Some people find themselves trying to lose weight without integrating much exercise into their lifestyle. The Dukan Diet might just be the thing to help them achieve this feat. It’s certainly not as popular as the trending diets such as Keto or Intermittent fasting. However, it has been gaining rapid attention in the weight loss world as famous names (singer Jennifer Lopez for example ) have credited this diet for their quick weight loss. Let’s look at how exactly this diet works and whether it would be safe to follow it.
What is Dukan Diet?
The Dukan Diet is a high protein low carb diet based on how hunter-gatherers may have eaten. It was created by Dr. Pierre Dukan who was a french physician in the 1970s and a self-proclaimed nutritionist.
The diet includes approx 100 foods, all being either proteins or vegetables. One can eat without restriction from this list. The diet consists of four phases, namely – The Attack Phase, The Cruise Phase, The Consolidation Phase, and The Stabilization Phase.
Leverage the Dukan Diet Calculator, a purpose-built tool crafted to eliminate uncertainties from your diet strategy.
Dukan Diet Phases
The Dukan Diet starts with calculating one’s true weight, as in the weight one can reach without struggling and can maintain in the long term without affecting the mind or the body. This calculation is done based on various factors such as gender, weight loss history, and age.
The attack phase consists of eating lean protein and no or low carbs. According to the diet plan, this phase kick-starts the metabolism. Your body burns more calories to digest protein than to digest carbs and completely cutting off carbs dehydrates your body. This is why you will see rapid weight loss in this phase. Typically, the attack phase lasts from 2 to 5 days, but if you plan to lose more than 40 pounds, it would be best to stay in this phase for around 7 days.
Let’s now take a look at the food list available in the attack phase.
- Protein List:- The official Dukan diet website has a list of 68 pure proteins that you can consume in unrestricted quantities in the attack phase. This includes lean meat (e.g. – beef tenderloin, soy bacon), poultry, fish, shellfish, vegetarian proteins, fat-free dairy products, and eggs.
- In addition to this, you can have an unlimited amount of shirataki and 1-2 tablespoons of goji berries.
- This phase also requires having 1.5 tablespoons of oat brain every day since it’s high in fiber and thus keeps your stomach full suppressing cravings.
Along with this in the attack phase, you are supposed to do moderate exercise or walk for 20 minutes every day and drink 1.5 liters of water. Exercising helps boost the metabolism and water helps you stay hydrated as a lack of carbs also reduces the amount of water in your body.
The Cruise Phase
The cruise phase aims to gradually lower your weight by adding specific non-starchy vegetables to your meal plan. In this phase, you are also supposed to take vegetables along with proteins, preferably on alternating days.
The official site provides a free list of 32 vegetables. Some examples are – Bean sprouts, beet, squash, spinach, etc. Now you can eat whatever food you wish from the entire list of 100 foods (68 pure proteins and 32 non-starchy vegetables).
The cruise phase requires you to increase your oat brain intake to 2 tablespoons every day. You should add regular 30 minutes of brisk walking as a part of your routine in this phase.
How long the cruise phase lasts depends on the amount of weight you want to lose. The average length is based on 3 days for each pound you want to lose and can last anywhere between one to twelve months. To calculate this –
(Your present weight – The true weight calculated at the very beginning of the Dukan diet) * 3
The Consolidation Phase
After crashing a diet the usual consequences are giving in to treats and cheat days, falling back to the same old routine, and regaining the lost weight or even worse gaining more weight than lost. This third phase of the Dukan diet prevents that from happening.
In this phase, you will continue eating the same food you were having in the second phase but you can gradually introduce new food groups to your meals, such as carbs and some treats in limited amounts. Make sure to exercise moderately and continue taking two tablespoons of outbrain regularly.
However, one day a week participants are advised to follow the meal plan of the attack phase. This phase lasts 5 days for each pound lost. Similar to the previous phase’s length calculation you can calculate this as well.
The Stabilization Phase
This fourth and final phase is almost the same as the consolidation phase except that you can loosen up more on the food restrictions. Continue following the meal plan of the attack phase once a week, have 3 tablespoons of oat bran daily, and exercise or walk for 20-25 minutes every day. This phase lasts as long as you want to keep your “true weight”. No food is restricted but you can only have it in limited quantity. This limitation ensures that one doesn’t ruin months of effort by binge eating or having food without consideration of its nutritional value.
Dukan Diet Food List
The Dukan diet official site as mentioned before provides a list of the 68 pure proteins and 38 non-starchy vegetables you can have in these four phases.
Along with those here are some foods that you can have and the advised amounts (the exception being the attack phase and the cruise phase) –
- Whole grain bread – 2 slices per day
- Hard rind cheese – 5 oz
- Starches – 1 to 2 servings per week
- Meats like pork, roasted lambs, and hams – 1-2 times per week
- Fruit – One serving per day (e.g. – 100 grams of berries or chopped melon)
The Dukan Diet Meal Plan
Here are some sample meal plans you can follow in different phases of the Dukan diet.
The Attack Phase Sample Meal Plan –
- Breakfast:- 1-2 boiled eggs
- Lunch:- Ham rolls
- Dinner:- Vietnamese Beef
The Cruise Phase Sample Meal Plan –
- Breakfast:- Lemon Zest Pancakes and a warm drink
- Lunch:- Roast chicken
- Dinner:- Meatloaf with mushrooms
The Consolidate Phase Sample Meal Plan –
- Breakfast:- 1 portion of any fruit (except – banana, dried fruit, and cherries)
- Lunch:- 2 wholegrain bread with grilled chicken
- Dinner:- Crab and flounder stuffed with tomatoes
Foods To Avoid In The Dukan Diet
There are certain foods you need to avoid in the Dukan diet. Here is a brief list for each phase,
Foods to avoid in the attack phase
- Any kind of carbs other than oat brain
- Sugary food
Foods to avoid in the Cruise Phase
- Vegetables with starch
- Carbs and grains
You don’t need to avoid any food in the consolidation and stabilization phases but you must carefully control your portions.
Dukan Diet Recipe
Beef Goulash is a great pure protein source. This dish can be the main course in any phase of the Dukan Diet.
- 1 kilo of braising beef
- 2 onions
- 1 cup of red wine
- 2 tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of mild paprika
- Add brown onions to a casserole dish.
- Add the meat cubes to it.
- Add wine, tomato puree, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook for 40 minutes.
Dukan Diet Pros And Cons
Dukan Diet Pros
- Quick results.
- Efficient is maintaining the lost weight.
- No overwhelming amount of measurements or calculations are required.
- Since it’s a low-carb diet it’s effective in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Dukan Diet Cons
- The Dukan diet is a low-carb, low-fat, and high-protein diet. However, no scientific study suggests restricting fat on a low-carb diet.
- The loss of weight due to this diet is mostly water weight, which is not actual weight loss.
- It lacks proper scientific study or research to provide evidence on how it affects health in the long term.
- The amount of oat brain is too less to work as a source of protein.
Is it safe for you to follow the Dukan diet?
The diet is quite limiting since a few studies have shown that adult women on this diet had less than 1000 calories per day which are far from enough for an adult. Moreover, it’s not realistic to lose weight fast and then never gain it back. This can feel too restrictive for anyone.
Feel free to take away some meal plans and tips from this diet. You can certainly increase the portion according to the number of calories you need to function well. You can always give this entire diet a try if this happens to work for you. Every single body is different and reacts differently to a diet. If possible talk to a nutritionist or a dietician before going for this diet.