The Dukan Diet is a protein based nutritional approach designed by Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist and dietician.
The Dukan Diet, or Dukan method proposes a healthy eating plan which is based on how primitive man used to eat when we were hunter-gatherers.
It includes 100 foods, of which 72 are animal sourced and 28 come from plants. And you can eat as much as you like, as long as you stick to those 100 foods.
The aim here is to lose weight rapidly - two to three kg (4.4 to 6.6 lbs) within two to ten days. It is said to be a way of kick-starting the metabolism.
The dieters can eat nothing but lean protein, and unlimited amounts, there is no calorie counting. It is important that the protein is low in fat. Protein could be all kinds of beef, fish, chicken, eggs, soy, and cottage cheese. The dieter is told to be careful to avoid meats with added sugars.
The dieter also consumes at least 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran, the only carbohydrate source allowed in this phase. Pierre Dukan explains that oat bran is very high in fiber1, meaning that a large proportion of the carbs cannot be broken down and digested, making oat bran less carbohydrate-rich than they thought. Oat bran also helps suppress hunger because it grows to up to twenty times its size in the stomach.
At least 1.5 liters of water has to be consumed each day.
28 specific vegetables are added to the diet. Fruit is not allowed. The aim is to help the dieters achieve their target bodyweight more gradually. Although based on specific personal conditions, the length of the Cruise phase generally lasts 1 kg (2.2 lb) weight loss per week. So, if a person needs to lose 15 kg, this phase lasts 15 weeks. The program allows some tolerated foods. However, if there is any weight gain, some of them will be banned.
Vegetables can be consumed in unlimited amounts as long as they are not starchy - so, carrots, corn, and peas are out, and spinach, okra, lettuce and green beans are OK. The dieter can also eat unlimited amounts of low fat protein sources included during the first phase. The 1.5 liters of water and oat bran consumption continues.
In this phase the dieter alternates as far as lean protein and vegetables. E.g. on one day the individual eats just lean protein, and the next lean proteins combined with unlimited low-starch vegetables. This alternation persists throughout this stage.
The aim here is to prevent the person from putting lots of weigh back on. The individual can consume unlimited quantities of protein and vegetables daily, as well as one piece of low-sugar fruit, one portion of cheese, and 2 slices of whole-grain bread. The dieter is allowed to have one or two servings of starchy food and one or two celebration meals each week. In a celebration meal, people can eat whatever they want.
During the Consolidation phase, the dieter starts eating the core diet of pure protein one day each week, preferably on the same day of each week.
This is, in effect, the long-term maintenance part of the plan. People can eat whatever they want, as long as they follow some simple rules:
1. One day each week they must have an all-protein day, as in the Attack phase.
2. Eat three tablespoons of oat bran each day.
3. Go for a 20 minute walk each day.
4. Never take escalators or elevators.
In order to succeed long-term the dieters need to follow this Dukan stabilization phase for the rest of their lives. It must become part of their lifestyle.
Dieters are allowed to consume artificial sweeteners, vinegars, sugar-free gum, and spices; they are also advised to take multivitamins with minerals.
Various celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Middleton say they have used the Dukan Diet successfully. Lopez and Bundchen to recover their normal bodyweight after giving birth, and Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, before marrying Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
How does the Dukan diet differ from Atkins Diet?
According to Ducandiet.com2, there are some similarities between the Dukan Diet and Atkins - both of them focus on a low consumption of carbohydrates. However, they say there are some key differences.
- Counting - the Dukan Diet has no counting of calories, carbs or other nutritional values in any of the four phases, unlike Atkins which has you counting calories right from the start, and also later on. In the Dukan Diet, you consume from the list of 100 foods, as well as including some other foods in the last phase.
- Fat content - While the Dukan Diet concentrates on low-fat protein, including non-fat dairy products, Atkins has no limits on dairy or meat fats. Atkins has no limits on saturated fats. Pierre Dukan says that focusing on low fat is better for the heart.
- Natural foods - while Atkins recommends shakes, bars, and other packaged foods, the Dukan Diet has a very strong emphasis on natural foods - the 100 foods listed are all natural.
- Quantities - from the list of 100 proteins and vegetables in the Dukan Diet, you can eat as much as you like. In the Atkins diet, vegetable consumption is restricted because the dieter has to add up the carbs in them and make sure they do not hit their daily limit.
- A personalized interactive plan - there is personalized online coaching support in the Dukan Diet, which monitors your progress on a daily basis. Atkins has no coaching program.