Dreading that moment of hitting the beach this summer? Does even packing your swimsuit fill you with a fear akin to a trip to the dentist for root canal work?
This post will show you how to adapt the Dukan diet plan to correspond with the amount of weight loss that you have previously only dreamt of. That’s not all, there is more good news … you can still enjoy delicious Dukan diet foods!
What is the Dukan Diet?
The Dukan Diet is named after its founder, Dr Dukan, a French nutritionist, who aimed to develop a high-protein diet, a natural, healthy eating plan that promotes weight loss and helps keeps the weight off for life.
The Dukan diet is a low-carbohydrate plan.
There have been many recent studies and famous fad diets, such as the Atkins diet that promote low carbohydrate intake and the benefits of protein for weight loss and management.
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 Dukan 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 or Final 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?
The most dramatic weight loss on the Dukan diet occurs in the intensive Dukan Diet Attack phase. For most dieters, who have around 20 to 40 pounds to lose, weight loss is usually around 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3 kg) over the first 5 to 10 days, according to Pierre Dukan. Encouragingly this is quite a rapid weight loss.
The Annual 2014 American College of Nutrition Conference presented a study that involved 48 overweight volunteers who followed the four phases of the Dukan diet for a 24 week period.
Average weight loss amongst the participants was 12 pounds (5.4 kg) and the most weight loss was 45 pounds (20.4 kg) over the course of the diet. This study concluded that:-
The Dukan Diet demonstrates a statistically significant, steady
weight loss for participants over 24 weeks.
Phase 1: Get Ready .. Attack
The Attack Phase of the Dukan regime usually lasts 1 to 10 days, depending on how much weight you need to lose, the general rule is that you can eat an unlimited amount of proteins chosen from a list of 68 foods.
The rest of the rules are simple; drink 2 litres of water per day, walk for 20 minutes per day and avoid all butter, oil and anything not on the list of permitted foods. Take one and a half tablespoons of oatmeal per day.
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 on 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
- Lean Red Meats: Beef tenderloin, filet mignon, buffalo, lean ham, lean pork chops, lean slices of roast beef, pork tenderloin, pork loin roast, low-fat bacon, Steak: flank, sirloin, Veal chops, Venison.
- Poultry: Chicken, chicken liver, fat-free turkey and chicken sausages, Low-fat slices of chicken or turkey, ostrich, quail, turkey, wild duck
- Fish: Catfish, cod, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, monkfish, perch, red snapper, salmon and smoked salmon, sardines, sea bass, shark, sole, swordfish, trout, tuna.
- Shellfish: Clams, crab, crawfish, crayfish, lobster, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, shrimp, squid
- Fat-free dairy products: Cottage cheese, cream cheese, milk, plain Greek-style yogurt, ricotta, sour cream
- Vegetarian protein: Tofu, veggie burgers, soy food
- Eggs: Duck, quail and chicken
A key element in the Dukan diet is the very simple cereal, oats. Each phase of the Dukan diet involves taking daily oatmeal which has attracted a lot of interest in the medical world of late due to its alleged health benefits.
This grain is rich in both protein and fiber and absorbs water in the stomach, helping you feel really full. Once oatmeal is digested, it attracts fat molecules, sugars and toxins and helps to carry them out of the body before they are properly absorbed.
Get your Oats
Oatmeal has been proven in scientific research to reduce body weight, Body Mass Index measurements and body fat, especially abdominal fat.
Medical studies have also shown that oatmeal helps maintain feelings of fullness by modulating the release of appetite hormones. Eating oatmeal is also said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and help lower the risk for heart disease and colorectal cancer.
Phase 2: Cruise Phase
The second phase of the Dukan diet is the workhorse stage and the weight loss in the cruise phase should be slow and steady around one pound (0.45 kg) every 3 days.
In the Cruise phase, you continue every other day with the same eating plan as the attack phase but on alternate days you add unlimited amounts of (low starch) vegetables and salads to your desired selection of protein foods. You should stay at this phase until you reach your true weight.
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
Have 1-5 pure protein days per week interspersed with 1-5 days when you add from the list of vegetables too. Eat 2 tablespoons of oat bran each day. Take a 30-minute brisk walk and drink 1.5 liters of water daily. When you start eating vegetables again, your body will naturally start to retain a bit more fluid.
When you switch to a pure protein day, the water expulsion will return. You can expect to lose 900 grams to one pound for each week you’re on the Dukan diet cruise phase.
- Eat as often as you like, don’t go hungry.
- Do not skip meals and always eat a good breakfast.
- Experiment with Agar (available from health stores), this reduces the speed at which sugar is assimilated by the body, reduces cholesterol levels and lowers the number of calories absorbed.
- Make Dukan-diet-friendly dressings and sauces.
- Weigh yourself every day.
- Drink a huge glass of cold water before every meal, one during, and a third afterword. This helps you feel fuller and disrupts the absorption of foods.
Phase 3: Consolidation phase
Congratulations! If you have reached the third phase of the Dukan diet, the Consolidation Phase, then you should have reached your true weight.
The consolidation phase is designed as a transitional period between the first two weight loss phases and a return to more normal eating that prevents re-gaining of any weight.
Enjoy the treat foods and rejoice in your new, healthy eating plan.
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
- 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.
It is imperative that during the consolidation phase you have one full day whereby you only eat proteins from the list of permitted foods, as in Phase 1 The Attack.
You must also maintain 25 minutes of physical exercise daily.
The Ducan diet recommends brisk walking but some strength training may well add extra benefits.
You must still eat 3 tablespoons of oatmeal per day and keep up the daily 2 litres of water.
Phase 4: Stabilization Phase
Congratulations! You’ve reached the final stage of the Dukan diet! It may have been a challenge at times along the way, but you’ve made it and now I hope you’re reaping the rewards of your structured eating plan in the form of a new, slimmer figure.
From here on in, it’s all about eating for life and committing to a few simple rules to keep your weight under control.
This final Dukan diet phase offers permanent slenderness in return for four commandments:-
1) Eat what you want, but use the consolidation rules as a safety net.
2) Pick one day a week when you eat nothing but protein, you can eat normally for the other six days.
3) Drink at least two liters of water per day.
4) And walk briskly for at least 20 minutes each day.
Problems with the Dukan Diet
Reports on any adverse effects of the Dukan diet are rare according to one research study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. However, because these low carbohydrate diets promote the breakdown of fat, (which is how they work for weight loss) they mimic starvation in the body and the production of ketones which can lead to severe ketoacidosis in some patients.
If extreme nausea and vomiting occur on the first phase of the Dukan diet the patient should return to normal eating and seek medical advice.
A 2015 Polish medical study assessed 51 women aged 19 – 64 years who were following the Dukan diet and their dietary intake were assessed.
This study found that animal protein intake was excessive compared to recommended nutritional standards. There was poor consumption of fruit and vegetables. Vitamin and mineral assessments revealed low levels of Vitamin C and folates.
The study concludes that nutritional abnormalities were found in these women undergoing the Dukan diet and that people should be aware that this diet should not be adopted in the long term.
The high protein Dukan diet, and others like it, may increase the likelihood of developing kidney disease according to Spanish research carried out on rats. Although the animals lost 10 % of their body weight kidney the prevalence of kidney stones and other kidney diseases were increased. If the same applies to humans than this could be a long term health risk for the Dukan Diet.
I think that the Dukan diet is safe for most people, as the protein only phase is just for a limited period.
However, for a healthy, eating plan for life, all 5 food groups should be included. You can check out some more of our scientifically proven posts on weight loss below.
Other Diets that you may be interested in
Full Index of all our Diet Posts
The Pegan Diet
The Medicinal Mediterranean Diet
The Military Diet
The Atkin Diet
The Dash Diet
A Gluten-Free Eating Plan (For health reasons and not)
The Alkaline/Acid Diet
More Weight Loss Posts
- 5 Small changes to lose BIG weight very quickly!
- Tips to lose an intense amount of pounds fast!
- Lose BIG weight the natural way in 30 days
- Weight Loss Motivations by Moose
- Lose Weight in a Week without dieting
- Green tea and Weight Loss? Really?
- Halton TL, Hu FB.(2004) The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85. (Retrieved February 3rd 2016)
- Wyka J, Malczyk E, Misiarz M, Zołoteńka-Synowiec M, Całyniuk B, Baczyńska S. (2015) Assessment of food intakes for women adopting the high protein Dukan diet. Eur J Clin Nutr. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2015;66(2):137-42. (Retrieved February 3rd 2016)