The French College of Physicians accuses Dr. Pierre Dukan, the creator of the Dukan diet, of practicing medicine "like a business", which goes against the its code of ethics, and not taking enough care in his proposals of engaging in personal promotion. Dr. Dukan, known as the diet expert of celebrities and Royalty, has become extremely rich after his bestselling book was published twelve years ago and translated into 14 languages.

Dr. Dukan is said to have helped the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) get thin enough to fit into her wedding dress, as well as restoring Jennifer Lopez' figure after giving birth.

There is also alarm in medical and non-medical circles in France when Dr. Dukan suggested an anti-obesity test should be introduced to the Baccalaureate exams (equivalent to senior high school in the USA, and A levels in England). Dukan proposes that those with "normal body weights" should be rewarded with extra exam marks. There is concern on what the impact on such a move might be on young girls with tendencies towards eating disorders, or overweight teenage females.

Dr. Dukan, who was a practicing GP (general practitioner, primary care physician), says he discovered his diet when he told a desperate patient, who wanted to lose weight but not stop eating meat, to eat very lean meat and drink plenty of water. Within five days the patient lost 11 pounds (5 kilos) and he says that was when he found his "medical calling". His protein-rich diet was created, and eventually perfected after 20 years, Dukan says.

It is estimated that in France alone, approximately 2 million people follow the Dukan diet. His website has 30,000 subscribers (paying ones). There are dozens of food products with the Dukan Diet label on them - they are available throughout the country in several major retail outlets and pharmacies. Sales are thought to be worth over 100 Euros annually.

The Ordre National des Médecins has reported that several doctors stated that the Dukan diet was a public health hazard. A survey in May, 2011, found that four-fifths of 5,000 Dukan diet followers had put all their lost weight back on within 36 months. According to some French doctors, this kind of body weight fluctuation could raise the risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, and several cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Dukan dismissed the complaints, saying that such risks already exist in overweight/obese people, and that remaining obese is more dangerous for health.

What is the Dukan diet?

The Dukan diet is a diet based on how primitive humans used to eat; when we were hunter-gatherers. It includes 100 different foods, 72 of which are animal sourced. As long as you stick to those 100 foods, there is no limit on the amount you eat.

The diet has four phases (pillars)
  • Attack phase - the aim is to lose weight fast, up to 4.4-6.6 lbs (2-3 kilos) with a few days. Dr. Dukan says it kick-starts the patient's metabolism.

  • Cruise phase - 28 vegetables are added to the list of permitted foods. There is no fruit. The aim is to reach target body weight gradually. This phase is supposed to last for 2.2 lbs (1kg) of weight lost per week until target weight is reached.

  • Consolidation phase - the aim is to prevent future weight gain. Dieters can eat as much protein and vegetables as they want, and also one piece of low-sugar fruit, one cheese portion, and two slices of whole-grain bread.

  • Stabilization phase - the long-term maintenance plan.
For more information on the Dukan diet, click on the link below:
"What is the Dukan Diet?"

Written by Christian Nordqvist