There are literally thousands of diets out there that you can try if you want to lose weight. However, before starting any diet you need to find out whether it is right for you and your lifestyle.
One diet that is getting a lot of attention at the moment is the Dukan Diet, which is supposed to be similar to the Atkins diet but more strict.
The Dukan Diet has recently been featured in lots of popular magazines such as Glamour and Closer, but is it effective?
It’s important to consider the pros and cons of any diet and make sure you know exactly what you are going to be putting your body through. Here is an outline of what the diet is and it’s potential drawbacks as well as strengths.
What is the Dukan Diet?
The Dukan Diet is a high protein, very low carb diet that’s proving popular at the moment. Some A listers such as Jennifer Lopez swear by it, and it has gained quite a following.
The Dukan Diet is based on four key stages that follow one another.
The diet begins with high amounts of protein and no carbs and follows this pattern through most of the stages, although at times some carbs are allowed (in the form of oat bran only).
Fat is also frowned upon, instead you are expected to eat foods that are very high in protein.
The original diet was published in 2000, but Dukan has recently updated it to include new information and diet tips. He has named it the Dukan Diet 2.
Some people found the original diet quite difficult to stick to so it has been adapted to be easier to follow. It’s not quite as strict as the original and it includes more vegetables.
His original diet was criticised for the fact that it did not allow vegetables, something we need to stay healthy.
Dukan explained ‘The philosophy is exactly the same but the formation is different.’ In both versions of the diet there are four phases and 100 different foods to choose from (72 proteins and 28 vegetables).
Who is Pierre Dukan
Pierre Dukan is the founder of the Dukan Diet. He’s a French nutritionist and medical doctor that has been working in the field for decades.
His interest in helping people lose weight first began when he was working on an obesity case around 1975. Diets around the time tended to focus solely on reducing calories which he felt wasn’t sustainable.
He then spent 20 years researching this topic and looking into diets and eventually in 2000 published a book titled ‘I Don’t Know How To Get Slimmer’ which was a bestseller in France.
He identified four phases of the diet, ‘Attack’, ‘Cruise’, ‘Consolidation’ and ‘Stabilisation.’ Dukan promised that people who follow this diet strictly will lose weight quickly.
In the ‘Attack’ phase you can only eat protein and drink water. In the ‘Cruise’ phase you are allowed to introduce vegetables into your diet and you are expected to do 30 minutes of brisk walking daily. The ‘Consolidation’ phase allows you to gradually introduce other foods into your diet and the ‘Stabilisation’ phase is simply to help you maintain the weight loss.
On the Dukan Diet you are expected to exercise throughout. Exercise should be carried out through each of the stages to maximise the weight loss.
No diet is complete without exercise, so it’s good that this diet actively encourages it rather than purely focusing on diet.
The Dukan Diet recommends gentle exercise such as walking, or any exercise that you enjoy from swimming to dance classes.
It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do as long as you stay active whilst on the Dukan Diet. ‘By taking exercise you use up calories, burn up your fat reserves and tone and firm up your skin.’
Celebrities seem to swear by it, even Kate Middleton reportedly relied on the diet in the lead up to the Royal wedding. It is possible to lose a lot of weight in a short time on this diet, the key is making sure it’s sustainable.
The Dukan Diet is also very strict, which is a positive thing for some people as they need clear rules to follow in order to stick to their diet.
As there isn’t a huge selection of foods available to use in the diet planning your meals should be pretty simple. During the phases where you are allowed vegetables you just need to pick a protein to go with your choice of veg and your meal is sorted.
Unlike many other diets, the Dukan Diet does not focus on counting calories and being really tough on how much food you eat. So you don’t need to worry about measuring out very specific amounts of food for each meal. You just have to make sure you only eat foods that are allowed.
Protein is key part of our diets, and one of the great things about protein is it makes you feel fuller for longer. You should be able to last between meals providing you eat enough protein as it will help to fill you up.
Diets that have extremely little or no carbohydrates are not only very difficult but they can be dangerous. It’s never a good idea to completely cut out one particular food group, as we need all different types of food to stay fit and healthy.
However, Dukan has a different opinion on the matter ‘There is nothing unhealthy about protein and vegetables. It’s not unbalanced. What did humans eat 400,000 years ago, before we had grain-based carbohydrates? We ate what we could hunt and gather – proteins and vegetables and that’s it.’
If you do this diet on a long term basis you could be lacking in key nutrients that your body needs.
Some people have reported side effects while on the Dukan Diet such as insomnia, nausea, tiredness, constipation, bad breath and a dry mouth. All extreme diets are likely to have some side effects.
If you experience any negative side effects whilst on the diet contact your doctor immediately for advice.
Other potential drawbacks of the Dukan Diet is that it is not very flexible, is not suitable for vegetarians and buying large amounts of protein can get very expensive. It’s also a pretty tough diet that isn’t that easy to follow.
The Dukan Diet is not for the faint hearted and should be approached with caution.