods to add in the Cruise Phase of the Dukan Diet
Raw, steamed, boiled or baked veggies including:- Artichoke, asparagus, tomato, turnip, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, celery, chicory, cucumber, beetroot, peppers, fennel, French beans, carrot, cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms, onions, shallots, capsicum, pumpkin, radish, salad leaves (endive, kale, lettuce and watercress) sorrel, spinach, swede, rhubarb, Swiss chard, bean sprouts and Brussel sprouts
Foods to add on the Consolidation Phase
The Consolidation phase of the Dukan diet should last 5 days for every pound lost. Eat as much protein and vegetables as you want (from the list of foods from stage one and two) but you can now add the following each day; one serving of fruit (no bananas, cherries, grapes or figs though), 2 slices of brown bread, one serving (one cup) of carbohydrates and one a half ounces of hard cheese. Each week you are allowed a serving of lamb or pork. Best of all enjoy one celebratory meal per week consisting of a starter, main course, dessert and a glass of wine.
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