The Dukan Diet Overview – Worth a Try?

Written by | Posted under Nutrition | 3 years ago

The Dukan Diet has been gaining quite a bit of steam lately in the weight loss community. The diet sparked my interest mainly because it originated from France, the land of rich calorie loaded dishes. Without further ado, let’s dive into what the heck it is.

Background

Duken diet bookThe Dukan Diet is a diet invented by a French doctor named Dr. Pierre Dukan. Dr. Dukan started off his career in neurology but his career took a turn when he accidentally discovered a diet plan that successfully helped his friend lose weight. For 35 years now, he’s been specializing in nutrition and has written several top selling books in the area of nutrition and weight loss.

Dr. Dukan believes that counting calories does not work in the long run so he wanted to create a weight management program that allows you to eat real food. The theory behind the Dukan Diet plan is eating in phases, starting with a strict weight loss phase where you can eat foods from set list and then gradually easing your body back into real world foods.

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Four Phases

Attack

Dukan diet

This phase is the first phase and is supposed to kickstart your weight loss. In this phase you are to eat only low-fat proteins (no carbs, no veggies), but you can eat as much of it as you want. The duration of this phase is typically 3-5 days (depends on what you weight target is).

Cruise

This phase is where you lose the majority of the weight as you head towards your weight loss goal. In this phase, you just alternate days where you eat only low-fat proteins, and days where you eat low-fat proteins and vegetables. Still no carbs! You continue doing this until you reach your weight loss goal.

Consolidation

This phase is where you start to reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet while keeping your weight stable. In addition to being able to add a small amount of carbs into your diet each day, you are also allowed to eat one special meal per week that contains a starter, main course, and a dessert of your liking.

Stabilization

This phase is where you maintain that weight. In this phase, you are to continue to reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet by gradually increasing the portion sizes. You are also required to set aside one day per week to eat only low-fat proteins. You still get one special meal per week like in the consolidation phase too!

My Impressions of the Dukan Diet

This diet sounds to me like it might just work since it does cut a lot of carbs from your diet in the weight loss phase. I think this would be a worthy diet to try if you weren’t already eating healthy and you absolutely love food way too much. Though it is a bit similar to the Atkin’s Diet, the Dukan Diet book clearly tells people to steer clear of fatty foods (which is great advice). From that, I don’t foresee any heart complications.

I only have a few issues with the Dukan Diet menu:

  1. The first issue I have with it is the protein-only days. I’d imagine that I would need lots of Metamucil or other fiber supplements to help me get through those days (if you know what I mean).
  2. The second issue is have with it is, I’m a bit concerned for people who exercise heavily while they are on this diet. Without carbs, your body will have no source of fast energy. I’d imagine that if you are on this diet, you won’t be able to exercise as hard or perform as well when you are in the initial phase.
  3. The last issue I have with is is, I’m really questioning the ability for people to maintain their weight in the 4th phase. I have no proof this, but it’s just a gut feeling that it won’t work.

Verdict

If you do not already eat a healthy diet, do exercise lightly to moderately, and do not have any digestive issues, then it might be worth it to try the Dukan Diet. Personally, I’m already eating semi-healthy and exercise intensely everyday, so I’ll have to pass on this diet fad. Please feel free share your experiences with the Dukan Diet in the comments section!

26 Comments

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  1. sarayah said,

    I have lived the low carb life style for a long time now. It is a common misconception that it would cause bathroom issues.

    3 years ago
  2. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @sarayah,

    Thanks for visiting! I’m quite curious as I have never gone all 100% protein in my diet before. I’ve done low carb but have always added plenty of veggies and fiber for digestive support. What is your diet like?

    Thanks!
    Thaya

    3 years ago
  3. Jacqui said,

    I am currently doing the Dukan diet (on my third day of attack phase). The fiber is provided by eating 1 and a half tablespoons of oat bran which he requires to eat throughout every phase of the diet. So far, no problem. As to how sustainable this diet is, I read the whole book and Dr. Dukan talks about sensible eating, learning portion control and nutrition. I found him to be very realistic. He does not say you can eat whatever you like and be thin forever. This diet is a tool and as any tool, you need to choose what works better for you according to who you are. I love the fact that proteins only has markedly decreased my appetite. That will be a big help in my quest to lose weight!

    3 years ago
  4. Thaya Kareeson said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences Jacqui!!

    3 years ago
  5. misskittie said,

    I haven’t tried this diet. I got on their website and did their “true weight” test and their proposed summary of my weight loss. In a hundred days I could lose 22 pounds.

    I calculated that would be an average of 1.5 pounds lost per week. That is the exact same that I lost using nutrisystem and also weight watchers. Atleast on those diets I could eat balanced meals every day.

    All I’m saying is that I’m sure this diet works, it isn’t a miracle diet, nor does it sound like a comfortable diet. I prefer balanced meals.

    3 years ago
  6. shay said,

    your concerns are addressed as followed:
    1- oat bran is required during all phases of this diet, and wheat bran is encouraged for bowel health
    2- Dukan recomends 20min of walking daily during the ketosis phase, and recomends against moderate to heavy exercise during this phase. Later he encourages you to increase it to 30 minutes, and to add healthy movement to your daily activities (like taking the stairs when possible, etc)
    3- Though i have not reached the 4th stage to determine sustainability, he gives suggestions and reccomendations regarding portion size, not having second helpings, and how to manage weight gain (a partial return to phase 1).

    3 years ago
  7. Craig said,

    Hey guys,

    Quick question, can I still take protein shakes on this diet? I’m using PHD Pharma Whey.

    Many thanks,

    Craig

    3 years ago
  8. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Craig, does your protein shake contain a substantial amount of carbs? Sounds it like it does. If so, you should look for a low carb alternative.

    3 years ago
  9. Lori Blugis said,

    Hi…I am in the 17th day of following the Dukan diet. My husband and I did the attack phase for 10 days and lost 16 and 14 lbs respectively. I lost 2lbs in the first week of the cruise phase, and hubby lost 4. So far, Dr. Dukan has been precisely on target with his explanations in the book about how our bodies respond to this eating plan. I am thrilled with the plan. I was moderately constipated for 1 day but a tsp of castor oil before bed did the trick. I have more energy and I find that I can stay up a little later than I could before to get things done around the house…I don’t just “pass out” on the couch anymore.
    So far, so good… I am anxious to see how the rest of this plan works.

    3 years ago
  10. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Lori Blugis,
    Wow! Thank you for sharing your results and congratulations to you and your husband for your success! I am so happy for both of you. Please check back in as I’m sure everybody else would be interested to hear how the rest of the plan works out for you.

    3 years ago
  11. sammy said,

    I have been on dukan diet for one month now and i have lost 15 lbs,but i exercise five times a week for one hour,my exercise regime is only cardio and jogging for 30 min.Constispation it is not a problem thanks for egg plant,i eat egg plant one time a week row or steamed.I have been doing good but i miss bread and becks beer.

    3 years ago
  12. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @sammy
    Wow! Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing!! I’m on my own special diet (non-Dukan) and I totally miss beer too. It’s totally worth it in the long run though and you are doing such a great job! Keep at it!

    3 years ago
  13. Robin said,

    I’ve been on dukan diet and losing 14 lbs more to go. Love it! First diet I’ve been on and seen good results without straving.

    3 years ago
  14. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Robin
    Great job! Keep at it! I’ve been on my own special version of the Dukan Diet too and I’ve lost 12 lbs since I started, sweet!

    3 years ago
  15. Kim said,

    Hi! My fiancĂ© and I have just started the Dukan diet and are on day 4 of the attack phase. I’ve had problems with constipation because our normal eating habits usually include a lot o fruit and veg an I think it’s been a bit hard for my body to adjust to such an extreme change. I plan to be back onto semi-regular food (phase 4) in a month. My question is whether you think this diet will have any detrimental effects on my chances of falling pregnant while my body works so hard to process the protien. I’d expect the next month might be difficult but what about long term? My goal of doing the diet is to both get to a more healthy weight before I do get pregnant, thouh I only have about 7kg to lose an my partner 10kg.

    I would love to hear your thoughts!

    3 years ago
  16. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Kim
    I am on a similar diet to the Dukan Diet, and for constipation I sometimes supplement Metamucil. I’m sorry, I can’t help you much with your pregnancy chances question (since I never studied pregnancy). Definitely please consult your doctor about this! Good luck!

    3 years ago
  17. Rebecca said,

    Been on it for 10 weeks. Down 27 lbs. I have been STUNNED at how easy it’s been and I’m nearly 50…it’s supposedly very hard to lose weight at my age without considerable effort. I exercise but nothing excessive…30 minutes on the elliptical or walking in my hilly neighborhood. I try to do it every day but sometimes work gets in the way. Best of all, I have not starved myself and willpower has not been required (good thing, because I have little of it!) The low fat, low sugar and low carbs seem to be the key. It only took the three days of the attack phase to eliminate my old sugar cravings and they have not returned. I highly recommend it!
    The only difference I feel is that I am sometimes more tired at night than in my “previous” life… I think it’s because I no longer have sugar-filled veins that let me stay up until 3 am on a work night! But maybe that’s not a bad thing, eh?

    3 years ago
  18. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Rebecca
    WOW! Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve been recommending this diet to a lot of people and I think it’s definitely one of the best diets out there for most people to try.

    3 years ago
  19. Paige said,

    I have just started this diet. Finished the attack phase yesterday and lost a total of 3 pounds. I am also doing an intense boot camp 3 times a week and haven’t noticed that I’m struggling to make it through the hour workout. I am happily surprised by that. I am also walking 20 minutes on the days I do not have boot camp so I’m maximizing my results with the added workouts.
    My mom has been on this diet for a few months now and looks fantastic. I wanted to try it because really once you’re in phase 4 you can eat most of what you normally eat as long as you stay within the very broad guidelines. I plan on keeping the low fat options in my diet.
    We have been eating fat free frozen yogurt with no sugar added for a sweet snack when craving one or fat free/sugar free jello or jello pudding with fat free whip cream. I’m a big fan of sweets so this is perfect for me because I can still have the sweetness without depriving myself completely. The website said by March I’d be in phase 4 but really I’m mostly excited for phase 3. I miss eating fruit.
    I’ll check back with you when I reach another phase but I think this is the only “diet” that I’ve ever tried because it’s really not a diet but a lifestyle adaptation that isn’t absurd.

    3 years ago
  20. Thaya Kareeson said,

    @Paige
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and good luck! I’m sure everybody would find your insight quite useful!

    2 years ago
  21. Robbie said,

    They recommend that during the attack phase you don’t exercise too much and they also recommend a tablespoon of oat bran each day for fiber and other benefits.

    2 years ago
  22. Paul said,

    Hi,
    As I am related with tacfit, I appreciate your post. Thanks

    2 years ago
  23. Pauline said,

    Hi! I started the attack phase 4 days ago and have only lost 700grams (1.5 pounds) so far. The diet is great but I am worried that I am not going to meet my target of 2.5kilos (5.5 pounds) by the end of attack phase which is in another 5 days. Is it possible that I will lose higher quantities of weight as I go along? The reason I ask is that based on the last 4 days (and believe me I have been 100% compliant with the rules of attack phase including walking every day) I will only end up losing a total of 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds). HELP! What am I doing wrong?

    2 years ago
  24. LQ said,

    I’m doing the Dukan diet to get off the last 20 pounds. I lost 100 pounds from weight loss surgery (duodenal switch). I chose it because the Dukan diet is somewhat close to the diet that most weight loss surgery patients use in combination with their surgical ‘tool’. It’s the easiest diet I have ever done. I don’t feel more constipated than usual (I was born constipated, so you can’t judge from me). I have to take vitamins for the rest of my life as a part of my surgery, so I am not suffering from any vitamin or nutrient deficiency.

    I honestly love the diet. It’s easy, it’s no torture or suffering from starvation, I’m used to it because it’s close to the surgery diet….no complaints here. I also run 10Ks, and it’s not impeded my performance at all.

    BTW, if you read wikipedia, you’ll read about a professional european athlete who trained and ate a low carb diet, and performed well and lowered his triglycerides.

    2 years ago
  25. Meredith said,

    I am just now finding out about this diet, yet I have praticed my own version of it for over a year now. Due to a lack of energy and overall sluggishness, I decided to take my own approach to a heathier way of eating. I began by omitting carbs and eating primarily protein and veggies. I moved to spinach and salmon salads, packed with broccoli, tomatoes, onions, a hard boiled egg, a healthy raw nut mix with dried cranberries or raisins and a dressing of my choice. Incorporating light excersice, and I do mean light, I lost 30 lbs and have maintained it for 6 months. I do mainly weight training and resistance bands (they travel well for people on the go) and use a 10 lb hand weight. A few floor excercises for abs & legs and I am done after 25 or 30 minutes a night. On weekends I do half the workout and eat freely, but keep portion control in mind. I throw in a few carbs during the week but not many. So far I feel 100% better. More energy, more self esteem and I have not gotten a cold in the time frame I’ve follwed my routine. I think this diet is on the right track with a few revisions to adapt one’s own personal tastes, keeping portions in mind and healthy preparation. I’ve enjoyed reading the success stories so far. Hope to see many more.

    2 years ago
  26. Corinne said,

    Love the Dukan. very easy to follow, lost all the weight i wanted to (3kgs) in 2 attack days! now in phase 4 and losing more than i wanted. we break the rules and eat dried prunes to prevent constipation and goji berries which are allowed on all phases. my husband has lost 10 kgs and he intensely exercises 4-5x/wk. neither of us has felt tired and the only problem i’ve had was tummy upset from too much xylitol sweetener which made me quite bloated. i’ve never eaten so much protein in my life and it’s good! it fills you up and naturally i want to eat less. do treat myself to dark chocolate on occasion now. not sure how hard it would be if you had a lot of weight to lose, but for fast kick start, i’d highly recommend it.

    2 years ago

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