Do you know what the Dukan diet is? This diet promises lasting results and weight loss without the yo-yo effect. Are you interested in what this is about? Keep reading!
What is the Dukan diet?
The Dukan diet is a nutrition program designed by a French nutritionist Pierre Ducan, after whom the diet was named. His program promises that you will lose 9 – 11 pounds (4-5 kg) in the first week, but also that the lost pounds will never come back! Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it!? It’s just that you don’t believe in fairy tales anymore…
Perhaps at the mention of the word “diet” you indifferently wave your hand and state that it is just a way of starvation, unnecessary torture after which the extra pounds return again very quickly. This is the so-called yo-yo effect. The truth is actually this:
Lasting results require constant efforts, i.e. adherence to a proper diet. The Dukan diet is not a diet. It is more of a way of life.
The diet program devised by this French doctor implies a lot of rules. For a fairy tale to become a reality, you need persistence and a firm determination to respect them. Exceptions and excuses should be set aside.
The Dukan Diet Rules
The Dukan diet is a type of protein diet, just like the egg diet. It is also known as the French diet. One of the basic rules of this diet is to use a limited number of foods. It is allowed to consume 100 different groceries, mostly pure proteins, to which vegetables are added at a later stage of the program.
The good news is that although the number of foods is limited, the amount you can eat is unlimited. So, there is no hunger.
Carbohydrates are kept to a minimum. And there is a magical ingredient that makes up the menu of the Dukan diet – oat bran.
If you don’t really like oat bran, then think twice. Oat bran is used every day in this diet. All you have to do is fall in love with it! Why is it important? Oat bran keeps you full and also contains simple sugars. By consuming it, you take in the necessary amount of carbohydrates. It is also believed that it has a positive effect on bowel function, attracts molecules of fats and toxins and helps them to be expelled from the body more easily. It is in a way a means of detoxification during this diet and a source of carbohydrates.
Diet is not the only rule you have to follow to achieve the desired results. Physical activity is also necessary. But don’t worry, you don’t have to start searching for a personal trainer or spend hours in the gym.
You can also do a good exercise program at home, and a 20-minute walk every day is enough. You have to admit that this is not unattainable after all!
Set Your Goal
Before you start with the Dukan diet, you need to know how many extra pounds you have and what your ideal body weight is. In other words, you need to calculate your body mass index. The ideal body weight may not be what you imagined. You should keep in mind that it depends on both your gender and your age. A 6 feet-tall person should not weigh the same at puberty and at the age of 35.
You can use this Ideal Weight Calculator based on height and desired Body Mass Index (BMI). The normal BMI range is 20 to 25. Below 20 is ‘underweight’, and over 30 is considered ‘obese’.
The ideal body weight is the goal you should achieve by being on a diet.
The diet itself consists of 4 phases – some are longer, some shorter. Because of this, it is often said that the Dukan diet resembles the Atkins diet. Two phases aim to lose a certain number of pounds, while other two aim to maintain the newly gained body weight.
Your starting position begins with the first phase of the diet devised by Dukan.
The Dukan Diet – the First Phase
This is the most rigorous phase of the French diet and is also called the “attack” phase.
The first phase of the Dukan diet is a relentless fight against fat layers in which proteins are your main weapon.
You have 68 different pure proteins at your disposal. Carbohydrates are strictly forbidden. By eating only proteins, your body attacks fat layers in order to get the necessary energy from them. The experiences of those who have tried the Dukan diet program testify that this is the most difficult phase, but fortunately also the shortest. It should not last longer than 10 days.
How Long Should the First Phase of the Dukan Diet Last?
The answer to this question depends on your goal, i.e. the number of pounds you need to lose. In the first phase, you lose the most pounds. You can lose about 9-11 pounds (4 -5 kg) in 10 days. Please note the following:
- If you do not need to lose many pounds, the attack phase can last even shorter.
- If you need to lose more weight, keep in mind that you should not reach that goal immediately in the first phase. Eating only proteins, in the long run, is not the best choice for health. Therefore, this phase should not last longer than 10 days. After that, you move on to the second phase, which continues the weight loss process, but at a slower pace.
In the first phase of this weight loss program, the menu is limited to 68 animal proteins. These include: lean meats, fish, offals, eggs, low-fat dairy products, water, and diet drinks. All this can be seasoned with numerous spices so that the food you eat would not have a uniform taste. Here, the above-mentioned oat bran comes on the scene – one and a half tablespoon a day.
In addition to food, it is very important to drink enough liquid. You need to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, although tea and coffee without sugar are also allowed.
It is true that the first phase of the French diet can be the most difficult, primarily because it is a sudden change in diet, and because the intake of non-protein foods is prohibited. However, look on the bright side – this phase is the shortest and gives the fastest results.
You can eat:
- Fish and shellfish
- Any types of red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
- Dairies that are fat-free (Greek yogurt, milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc.)
- Oat bran
You should avoid:
The Dukan Diet – the Second Phase
In the second phase of the weight loss program designed by Dukan, vegetables are slowly introduced into the diet. But there is a strict rule here – vegetables without starch. Therefore, potatoes, beans, rice, and other cereals are not allowed. In addition to the 68 allowed proteins in the Attack phase, you can add 32 non-starchy vegetables on the list that you can eat. And the number of groceries is not the only restriction. These vegetables should be cooked without oil or margarine, and it is best to steam them.
The second phase of the Dukan diet is a slow but sure progress towards the desired body weight. This phase is therefore called ” cruising“.
How Long Should the “Cruise” Phase Last?
It depends on how many pounds in total you need to lose. So, in the first phase, a certain number of pounds is lost. You go slowly through this second phase towards the final goal. Losing weight here is not so drastic and you lose about one pound (half a kilo) in a week. It is not difficult to calculate now how long this phase should last. If you need another 6 pounds (3 kg) to reach your destination, the cruising phase should last 6 weeks.
As we have already said, portions of vegetables are added to pure proteins at this phase. Not all but only 68 proteins come into consideration.
You can now add non starchy vegetables:
- Green beans
You can add oil as a salad dressing in smaller quantities. You can eat artichokes, beetroot, and carrots occasionally.
You should avoid:
- Carbohydrates and grains
Water and oat bran remain part of the plan. Now use 2 tablespoons of oat bran a day.
It is recommended to combine “days with vegetables ” (proteins and additional vegetables from the list) and “protein days ” (proteins only, without vegetables) during this phase. This can be done alternately – three days with vegetables, three days only with proteins.
The Dukan Diet – the Third Phase
The first two phases of the French diet slowly bring you to your planned weight. These are the phases of weight loss. The third and fourth are there to help maintain desired weight. This third phase is called the “consolidation phase”.
The third phase of the Dukan diet is the phase when your diet returns to the right track.
When we say that the diet is returning to the right track, it does not mean that it is returning to the old track. Let’s be honest, if that diet was good, you wouldn’t be overweight. Those who have experience with the Dukan diet, claim that the lost weight does not return. This is because you are not quite going back to your old habits. In this phase, you are slowly reintroducing some foods that were banned in the previous two phases.
How Long Should the Consolidation Phase Last?
How long you will stay in this phase depends on how many pounds you lost in the previous two phases. The diet rule devised by Dukan implies 5 days of consolidation for every pound lost. If you have lost three pounds (1,5 kg), it means 15 days of consolidation.
Now you can eat vegetables every day, one piece of fruit and 2 slices of wholemeal bread. Also, you can now occasionally allow yourself a portion of vegetables that have starch, as well as treat yourself with your favorite meal. Of course, not every day, but once a week! Also, it is recommended that one day a week should be a pure protein day. As in the previous two phases, you continue to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day and eat 2 tablespoons of oat bran.
What You Can Eat
- fruit – 1 to 2 servings per day (except cherries, grapes, bananas and figs)
- whole-grain bread – 2 slices per day
- hard rind cheese – 150g
- starchy foods – 1 to 2 servings per week
- appetizer, dessert, and a glass of wine – 1 serving of each per week
The Dukan Diet – the Fourth Phase
This phase of the diet is also called the “stabilization” phase. Your life returns to normal here and you are free to eat whatever you want. Well, we admit, there are a couple of simple rules.
The fourth phase of the Dukan diet is the phase when your diet returns to the right track.
However, after all this time spent in a restricted diet, by the fourth phase it is already clear which food should not be on your plate too often. Now your experience with the Dukan diet program makes it clear that too many carbohydrates, a lot of processed products and ready meals are not desirable.
How Long Should the Stabilization Phase Last?
It is clear – this phase should last for the rest of your life. This way you will avoid regaining the lost weight and that yo-yo effect.
At this phase, you can eat whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean you have to make up for the lost time and indulge in sweets. Be moderate.
In addition, it is important to follow the rule that you set aside one day a week for a pure protein day. It is best that it is the day when you do not plan socializing and going out and when you are at home. Besides, the rule you should follow is 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day. That is enough to keep you full and prevent you from falling into temptation.
The Importance of Physical Activity
The Dukan diet does not only imply a healthier way of eating, but also a more active lifestyle. What does it mean? Do you need to start doing sports professionally or start training something? It’s actually not a bad idea if you have enough time. And a lack of time, you will admit, is the most common excuse you use to avoid recreation. Still, an excuse is just an excuse.
The Dukan diet does not require extreme physical effort from you. 20 minutes of walking a day is enough.
So, you can go to work on foot or by bike, use the stairs instead of the elevator, get a dog and take it for a walk regularly, run in the morning, sign up for a dance or go to the gym, follow an exercise program from home. Everything is allowed, except sitting and lying around all day long!
Why is physical activity important?
When you are physically active, you burn fat layers in your body, but at the same time, you tighten your skin and muscles and shape your body.
Is the Dukan Diet Healthy or Can It Do You Harm?
Today, it has become an everyday occurrence in society that what one day proves to be effective and healthy, tomorrow will become the greatest enemy of your health. It is the same with this diet. First, it was on the list of the most popular and most effective, and lately, people have been looking for ways to question it because it is unhealthy.
Where is the truth?
The truth is, as it usually happens, somewhere in between.
Bad Consequences That This Diet Can Have:
It is primarily an excess of protein and a lack of other nutrients.
- Lack of carbohydrates can lead to a feeling of weakness and exhaustion.
- Lack of fibers can lead to constipation and digestive problems.
- A lower intake of fruits and vegetables also means fewer antioxidants. This means higher chances of developing heart disease, cancer, premature skin aging …
- Excess protein can lead to increased production of uric acid, bad breath, but also to liver and kidney diseases, as well as to weakening of bones.
In the same way, we can observe the harmfulness of excessive amounts of carbohydrates and salts, which are an integral part of the daily diet, sometimes more than you need. To overcome these shortcomings, Pierre Ducan recommends taking supplements.
In defense of this diet, we must say that it is not completely devoid of fruits and vegetables. The protein phase lasts for a short time, and experience shows that there should be no major health problems during that time. Of course, if you notice that the diet disagrees with you, consult a doctor for advice.
Benefits of the Dukan Diet
Although there are claims that this way of eating is wrong, we must admit that it also has its advantages:
- You usually have to prepare meals, only a few salads can be eaten fresh. So, the taste depends on your culinary skills!
- The diet program has clear rules. This makes it easier to follow them and your path towards the goal. You can plan your weight loss to some extent and determine in time if you have a chance to get the best weight before going on the summer vacation (or some other important event for you)
- You don’t have to count calories. Just be careful about what you eat.
Experiences With the Dukan Diet
This diet has become popular because many celebrities claim that they have brought their shape to perfection with it. Jennifer Lopez and Kate Middleton also shared their experiences with the public.
Research on the Internet has shown that those who had experience with the Dukan diet lost an average of 15 pounds (7 kg) in the first two phases. Clinical studies have also shown that this diet is effective and safe for health.
We all know theoretically which foods lead to obesity and fat accumulation, and what to eat to get rid of excess fat. The Dukan diet may be a more difficult, but effective and proven way to understand and apply it in practice.
Will you really get rid of extra pounds forever and avoid the yo-yo effect?
The Dukan diet is a lifelong diet plan, steps you should follow for the rest of your life. Your extra weight game is in your hands – this is just a way to start turning things around for your benefit. How you will turn that wheel in the future does not depend on luck but on your decisions. They sometimes involve decisions to give up something.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to reach your ideal weight?
- Pierre Dukan
- List of Foods for the Dukan Diet Attack Phase
- Allowable Vegetables in the Dukan Diet Cruise Phase
- Yo-yo effect
- Dr. Dukan
- The J-Lo Diet Plan – How Jennifer Lopez Lost Weight – Dukan Diet
- Kate Middleton’s Dukan Diet: what is it, and do you have what it takes?
- Clinical Research Commences On The Dukan Diet; Early Findings Show Immediate Results And Significant Weight Loss