Let’s talk about the Dukan Diet. According to Wikipedia Dr. D was a nutritionist and general practitioner in France. Back in the 1970’s, when the general consensus to treat obesity was to limit calories and meal sizes, Dr. Dukan came up with his system. It wasn’t until the year 2000 when he wrote a book about his diet, that his diet hit it big. While its been around for over 30 years, we didn’t even really hear about it in America until 2011!
The Dukan Diet basically has you add protein to lose weight. Atkins anyone? Not exactly. I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. If there is a diet that claims you can eat as much as you want AND lose weight it would be Dr. Dukan’s.
The Dukan diet combines 68 forms of animal protein and 32 vegetables, which gives you the ‘green light’ for 100 different foods. This gives you a diet based on what the human species evolved on, and theoretically keeps us feeling happier and healthier.
The Dukan diet uses four phases. By walking through these four phases, a person can shed weight quickly and then make lifestyle changes so you don’t gain the weight back. This is the key to my series. Its not about the diet, pretty much all diets “work”, its about the changes after the diet. Without a healthy plan for after, you’re almost guaranteed to gain it all back. If you are going to go on a diet, it’s important to understand, the diet is just to get you kick started in the right direction. The more difficult the diet, the less likely we are to succeed in the long run.
So here are Dr. D’s four phases:
Phase 1- Attack
The “Attack Phase” only lasts two weeks. In this phase you are allowed to eat from a choice of 68 high-protein foods which the body digests quickly and effectively. Veggies and other carbs are very limited during this time. This phase is meant to ‘kick start’ to your metabolism.
Phase 2 – Cruise
This phase is a little more complicated. In theory, once you’ve “kick started” your metabolism this phase will help you lose about two lbs a week. Here you begin incorporating 32 vegetables into your diet. You alternate days between Pure Proteins (PP phases), which you were given in the attack phase, and Proteins accompanied with recommended Vegetables (PV phases).
Phase 3 – Consolidation
This phase lasts 5 days for every pound you lose. So lose 20 pounds, spend 100 days on the Consolidation Phase. In the Consolidation Phase you prepare your body for the return to a balanced diet. Here you have “monitored” freedom which in theory helps you overcome the willpower issue when establishing a freshly conquered but still vulnerable ideal weight.
Phase 4 – Stabilization
This is the phase you live in for the rest of your life. During the first three phases, you were supposed to learn how to eat healthy and taught your body the right way to keep a healthy pattern. In addition to what you have learned in this diet, in the stabilization phase, there are three non-negotiable rules:
Consume 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day.
2) Choose to take the stairs whenever possible
3) Have a pure-protein Thursday, i.e. Attack Phase menu.
That’s basically the Dukan Diet in a nutshell.
So, here are a couple of things to take away from this. First, the diet seams reasonable and sustainable as a way of life. I don’t think it’s for everyone though. I for one would have to spend a couple of years in Phase 3. However, the goal of this series is to pick up some good ideas from every diet and come up with some principals to help us for life.
I thought two out of the “3 rules for life” in the Dukan Diet were pretty good. Obviously rule number two (choose to take the stairs whenever possible) just makes sense. We need to find ways to keep active. I thought that rule number one (Consume 3 tablespoons of oat bran per day) was interesting, so I did a little research. Turns out that oat bran swells 20 to 30 times its volume when inside the stomach, making you feel satisfied. Hmmm. It also “confiscates” calories within the small intestine and takes them down into your bowels. This doesn’t necessarily help with immediate weight loss but does help in the long run.
What are some of the issues people complain about with the Dukan Diet?
As with Atkins or any other high protein type diet, side effects, such as bad breath, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue as your body gets used to its new way of life are pretty common. The best way to fight this is to drink lots of water, get enough sleep and maybe start taking some kind of multivitamin.